The ’80s music nostalgia, the intergalactic action sequences, and the ingeniously comedic banter between characters are some of the few reasons why the first Guardians of the Galaxy was so enjoyable to watch. This second installment touches on the same successful moves while providing a distinct tone that reveals the unique direction. This tone provides more emphasis into the main characters and harps on some of the same moments that were loved from vol. 1. Instead of a heavy focus on action, this film focuses on the story and character development, introduces some dark elements to mix, and yet keeps the humorous elements that made us love the first film.
In vol. 2, the galactic band of misfits known as “the Guardians of the Galaxy” is together again to face another daunting challenge as they uncover the mystery of Peter Quill/Star-Lord’s father. This unlikely group’s dynamic has only grown stronger as they are try to find ways to prosperously live with one another. Each character of the team is given a certain focus. Chris Pratt returns as the comedic and brave Star-Lord and his lineage is finally answered with many complications that come along with it.
The green-colored warrior assassin, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), goes through some “rough” family issues, to put it lightly, with her psychotic step-sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Rocket the Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) has the same abrasive and stubborn personality and still shares the cute bond with the now little Baby Groot (Vin Diesel).
Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) steals the show on more than one occasion, especially when he is paired with the newest guardian, Mantis (Pom Klememtieff), who comes off as oddly ditzy and overcaring.
The Ravager leader and deadly arrow-wielding blue man, known as Yondu (portrayed by The Walking Dead alum Michael Rooker), has a strong and unexpected endearing presence in this film that will be found as a surprise to many viewers. Peter Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell), shows multiple aspects to this character. Russell is able to play a seemingly kind and compassionate father figure with unknown purposes.
The music of the ’70s and ’80s proved again to be quintessential to the mood of the film as well as exemplifies certain characters’ bonds, such as with Peter and his father. While still not as spectacular as the music of the first film, the music was able to be a driving force for the film, which cannot be said for the majority of the other Marvel films. The music composed by Tyler Bates was epic, grand, and hit the right moments, whether comedic or serious at the right time.
The dialogue was still one of my favorite aspects about the film, whether it was the banter or emotional conversations between the Guardians and others. The dialogue was another reason how this film feels so uniquely separated from the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe. Some of the downfalls of the dialogue was that it just could not match the quality and the timing of the first film’s dialogue and, at some small moments, the jokes fell a little flat. However, the dialogue was still an effective piece of this amazing film.
The music of the ’70s and ’80s proved again to be quintessential to the mood of the film as well as exemplifies certain characters’ bonds.
The costumes felt as creative and intricate as the first film especially after seeing each character so distinctly special in their own way. The main costume designer, Judianna Makovsky, was able to highlight the personality, style, and taste of each character in this film. The visual effects for this film seemed effortlessly detailed and were such a prominent part of what made these beautiful worlds and action sequences fit together so well.
The visual effects also seemed to flow with the emotions and reactions of the characters giving off the illusion that certain things were actually there. Many of the characters, such as Rocket and Baby Groot, seemed so life-like and real to me. Also, the work that film studios can now accomplish by digitally turning back the clock of a character’s age is just insane specifically when it is used in this film.
The negatives of this film were the plot and the lack of a valid villain. The plot seemed fast-paced and to the point. It did not have a gradual structure that I remember from the first film and it just felt like I was being moved from one action scene to the next without a fleshed out plot. In terms of villains, the character Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) did not get enough of a major role in the film for me to feel invested in her character and her purpose for wanting to destroy the Guardians. The need for more relatable and fully-developed villains is something that Marvel still has to work on because I did not feel that there was a standout antagonist in this film.
This film was still a great mixture of action, heart, and comedy that I have wanted to experience since the first film. The effort the actors put into these characters made them seem relatable and believable. Finally, the visual effects made this part of the galaxy feel like a place that would be breathtaking to actually experience. From both these positives and negatives, The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets an A-.
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2: Same Guardians, Different Galaxy: Featured image courtesdy of Walt Disney Studios