The first production of The Guardians of the Galaxy was a pleasant breeze of fresh air in Marvel’s cinematic universe. The film charmed the audience with unusual conventions, very expressive characters and phenomenal humour. It was also obvious that the film’s producers were planning another The Guardians of the Galaxy feature. Soon after, James Gunn found himself at the helm of the galactic guards for the second time. Has he managed to raise the bar a bit higher? Regrettably not. Volume 2 did not surpass the first film in terms of storytelling; however, the sequel does contain more explosions, with Baby Groot stealing the show every time it appears on the screen, and there are also plenty of spot-on, shriek-with-laughter moments.
As you probably recall (or perhaps not), the first film ended by bringing the Guardians of the Galaxy together – the unofficial squad that jumps from one sphere of space to another, lending a hand to its inhabitants. The Guardian of the Galaxy Vol.2 opens with a big, yet ridiculous scene: the heroes – Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) – are fighting a giant, pink-octopus-looking monster who is trying to steal the energy generator from the Sovereign race (an interesting clan that resembles golden statues), led by the golden High Priestess Ayesha (portrayed by the probably tallest Polish-Aussie girl in Hollywood, Elizabeth Debicki). After destroying the beast, the team is involved in a battle with the same people they just finished helping, as Rocket has committed an unimaginable crime against the Sovereign race: he stole the batteries from the energy generator (good old Rocket; hear me giggle). The Guardians are forced to crash-land, but before that, they are saved by a mysterious spaceship – wait for it, wait for it – a vessel commanded by Ego (and what an ego he has!), played by the one and only Kurt Russell. Ego turns out to be Peter’s long lost father and – apparently – the creator of the Universe (say what?). The idyllic ambience does not last long as Ego’s intentions turn out to be slightly different than they might have seemed at first. All of this leads to an epic battle in which, again, the fate of the entire galaxy is to be decided.
Even though the narrative is trite and based on stereotypes (the subject of the lost fathers has gone through a myriad of films and it always ends the same way; I am sure you know which one), the film managed to get me hooked. I like that the script has a lot of references to pop culture. Of course, most of them are related to David Hasselhoff, whose song we can find also on the soundtrack of the film, but… No further spoilers.
There are not that many new characters in the movie. Most are the now well-known heroes; let me introduce them to you again: Star-Lord is still muscular and always effective, while also being awkward and giddy at times; Drax is perfectly antisocial and incomprehensible in terms of interpersonal relationships; Gamora remains an exemplary cold female warrior, and Rocket did not loose his charm as the talkative and ridiculously entertaining raccoon. We cannot forget about Baby Groot (can someone make a Baby Groot cuddly toy please? I want one!), who is a sensational character. Sometimes it feels like Baby Groot is the star of the film, but even so, each of the Guardians makes an important contribution to what the film is about. Each person was assigned with a unique story and that is the strong suit of this production.
Kurt Russell as Ego did not capture my attention – in the first part of the film, the audience sees him as a good father, but then he turns into a dark character – duh, such a cliche moment. Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister, is interesting, but by the end of the film, her character runs out of steam. There was too much shadow hanging over the very coherent Yondu, portrayed by Michael Rooker; he comes out on top in the last minutes of the production, but his supporting character was not as good as those of the Guardians. And I did not like the character of Mantis; the performance by Pom Klementieff felt boring and overly theatrical.
And now to special effects; now these are just wow, a big WOW. They built the film amazingly well. I enjoyed watching the explosions, the fighting scenes and the battles in the Guardians’ universe. There is no doubt; The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 has no visual deficiencies. The filmmaker put together a story that is unsophisticated and foreseeable, but the humour is very precise – a combination of a handful of absurdities, mixed with a pinch of ineptitude and a healthy dose of sarcasm.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 will not disappoint its fans as it is an entertaining film! It may not be as good as the first part, but no one really expected it to be better – the sad reality of sequels. But most of us want to feel the enchantment, created by team Marvel, and that is what James Gunn’s new work delivers; I liked it a lot!
Written by Maggie Gogler
Edited by Sanja Struna
All photos © Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures