“GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2” is here. All the familiar faces are back in this one, Pratt, Saldana, Bautista and so on. We get some additions from Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone, and the new face of this franchise Baby Groot who at this time is being molded out of melted plastic, packaged, and being sold by the millions. We have James Gunn back in the director’s chair who I think did a fantastic job on the first film.
So, like I always try to do before watching a sequel I watched the first one the night before seeing this one and I am not so sure that was a good thing. But I will tell you that after watching the first Guardians again I still loved it. It was ambitious, clever, unique, and wove comedy perfectly into a smooth script as it introduced the common public to a likable group of unknown characters, and it’s certainly still an A-rated film in my opinion.
I was excited to see this movie even more after watching the first one. Now I am well aware that sequels do overload you with elements that worked the first time. Which was something this film did with a relentless focus. That overall did hinder some of the impact it was trying to build for itself. Now I don’t want to talk down on this film because it was certainly a fun one, at times. So let’s talk about what this film did very well. Easily the special-effects and the visual flair for this movie was 100% on point, just we expected it to be, and it delivered.
I really enjoyed how this story dove deeper into some of the backdrops of the characters. Of course, the focus was on Star Lord and we get to learn more about his character and his ancestry with his father Ego being added to the plot. But this film also peels more layers back of Rockets background and I found his character even more appealing as I got to know him much better. Plus, he has a couple awesome action-sequences that were the most memorable of this movie. We get a little more history on Nebula and Gamora’s sibling dynamic in little doses here and there as well, which was nice.
To me the most enjoyable was that of Yondu. Now I think Michael Rooker is a fantastic actor, he has been in so many memorable roles and he owns this character and embodies the persona of a Ravager perfectly. We get to learn so much more about him in this movie and I loved it. It filled in many pieces of history between him and Star Lord as well as his connections with Ego which was intriguing to me.
I thought all the performances were very good. Pratt holds his own and feels conformable in the lead once again. He delivers all the familiar charm and energy. Bautista was funny without a doubt, he lands several effective laughs. But when you are virtually performing a stand-up routine the entire time, you better land some laughs. I enjoyed the inclusion of Sylvester Stallone as a Ravager. I would have liked to have seen more of him but it was clear they are setting his character up for more and for that aspect I enjoyed the early foundations this film built for his character.
The comedy was also very effective for a majority of the movie. Now I say majority because while yes this was a very funny movie, with many, many, many laughs that land. To me the comedy got in the way at times and it was far from the more natural and grounded humor the first film thrived on. The comedic effort in this script was excessive to me and the result were times where the story tried to change the tone to that of more tense or suspenseful but you can’t fully invest in the impact it’s trying to create when you never know if an unneeded joke will come in to break the more intense tone at the time. Given there was an attempt at humor every 25-30 seconds.
Also, something that was a little disappointing to me was something I was very excited for and that was Kurt Russell. Now don’t get me wrong he was fun in the movie but he clearly elevated some bland preachy dialogue. His character was just missing something to me and for the legendary Kurt Russell to be added to the cast I was expecting him to get some deeper material to shine with.
Overall though this was a fun summer popcorn movie, but not as fun as the first one was. It certainly created some moments that were a great time but it felt too reliant on the comedy. It didn’t deliver that smooth story-line the first one did with a second-act that really seemed to drag. But it has plenty of laughs, it develops some of the characters a little more, and has some fun action. It just didn’t weave that complete package the first film did.