The Marvel Cinematic Universe expands once again with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Star Lord leads this rag tag group on yet another adventure to better understand his mysterious origin. All of your favorite characters from the first installment return, while introducing some exciting new personalities to the team. Guardians is an exciting, action packed ride, but isn’t without its flaws.
After 9 films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, superhero films were beginning to be formulated and predictable with very similar tones and moods. That’s when Marvel, and Writer/Director James Gunn, flipped the script and gave us the colorful, humorous and heartfelt box office smash with Guardians of the Galaxy. Nearly 3 years since the release of this galactic adventure, Vol 2 capitalizes on the concepts that made the first film so successful. Guardians Vol 2 delivers the humor expected from this now beloved franchise. The comedy flows throughout the film with Star Lord and Rocket’s bantering, Drax’s lack of filter and Baby Groot dancing the night away.
Guardians Vol 2 is visually stunning. The colors pop off the screen even more so than the original. Vol 2 offers the unique opportunity to use strange textures and tones that are not limited to a film based on Earth. This allows for exciting new character designs and extravagant set pieces. Nothing was visually out of place, which is a testament to the exceedingly high level of detail put into this film.
While humor and visuals help make this film enjoyable, its the heartfelt moments that make Guardians Vol 2 stand out. There are multiple character arcs within the film that will tug at your emotions. As the trailers have shown, Star Lord is on the cusp of learning who or what he truly is. Given his ability to wield an infinity stone without being immediately obliterated, Chris Pratt’s character must decide what he wants out of life. Rocket struggles to find his place in the group as his nature is to push others away. Drax and Mantis, a new edition to the franchise, have moments of clarity about emotional pain and loss. Gamora and Nebula must come to terms about their troubled upbringing and volatile relationship. The most surprising character arc in the film is that of Yondu who is given added layers of depth and gravitas.
While the film is a visual wonder, there are a few flaws. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 relies heavily on campy humor rather than story. The constant jokes seemed to be a distraction to the fact that the story wasn’t moving along at a steady pace. The story didn’t start picking up until more than halfway through the film. With a run time of 2 hours and 16 minutes, the film could have been cut down to eliminate the unnecessary barrage of jokes and focus more on pacing. The humor was enjoyable, but some jokes fell flat and seemed out of place. One minute the jokes will be very childish and then show unsavory establishments and mass murder. It’s difficult to balance a film for both children and adults, but the scales seemed a bit off.
Vol 2 suffers from the same issue other MCU films have, lack of a solid villain. The antagonist in the film lacks a sense of presence. Their ambitions and desires are short lived and don’t add anything to the pantheon of Marvel villainy. The final altercation was abrupt after a slow reveal of true evil intent. Guardians is a stand alone film that doesn’t need to rely on crossovers from other films in the MCU to bring in huge numbers. However, the film did feel like a stepping stone to get to a more important story.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is an exciting thrill ride that everyone can enjoy. Even with heavy handed humor at times, the jokes and laughs flow. While the villain might not be the best Marvel has to offer, the emotion that set the first film apart is still palpable. New characters introduced open up the world even more and will have a major impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Make sure to stay for all of the end credit scenes as there are quite a few. One end credit scene in particular will have you wanting to know more about a single name. Of course no Marvel film is complete without a cameo from the man himself, Stan Lee. The creator of so many beloved Marvel characters has possibly his most meaningful appearance to date as it relates to fan theories. The film has already made an estimated $145 million in just 3 days with a worldwide gross of $430 million. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is an enjoyable, adrenaline filled comedy with heart that’s sure to entertain.