The Marvel Cinematic Universe has definitely been an ever-growing collection of films and this year saw the launch of it’s “Phase 3” initiative of movies. The one I have been looking forward to the most is James Gunn’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy Vol 2.
I was a massive fan of the first Guardian’s and when I knew a sequel was on the way, to say I was stoked would be an understatement! I personally think that the sequel was much better than it’s predecessor as the stories within the film felt more developed, giving us more of an insight into each of the Guardian’s. The film itself turned out to be an action filled, roller coaster of laughs and emotional moments which captured the heart and soul of the director’s vision.
WARNING!! THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS FOR GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2!!! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE DO NOT CARRY ON BEYOND THIS POINT!!!!!!
Still here? Well if you are then you must’ve seen Guardians 2 and if you haven’t….well I did warn you!!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. takes place a few months after the events of the first film which came out in 2014….holy shit 2014?! Man, where did those few years go?! Anyway let’s continue shall we? After the events of the first movie, the Guardians, formed of Star Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Baby Groot, we find that the Guardians are heroes for hire. We first catch up with them working on a mission for the strange community of people the Sovereign. It seems like a pretty straight forward for the Guardians…..until Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) has the ingenious idea to steal the things from the Sovereign that they were supposed to be protecting. Then it goes from bad to worse when the Guardians go straight to the top of the Sovereign’s hit list….see what you did Rocket?!
The film’s first real action screen comes when both the Sovereign and the Ravagers, who were hired to kill the Guardians, and you see a shit ton of ships trying to shoot down the Guardian’s ship is a pretty awesome sequence to kick start the film off. The main storyline throughout the film and probably the heart of the movie, is the story of Peter Quill meeting his father after all this time. Quill’s father, known as Ego played by Kurt Russell, is the dude that got with Peter’s mother which becomes clear from the very beginning of the film. After barely escaping the Sovereign’s attack Ego shows up with one of the newest members of the Guardian’s Mantis, introducing himself to the infamous Star Lord claiming to be his father. As you can imagine, Peter is a little skeptical about this revelation and doubts whether this guy truly is his father.
One theme that I really liked about this movie is that the idea of family runs strong throughout the story and definitely acts as a unifying concept. With the first Guardian’s movie it was a basis to bring the characters together, but in Vol 2. James Gunn used it as a basis to test the bond that the five characters have together and really push it to the limit. I did like that even though we followed the story of the Guardian’s together, it also gave us individual plot lines focusing on each character’s own personal stories. On one side of the galaxy, we have Peter trying to reconnect with his father and is joined by both Gamora and Drax. While on a different part of the world, we have Rocket and Baby Groot who someone end up joining forces with Yondu and Nebula! It’s cool to see the characters in different situations that we didn’t see in the first movie.
One of the stand out subplots in this movie for me was the fact that we got to learn a lot more about Nebula’s character and really understand why she is consumed with hatred for her sister Gamora. As we learnt in the first movie, both Gamora and Nebula are the offspring of the mad titan Thanos but we really understand about the rivalry between the two sisters, leading to Nebula feeling like she was always trailing behind Gamora’s abilities. This leads into a pretty epic action sequence between the two sisters which was really awesome to watch, both Karen Gillan and Zoe Saldana really bring their A game in portraying their characters for the second time around.
I think the key story element in the movie is exploring more about Peter Quill’s background which is a main focus, but for me I really liked how we got more of an insight into Rocket’s background and why he’s the way he is. As you know, Rocket was genetically modified and his creation has led him to develop some serious trust issues. I mean the guy doesn’t seem to trust anyone but I can’t really blame him considering the circumstances.
I really liked how we got more of a look into Yondu’s character (played by the awesome Michael Rooker) and we get to understand where he came from and how he became involved with the Ravagers. We were introduced to the newest Guardian Mantis (played by Pom Klementieff) who for me personally was a stand out and added a really great dynamic to the team.
As I mentioned earlier we also got to see Quill’s father Ego, played by Kurt Russell who I thought was just brilliant as Star-Lord’s parent in the movie. I though that both he and Chris Pratt had some brilliant scenes together and you could believe the bond that the two characters shared. I think the individual stories were important as they all led towards the main plot of the movie and linked it all together really well.
For me personally I think that I prefer the Guardian’s of the Galaxy to The Avengers characters, as I think they are more relatable and are so unique in their own rights. You just can’t help but love each member as every single character brings something different to the table. I think that coming into the Guardian’s second outing together you really are rooting for them to overcome the obstacles they are faced with in this movie for sure. You can Peter to really find out what happened to his father all those years ago and seeing him attempt to gain the relationship he’s always wanted, that father-son partnership.
There was a part in the film where Rocket, Yondu and Baby Groot are captured by the Ravagers and those assholes start picking on little Baby Groot and I just switched! No one picks on Baby Groot and gets away with it! I love the humour in this film and Drax had me in stitches. I mean there’s parts where he just bellows out that classic laugh at stuff he thinks he gets and oh man I was dying. I thought Dave Bautista really excelled his performance as Drax, the guy is awesome in his respective role. I thought that Gamora and Nebula’s growth really went far in the film as we find out the journey they’ve been on and more of an understanding about their upbringing.
My favourite character is Rocket without a doubt so getting to see more from his character and diving into his background was really pleasing, makes me like the furry little guy even more now. You get the feeling that Rocket just wants to belong and be accepted for who he is, which is why he puts a barrier up to everyone and anyone. I thought his character developed during the course of the movie and by the end of the film he becomes a headstrong character. The Guardians are a strong unit when they’re all together but even when they’ve been separated for parts of the film it helps each of their individual arcs to develop, building off the foundations that were laid in the first movie.
The final part of the movie which brings about an epic battle sequence between the Guardians and Ego is just fantastic. It’s the most awesome action scene I’ve seen in a Marvel movie and it definitely tops the first movie’s action, which says something as the first one had some wicked set pieces. One thing was for sure in this film, I wasn’t prepared to be saying goodbye to one of the character’s in this film, was a bit shocked with who we lost as I became a real fan of the character by the end of the movie. I mean I could reveal it, but that’s a little nugget I’ll be keeping to myself and hopefully will make you guys go watch the film for yourself.
I personally love these characters and you do become attached to them, but you realise in this universe that no one is really safe during this story. I love how James Gunn separates the Guardian’s during the story but by the end they become a well solid unit and the characters feel so much closer and care for each other. I do think that Gunn has done wonders with the Guardian’s of the Galaxy as a whole and you can really tell how much the characters and these films mean to him as a director and a fan.
I can’t really review this film without talking about the visuals and effects, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just visually stunning and triumphs the visuals from the first film. It has some bright, incredible and colourful visuals that really capture an 80’s vibe which is the time period Peter Quill takes a lot of influence from. I really enjoyed the special effects for Ego’s planet as it was just very pleasing on the eyes and just looked like a different type of world than we have seen in previous Marvel films.
One of the thing that makes Guardians of the Galaxy has been the soundtrack, it carries the identity of the films and Awesome Mix Vol. 2 is no exception. I remember reading somewhere that James Gunn wrote the soundtrack into the film as the music was something that really adds character to the film as well. I think the music selected for this film was a clever choice as they’re not the popular songs you’d associate with the 80’s so I think it was a clever decision from the director.
I think the best thing to say about this movie is that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 feels like a Guardians film with the action, humour and the emotional scenes that have the making of a brilliant Marvel film. The reason I love the Guardians so much is that even though they are a part of the MCU their films are standalone and are really unique and different to the likes of The Avengers films. The Guardians tend to carry their own identity and really stand out from the crop of superhero movies. Everything that you loved about the first Guardian’s of the Galaxy is still in Vol. 2. I usually find faults in some of the Marvel films but I found it hard to complain about a kick ass adventure movie with so many rich and vibrant characters, this second outing really delivers and lives up to the hype.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fun, action packed second adventure that I loved every minute of. It’s such a brilliant movie that contains action, humour and a strong emotional ending for any Marvel Cinematic Universe story that has been sold so far in my opinion. I think that Vol. 2 did a fantastic job of developing each of the Guardian’s characters who all grew over the story and have really come a long way since the first film. I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy Vol, 2 as it’s everything you want in a superhero movie, plus with an all star cast you are in for such a roller coaster ride and will walk way looking forward to the Guardians meeting the Avengers in Infinity War next year!