The Fate of the Fast and Furious arguably may have been the start of this years blockbuster event films, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opening earlier this month inaugurated what should be a fast paced action pack summer movie extravaganza. Hot off the heels of an unexpectedly great first film, GotG2 picks up with the titular cast of heroes oozing pretty much the same chemistry and comedy that made the original a success.
A lot of the reviews praise the overall structure of the story and cast, giving ratings slightly below the first due to the repetitive nature of the film. For all the growth we see in the main cast of characters, there’s not much new explored in terms of comedic value or story direction. Oddly enough, I didn’t find myself bothered by that at all. The actors breathing life into the guardians share an obvious fondness for working with each other. Each scene, with either actor or CGI counter part, moves effortlessly and makes believable emotional impacts in key moments. If there are any faults I personally have, it’d be with Marvel’s general disdain for setting up meaningful villains or any sense of a real threat. GotG2 in and of itself is a great entertaining experience that is truly this summers first must see.
*Spoilers for Guardians below*
Baby Groot got a lot of hype coming into this. Yes, he was adorable, funny and participated in saving the galaxy, but overall the hype was a bit overblown. I came in thinking he’d shine but thought his storyline took a backseat to the other set ups in the film. Drax showed his usual amazingness, often stealing the comedic thunder from Chris Pratt’s ‘Peter Quill’ at times. I’ve seen Dave Bautista in some bit parts before, but I’d be interested to see how versatile of an actor he is in future works.
Zoe Saldana does a bit more with Gamora this time around, showing some layers in the relationship between her and Nebula. I appreciate the sisterhood displayed here and how compact it was within the story. It’s hard for Hollywood to get female leads portrayed as anything other than a love interest or cardboard villainess in bigger films. Marvel gets an ‘A’ for effort but it doesn’t always work. Letting the ladies figure out their own feelings and struggles with their father was a great step in the right direction and will hopefully continue a trend. Rocket gets some moments, upping his general angst and malice at Quill’s activities. Often the recipient of his jokes, Rocket begrudgingly bonds with Quill while raising Baby Groot.
Peter and the relationship with his father, played by the great Kurt Russell was fun. The de-aging technology in this film was amazing. Took me back to Kurt’s earlier film days. As a hippie god-like being spreading his progeny across the galaxy, everything seemed to be going fine. The dark turn towards the end felt obvious and left me wanting more of an emotional impact. Introducing Peter Quill’s father is obviously important to the story and requires valuable screen time. Despite my general liking of the plotline, it suffered from the more immediate and noticeable emotional weight of Michael Rooker’s ‘Yondu’. Yondu’s surrogate father role played an even bigger part in this film than the last. Yondu was absolutely every bit the star of this film despite the advertising.
From Sylvester Stallone’s brief appearance with Yondu as a former comrade, a mutiny on his ship and to the ultimate sacrifice made at the end, he proved his worth in every scene. I could see it choreographed early on. We all knew Quill’s anxious embrace of celestial dad would be short-lived. Yondu’s weary expressions and self-reflection were obviously pointing towards only one ending for him. It would’ve been great to see Quill in more scenes with him before the glorious send off. At some point in production, the filmmakers must’ve seen how important an impact this character would make. The last few scenes easily made you forget GotG2 actually had a villain.
All in all, a solid movie and not much off the mark of the original. I’m perfectly fine with rehashing comedic conversations amongst the GotG characters. Marvel’s winning strategy of gobbling up my movie dollars with no real meaningful villains for the hero’s to face still continues. But if they keep casting the likes of Kurt Russell or Cate Blanchette in the upcoming Thor Ragnarok, then by all means let them continue…