Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.
Coming off the surprise success of the first one, Volume 2 had big shoes to fill and for the most part James Gunn and co manage to bring a more than satisfying sequel to the big screen. What made the first one such a success was the chemistry between the five lead characters. Spotlighting their imperfections and quippy attitudes, the characters individual motivations lead to them having to work together. Building off the first, the characters are more comfortable with each other and that leads to more depth being added to each role.
The first Guardians film differed from other MCU films thanks to its crass comedy and more can be found in the second. Gunn knows how to get a reaction out of the viewer and allows each character their moment to shine. At 136 minutes, the humor does become tiresome as consistent gags can get exhausting as the story reaches its climax. In this case, quality over quantity may have been more beneficial when it comes to the comedic moments.
What’s severely lacking from the first is the memorable soundtrack that elevated the original to new heights. Many songs from Guardians of the Galaxy were hits that the viewer could nod their head and tap their feet to. For a film called Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it doesn’t match up to its predecessor.
James Gunn expands on the family aspect as this group of ragtags further expands on the bond they have built with one another. A handful of characters in the film are forced to address a past that is unknown or damaging to them. The newest MCU film is much more personal than others in the franchise which may take viewers by surprise.
Chris Pratt continues to build on his superstar status as his Peter Quill shows a side that wasn’t seen in the previous film. Saldana’s Gamora helps to give a more defined perspective for viewers while Bautista’s Drax deadpan delivery easily gets the biggest laughs. The dynamic duo of Cooper’s Rocket and Diesel’s Groot mesh well together as Rocket is taking on the role of impatient parental figure to Baby Groot who is too young and immature to understand the stakes and repercussions.
Adding a screen legend like Kurt Russell never hurts as he plays the long lost father to Peter who has searched long and hard for his son. The scenes between him and Pratt are gentle and heartwarming as they both try to build on a non-existent past. Michael Rooker’s Yondu is one of the surprises of the film as he has the biggest character arc. Rooker delivers a nuanced performance which resonates with audiences as we feel his suffering and confliction.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 builds on their stacked cast with the additions of Russell, Klementieff, and yes, Sylvester Stallone. The film features many comedic moments and is matched by moments of intimacy between characters. At 136 minutes, the film has the tendency to drag and suffers from an inconsistent pace. Though the action set pieces are loud and vibrant, at times it’s hard to identify who is who and what we’re watching as the speed becomes a tedious watch. Regardless of its issues, seeing the gang back together makes for some exhilarating moments and an overall fun and worthwhile time at the theater.