Saving the universe one time was luck, saving it a second time requires some skill. Thus by summoning our heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy, they return with new adventures designed at winning our hearts… again. All of the lovable band of misfits return – Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) as the family we didn’t know we wanted, but are quite thankful for being the one we needed.
Back in 2014, the original “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1” was the surprise movie hit of that year, foretold with strange characters who were completely out of the norm, and with a beautifully crafted story that resonated with modern-day audiences. G.O.T.G. provided Marvel fans a healthy dose of the wildly delightful expansion of the MCU mythos – the worlds beyond the earth as our introduction into the cosmic universe.
Now three years later, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” starts off the blockbuster movie season and the question arises – can this movie spark that special flame again and take us on that magical carpet ride through the galaxy?
The answer is yes! “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2” is a wonderfully delivered movie which will satisfy all of your senses with timely action scenes filled with plenty of Marvel’s formulaic, comedic dialog, along with a veritable cornucopia of vivid colors as this film’s visual palette – and a heartwarming storyline based upon the common theme of what constitutes a family.
A family that grows exponentially with characters Yondu & Nebula, originally antagonists in Vol. 1, who join the Guardians along with some quite obscure beings to fabricate this remarkable story. If you thought the Guardians of the Galaxy members were notable, wait until you meet Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell) – one of whom answers the “Star-Lord dad” question from the first movie, thus amplifying the emotional baggage of our heroes.
Emotions that highlight the sensitive yet distinct personalities of our G.O.T.G. members. Star-Lord is even more cool and swash buckling but becomes even more gullible. Gamora continues to be the illustrious warrior but her rough exterior is softened while Drax, whose dry wit paves the comedic undertones for the entire film, grows in wisdom. No one has more brashness without a filter than Rocket, but his journey is the most dynamic as his heart becomes bigger than his body. And lastly, who can resist the adorability of Baby Groot!
The strength of director James Gunn is the ability to weave an intricate story line with visual sensibilities based on camera angles and shots that draw the viewer into the action. The original G.O.T.G. relied heavily on action but, in Vol. 2, Gunn is somewhat shackled during the first two acts because this distinctive narrative requires a fully laid out back story of the Ravagers and Ego the Living Planet.
Some may feel that the film lags because of that, but I would describe the film as intentional. Gunn needed to be deliberate with his storytelling, so as to not lose his audience with these very weird concepts – plot points that allow for a better payoff once we arrive at the 3rd act of the film.
Like any Marvel movie, remember to stay after the credits because there are five post-credit scenes. If you know your Marvel comics, these sequences will have you ready to jump out of your seat! I felt just like I did after the post-credit scene from the first Avengers, that revealed my favorite Marvel villain Thanos. Similarly, I felt alone clapping with excitement, as these scenes finally announce something that I have been waiting for years to come to this Marvel Universe.
I’m not sure if 3D is the best way to experience this film though. James Gunn is such a great filmmaker, who dabbles well within the margins of the frame, showering the backgrounds with so much beauty, details and Easter eggs, that the 3D framework can distract and may overshadow the film’s stylization.
In the end, GOTG Vol.2 does not disappoint. It’s like biting into a fresh and juicy piece of fruit, a flavor filled experience, all the way down to its succulent core. With plenty of special nods and plot points from the Marvel universe, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” achieves what it set out to do… save the universe… once more.