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Familiar comedy and a family dynamic surround a fun Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Crank up your Sony Walkmans, folks — it’s time for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

We last saw our uncanny gang of heroes eager for their next adventure and, three years later, we jump right into their fight to protect batteries from an interdimensional space monster.

No, the film quite literally throws the audience into a fight against a large, nasty-looking blob that is a space monster.

The fight is to protect batteries that harbor a source of life and energy for the Sovereign, a race of people who are gold-skinned and snobby in nature, led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). Debicki makes her character likeable, even if she’s playing a selfish, holier-than-thou queen. Which presents a very interesting dynamic to this film: Vol. 2 was benefited by the strong roles of women. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula’s (Karen Gillan) love-hate relationship as sisters was given a bigger spotlight than the first GotG, which played to the effective family theme that was fleshed out in Vol. 2‘s second half.

The main story revolves around Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father, Ego (Kurt Russell), who finally re-connects with his son. Now, I don’t want to spoil much, so all I’ll say is Star-Lord’s backstory is finally explained, which is something I had an issue with in the first Guardians.

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Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures

Director James Gunn, who also took on the responsibility of writing the screenplay for this sequel, presented the humor and quirkiness we’ve come to expect. Vol. 2 of course draws similarities to the first film. However, this feels like a more complete Guardians of the Galaxy chapter. Somehow, Gunn found a way to tie emotion into the script that made my heart warm and invoked pure emotion at the same time. There were moments of humor and most times it coupled well with the action. The payoff at the conclusion of Vol. 2 was well worth the long runtime.

Actor Michael Rooker, who plays Yondu, brought the most emotion to a character I had thought would be out of the limelight this time around. Rooker stole the show with his unique approach to reeling in the audience with heartfelt dialogue and a sly attitude while leading one of the best set pieces in the film. Yes, it included lots of whistling.

Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures

Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures

Not by much, but the action is better this time around. There’s a larger scale to the space battles, the villain feels intimidating and the Guardians’ banter is still smooth. The soundtrack also aided the fast-paced combat, with Awesome Mix Vol. 2 featuring the ever-so catchy Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang. However, there’s no Hooked on a Feeling in this one, and I did enjoy the first mix much more. It felt like a very safe batch of tunes this time around.

Now, this isn’t a perfect film. Vol. 2 isn’t on-par with its predecessor, but not because, “Oh, it’s not as great as the first.” I feel like that’s a lame argument, anyways, because no further volume of GotG will be as good as the first, because of how fresh and unknown the characters were to the audience.

Gunn’s sequel suffers from a few gags that fell flat. We don’t need to continue hearing Drax (Dave Bautista) berate Mantis’ looks (Pom Klementieff); I’m tired of Baby Groot being shoved down our throats because, hey, we get it, you wanna sell toys; We don’t need an out-of-place joke about tape during a large battle.

And, seriously, enough Baby Groot (Vin Diesel). ENOUGH!

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Cute at first, then gets annoying (Courtesy: Walt Disney Pictures)

Some may view this as a complaint, but I’m OK with Vol. 2 not progressing the MCU timeline this time around. Guardians of the Galaxy is meant to be a comedic, and now emotional, ride with characters we’ve begun to love. This film wasn’t meant to be about Thanos or even any Infinity Stones (even though they’re mentioned once). A Marvel Studios film can exist outside of simply pandering to the next Avengers film. Letting a film like Vol. 2 breathe on its own was refreshing.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made for a fun time with familiar comedy that still produced a ton of laughs. I think those who love the first will enjoy this ride, and I appreciated the film being easy to follow for those who may not have seen the first (i.e. my girlfriend). This installment gives fans more reasons to love our Guardians and Gunn’s direction for the series.

Also, for future films, PLEASE limit the mid- and post-credits scenes. We don’t need all five of those found in this film. We really needed only one.


I viewed an early screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in IMAX 3D at AMC Sunset thanks to Sly Fox (<3) … The film runs 2 hours and 16 minutes and is rated PG-13 … It releases in North America on May 5, 2017

 

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