Saturday, May 6, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** ½ out of 4
(From left to right) Drax, Gamora, Star-Lord, Baby Groot, Mantis, Nebula, Yondu, and Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

            Everyone’s favorite space adventurers from Marvel Comics are back for a second dose of campy fun in the anticipated sequel to the 2014 surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve already gushed over how much I loved the first movie so I won’t go into much detail about it aside from “Second Favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie After Avengers!”.
            So, I was hyped to see the sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 with James Gunn (Scooby-Doo 1 and 2, Slither, James Gunn’s PG Porn) returning as director and Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation, The Lego Movie, Jurassic World), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek, Avatar, The Book of Life), Dave Bautista (Riddick, Spectre, Blade Runner 2049), Bradley Cooper (The Hangover trilogy, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), Vin Diesel (The Iron Giant, Fast & Furious franchise, XXX), Michael Rooker (JFK, The Walking Dead, Super), Sean Gunn (Angel, Gilmore Girls, Pearl Harbor), and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Oculus, The Big Short) reprising their roles. It would be hard to top the originality and brilliantly crafted wit of the first movie, then again not all comic book movie sequels need to be Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight, or Captain America: Civil War to be good.
            I would say out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe sequels that weren’t as good as its predecessors like Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is the best one so far. Is it as fresh and funny as the first one? No, Is the pacing a little off at times? Sure, Does the story rehash the same familiar Marvel movie plot? Often, but the humor and imagination is still present and the likable characters and great writing ­­­­­are charming and funny enough to look past any flaws.
            After the events of the first movie we find Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Cooper), and Baby Groot (Diesel) officially labeled as the Guardians of the Galaxy and together they go on their own missions to save the universe. One day after an encounter with the Ravagers led by Yondu (Rooker), the Guardians encounter a strange looking man who claims to be Peter’s father named Ego (Kurt Russell-Death Proof, Fast & Furious 7 and 8, The Hateful Eight) and informs him about a goal to preserve the universe by using their powers (The same powers that allowed Star-Lord to hold the Infinity Stone without dying).
            Meanwhile a race of gold skinned Sovereign beings are on the hunt for the Guardians after Rocket steals some of their valuable and powerful batteries and the other Guardians realize that maybe Ego isn’t quite the person they thought he was. So, it’s up to the Guardians of the Galaxy with new members, Mantis (Pom Klementieff-Delicacy, Oldboy, Ingrid Goes West) and the unexpected recruitment of Gamora’s sister and arch nemesis, Nebula (Gillan) and Yondu to save the universe before a powerful entity destroys everything faster than you can say “I Am Groot”.
            The film also stars Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Everest) as Ayesha, Sean Gunn reprising his role from the first film as Kraglin, Chris Sullivan (The Drop, The Knick, Morgan) as Taserface (Brilliant name!), and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky franchise, Rambo franchise, The Expendables trilogy) as Staker Ogord.
            Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is a satisfying sequel to a great comic book/sci-fi adventure movie. It’s not as refreshing the second time around because I knew what to expect when I walked into this movie, it’s hard for a sequel to add new takes on what made the original so enjoyable.
            Guardians of the Galaxy had a pretty simple story but the space action, humor, and characters were pretty much the highlights of the entire movie. However, there was definitely more story in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, we find out more about Star-Lord’s dad as well as Nebula’s backstory and why she became evil, I’m only scratching the surface, all the characters feel more realistic here than in the first movie.
             But more story doesn’t stop the movie from having fun, the action is still great, the majority of the humor hits bullseye, most of it coming from Drax, and the characters are still a lot of fun to watch. Not to mention the film’s climax is better and uses Cheap Trick better than anything in Pixels (If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about).
            One of the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movies of all time? No, but if you enjoyed the first Guardians of the Galaxy or the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe you’ll probably enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. It may not be as thrilling or clever as the first one but for something as fun as this, it really doesn’t matter.

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