I don’t think I have enough words to describe my love for Guardians Of The Galaxy. Who would’ve thought that a movie based on characters that are only known by hardcore Marvel Comics fans would manage to win over nearly everyone and also be better than comic book movies based on more famous characters? That was the gamble that Marvel Studios took in 2014 and it paid off, all thanks to endearing characters, stunning visuals and effects, and some of the best comedy in the MCU. Now, Groot and Rocket Raccoon are A-listers on the same level as Iron Man and Captain America. So it makes sense that a sequel would be made. And here we are, the FIFTEENTH Marvel Studios film and the third film in Phase 3. This is Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2.
Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Baby Groot have officially established themselves as the Guardians Of The Galaxy, taking jobs like protecting batteries belonging to an alien race called the Sovereign. When the job goes badly, the Sovereign chase after the Guardians, who escape. While they’re on the run from both the Sovereign and Yondu’s Ravagers, Peter finally meets his biological father for the first time. This story is a bit more bloated than the first Guardians, but all of the subplots have a reason to be there and they service the story overall. Another thing, in spite of its setting, the story has a much smaller scope than the first movie, taking place in fewer planets and having smaller, more personal stakes in general.
There is a LOT of characters in this movie and a lot to talk about. But before we get to our titular characters, let’s talk about the newer characters. The Sovereign, who are the gold aliens who hired the Guardians in the first act, make for hilarious secondary antagonists. One detail that I love was that their unmanned drones are controlled through these devices that look like arcade games. Everytime I see it, I always get a laugh. Their leader, Ayesha, is a stern leader with a stick up her ass who wants the Guardians dead for betraying their deal. Pom Klementieff plays Mantis, the bug-like lady with empathic powers, meaning she can manipulate and experience the feelings of others. She was adorable and funny in her own way. Being raised by Ego all her life, she has no experience with social interaction, but she gains a family in the Guardians and helped them defeat the main villain of the movie. Speaking of the main villain…
Kurt Russell plays Peter Quill’s dad, Ego. He’s a Celestial, which is basically a space god, whose true form is a giant brain encased in a planet he created. In the first movie, we didn’t know who Peter’s dad was, he was only mentioned once near the end. Here, we’re introduced to Ego as he reunites with his son and we get some touching father-son moments initially. But then his nefarious motives are revealed as he went to thousands of planets (including Earth), impregnated different alien species, and planted seeds that would spread his power and influence. He needs the power of another Celestial to activate the seeds and control the whole universe, so he enlists Peter Quill, who is part-Celestial, to help kickstart his plan. You got all of that? I know it’s weird, but this movie is based on comic books, just roll with it. Convoluted plan aside, Ego is a much better, more memorable villain than Ronan from the first movie. Initially, he’s not someone you’d think would be a bad guy thank to Kurt Russell’s charm, but slowly and surely, you notice something isn’t right. It all comes to ahead when Ego unwillingly confessed to being responsible for the death of Peter’s mom by putting a cancerous tumor in her. When that moment happened, ….
Yondu wasn’t lying when he said that Peter’s dad was a jackass. I mean, wow. That’s the most evil thing any villain can ever do, no matter how they try to justify it. Speaking of Yondu, Michael Rooker did a fantastic job playing this character. He gets a lot more screen time and development in this movie than in the previous. We find out the reason why he never gave Peter to his father in the first place. Because he knew about Ego’s plan and didn’t want him to suffer the same fate as Ego’s other children, who are dead, so he became a father figure to Peter, a dickish, dysfunctional, threatening father figure. Another character who got more screen time and development was Nebula (Karen Gillian). She was kinda whatever in the first movie, but we get to know more about her in Vol 2 and why she hates her sister Gamora so much. Mainly because their adoptive father Thanos had them brawl with Gamora winning every time and every time she won, Thanos gave Nebula cybernetic enhancements. At a point, Nebula and Gamora reconcile to help the Guardians defeat Ego and afterwards, Nebula heads off to destroy Thanos.
Now for our titular heroes. We spent a good amount of time in the first Guardians getting know these characters and seeing them getting along with each other (sort of). In Vol 2, they’ve officially become like a dysfunctional family, constantly bickering and quipping while saving the day. Every character gets a good amount of screen time, so no one felt unnecessary. Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) was adorable and funny. Even though he’s the mascot of the team, he doesn’t distract or take up too much screen time. Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) is the smart aleck who makes snark comments about everyone in their face. He does care for his comrades, but he doesn’t like to show it. Drax (Dave Bautista) is just having the time of his life, always laughing and smiling. You can tell Bautista was having fun with this role. I always found Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to be the least interesting character out of the Guardians, but she was pretty badass. I like the relationship she has with Peter and her relationship with Nebula is more fleshed out. And now for the man of the hour, Peter Quill A.K.A. Star Lord. Chris Pratt just is Peter Quill kinda like how Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. Funny, charming, and sarcastic. He finally gets a chance to see and spend time with his father until shit goes down.
Man, this is a gorgeous movie to look at. So many bright colors and impressive CGI. The colors just pop out of the screen. Vol 2 isn’t just the best-looking movie in the MCU, but it’s the best-looking blockbuster out now. And it enhances the action sequences, whether it be dogfights in space, shootouts, hell, there’s a scene where Yondu murders a bunch of rogue Ravagers on a ship with an arrow he controls by whistling. And of course, the humor is on-point. The MCU is known for its humor and Vol 2 delivers a lot more than we can handle. Rapid fire jokes just hits you every second and most of them hit the target, though they could’ve scaled it down on some of the more touching moments. The funniest moments came from Drax, whose lack of self-awareness leads to some unintentionally hilarious lines. The Guardians Of The Galaxy movies don’t just have the best humor, but they also have the best soundtracks. The music used in these movies are excellent, consisting of songs from the 60s and 70s. These songs were a part of mixtapes that Peter’s mom made for him before her death and he would play these songs on his Walkman, which was the only thing Peter has to remember his mother for. They actually serve a purpose to the plot as opposed to just being lazily thrown in for the sake of it.
I give Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 a 9/10. I love this movie as much as the first one. It fixes some of the issues of the first movie, mainly the threat, and it delivers the same thrills. Great humor, action, more fleshed-out characters and more character moments, the whole 9 yards. Plus, it has the best Stan Lee cameo in a Marvel movie. The next time we’ll see the Guardians, they’ll be joining the Avengers when they face off against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. That movie is already looking to be the biggest comic book movie ever in terms of its cast and story and it’s the film that’s been built up to since the first Avengers. So I’m curious to see where things go.