Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Director: James Gunn
Screenplay: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Let’s make this clear from the start, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not as good as Guardians of the Galaxy, but in its defence, it is the only MCU movie that actually made me cry.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is about family. About fathers and sons, about sisters, about the family you choose, about the family you didn’t know you had. The central story is about Star-Lord (Pratt) encountering his father, the celestial Ego (Russell), after the Guardians get into trouble for stealing the very thing these golden aliens called the Sovereign race tasked them to defend.
The thing is when you have an ensemble cast, if you focus on one of them, you leave the rest with not much to do. The film fixes this with some subplots that don’t have a good start, and are in fact needlessly convoluted, but end up decently by the time the movie ends.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues with the fantastic visuals that made this particular MCU franchise a standout, with the vibrant colors and beautiful designs. Also, MCU keeps up with their great de-aging special effects, this time used on Russell on the flashback prologue.
Once again, the soundtrack is an important part of the story, and they manage to write some of the songs into the script. The use of Cat Steven’s “Father and Son” was particularly lovely. Tyler Bate’s score was on point, specially during the final act of the movie.
This time around, the humor is an even bigger part, which was a bit bothersome when things got so over-the-top that the plot slows down just so we can get some chuckles. That said, the humor became well-balanced by the time we get to the second part of the movie, when the more emotional elements of Star-Lord’s character arc are put on the front.
The main cast did a superb job maintaining the dynamic of the group, which was slightly different with Groot as a baby (or more accurately a toddler), but as the movie moves along the characters are fleshed out more, and most of the cast gets a chance to shine and polish their acting chops.
Star-Lord and Ego had an interesting dynamic, and the way Russell acted made you easily believe that he could be Pratt’s father. Watching the evolution of their interactions, and how it ended was both funny and poignant.
Gamora (Saldana) and Nebula (Gillan) had their moment to deepen their relationship, and Nebula painted us an actual description of why Thanos is the bad guy. The Big Bad of the MCU has only been seen sitting in a throne and looking menacing. But now we have first-hand knowledge about evils he committed, that while not cosmic in their scale, were painful to hear for its intimacy.
The lighthearted relationship of the film came via Drax (Bautista) and Mantis (Klementieff), which at the same time hilarious, cute and involuntarily mean-spirited because of Drax’s honesty.
But the highlight of this movie was Yondu. Rooker’s character was entertaining but didn’t get to shine much in the first film, but not in this one! His fall from grace, and his complicated relationship with his men, and specially Star-Lord, give us a great range of emotions. His interactions with Rocket Raccoon (Cooper), whom he sees as a kindred spirit, were great. And their scene with Baby Groot (Diesel) was hilarious.
As for the supporting characters, I gotta say Sean Gunn’s Kraglin was so good and likable that I won’t complain about the nepotism. And yes, Sylvester Stallone was there as high-ranking Ravager Stakar Ogord, and this role was small and by-the-numbers, but it planted the seeds of what is most likely a bigger part in the third installment.
Just like Guardians of the Galaxy, this film is self-contained. There are some minor references to the MCU, but there’s no need to watch any previous movie besides the original Guardians. So, sit back and enjoy it. And watch it in 3D if you can, it is worth it if just to appreciate the visuals in all its beauty.
We had five end-credits scenes! And they were all cool in different ways. Two of them were “candid” situations (like Dancing Baby Groot in the first film), two were related to the sequel, and the last one was a continuation of a random moment in the movie… and a Marvel in-joke.