Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the follow-up to 2014’s surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, with Chris Pratt, a talking tree and a sarcastic raccoon. The unlikely superhero team is back for more shenanigans in space and galaxy saving.

The story picks up some time after the events in the first film. Instead of chasing after an infinity stone, the new adventure focuses on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) meeting his father Ego (Kurt Russell) for the first time and the rest of the group dynamics – Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula’s (Karen Gillan) history is explained, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) expand their relationship, and Drax (Dave Bautista) and the newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff) spend some hilarious time together. Not to mention an adorable baby Groot.

In addition, the Guardians are being chased across the galaxy by superior race known as The Sovereign.

Unlike the original, there’s no character building necessary. The film’s opening moments get right to the action and comedy. Director James Gunn paces the film very well and uses every minute of the runtime to squeeze in as many jokes and gags as possible.

Vol. 2 isn’t a comic book movie that takes itself too seriously. It’s a fun 80’s style space comedy that happens to be connected to a larger cinematic universe. The film is more focused on jokes rather than setting up whatever Marvel has planned next. As much fun as it is to see all the connective tissue Marvel infuses into their films, making Vol. 2 more of an action comedy is a very smart choice and makes for a fun movie.

This doesn’t mean it’s not a comic book movie. There are plenty of easter-eggs and the comic book action to hold audiences over until Spider-Man: Homecoming lands in theaters.

As usual, the cast is great – Kurt Russell is perfect as Ego and the script does a fantastic job explaining who Ego is and how he came to be. Chris Pratt continues to cement himself as a Hollywood star (no pun intended), but the real treat is Groot. How Groot is used and the comedy that comes with him being a baby exceeded all expectations. The things that made him lovable in the first film are only enhanced when he’s a baby. Baby Groot is easily one of Marvel’s best cinematic characters.

What separates Guardians from other Marvel movies is how colorful the films are and the unique designs of the worlds and creatures the Guardians cross paths with. It feels like Star Wars, but in a good way. These two elements will always make Guardians a movie that begs to be seen in theaters.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is exactly what you want from a sequel. It’s a laugh riot from beginning to end. They deliver more of what people loved in the original and added to it. The story continues the expansion of Marvel’s cosmic side, while still remaining a laugh-out-loud comedy that’s good for the whole family. The films are so fun; it’s a joy to be swept up in a ridiculous space comedy for 2 hours. Marvel created a world audiences enjoy being in because all you can do is laugh and smile. Even when the fate of the universe is at stake, it never gets too serious.  James Gunn doesn’t not get enough credit for how perfect the soundtrack matches with the film. It worked great in the first film, and it’s even better this time around.

It will be exciting to see the Guardians team up with the Avengers next year, but even more exciting to see what worlds and adventures James Gunn has in store for them next.

Grade: B+

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