Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Builds More
James Gunn has done it again. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits every point that we loved about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1. It gives us all the humor, special effects, character relations,that we loved in Volume 1, with the addition of Baby Groot. What’s not to love about Baby Groot?
When Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 came out in 2014 (though it feels like it was only a couple of months ago), James Gunn introduced a slew of Marvel cinema fans to characters they’ve never heard of. Hell, he probably introduced a ton of comic fans to characters they’ve never heard of. Before the film’s release, the Guardians were a pretty obscure group of characters in the comic-verse. But who’s complaining? Not I. Gunn’s second run with Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket is just as fun as the first with just as many thrills. Gunn has an excellent eye for creating immediately classic scenes. Whether it’s the opening credits of Vol. 2 or (slight spoilers) Rocket and Yondu escaping from the Ravagers prison cell, Gunn knows how to create visually gripping scenes that not many other Marvel directors have been able to capitalize on.
Gunn has an excellent eye for creating immediately classic scenes.
So what’s the main question everyone asks when looking at a sequel to a movie they love? “Is it as good as the first one?” So, is it? Well, yes but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some faults as well. Vol. 2 is a great sequel to the first Guardians film and keeps the ball rolling with our loveable characters. The cast is just as good as they were in the first, with some giving even stronger and more touching performances. I’m looking at you Michael Rooker. They all have their moments to shine and they all have their moments to make us laugh but I would say that Vol. 2 is definitely the Star Lord show. Is that a bad thing? Hell no, Chris Pratt’s Star Lord is one of the things that really pulled this franchise together. But it does lead to a somewhat lackluster final battle when your entire outcome depends on one character.
I don’t want to give too much away here, but I do want to point out that I felt the villain was also a tad bit underwhelming. My biggest gripe with superhero movies is when they always try to make the finale hinge on world-ending stakes. We don’t always need that. The strongest comic book movies, in my opinion, have been without those stakes: Batman Begins, Deadpool, Logan, & Iron Man. Obviously, this is sort of an unfair assessment to make when we’re talking about Guardians of the Galaxy, since those type of stakes are in the name of the film. But none the less, world-ending or universe-ending final battles tend to take me out of the film just a little bit. Again, it’s not fair of me to argue this when it comes to the Guardians franchise, I just felt it necessary to point out.
Something that Marvel has really become skillful at is their way of humanizing all their characters, whether they’re human or not.
Vol. 2 hits it mark more than anything in two places: the comedy/chemistry between its characters, and of course the choice of soundtrack. I don’t need to go into details as to why Surrender by Cheap Trick or My Sweet Lord by George Harrison are great songs. Just trust me, the soundtrack is as magical as the first film. But it’s the chemistry where Vol. 2 really stands apart. The relationship between characters in the series is always something that James Gunn pleasantly surprises me with and I couldn’t be happier. Whether we’re getting an emotional moment from Rocket, or a sweet moment from Drax or Gamora, they all bring something to the table other than “bad ass sci-fi action characters,” and that’s something that’s really important in this universe. Something that Marvel has really become skillful at is their way of humanizing all their characters, whether they’re human or not. Guardians’ ability to do that helps set the bar higher for the rest of the Marvel universe. It helps challenge the world they’re building, and tells all the other directors, “Hey, we can ground these characters in reality. You just have to show you care.” That’s something James Gunn has done with Vol. 2 so beautifully; he really cares.
So where does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sit in the realm of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)? Smack dab at the top, right next to Vol. 1. Gunn has found his niche in the MCU and he’s showing everyone just how good he is at handling it.