James Gunn’s new film “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2,” opening this weekend, brings back everything good we loved about the first one, and then some.
What’s on most people’s minds who are intending to see GOTGVol2 is if it will be as good as the first one.
Let’s face it, that’s a tall order to fill for writer/director James Gunn and the other ten people who share the writing credit for this sequel (seriously, ten people).
The first film pretty much embodied near perfection and landed on many top ten lists for fans and critics alike in 2014. Gunn proved he was adept at instilling a retro feel mixed with space opera camp and fans ate it up.
“Volume 2” continues the story with the theme of talented misfits doing their best to one-up each other as they help Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) discover his origins. Gunn recaptures a lot of what made the first film so memorable and injects it into a new story that elaborates on the main characters and adds a few news ones.
Not a lot of time has gone by since the first story ended. Peter Quill is pretty happy with his reputation as Star Lord; The sort-of human from Terra who saved the Galaxy alongside his team. However, when he gets the opportunity to get to know his biological dad, Ego (Kurt Russell), he starts thinking about what he might have missed out on as a kid. That dynamic between father and son is part of the emotional narrative of the film.
In this outing, GOTGVol2 focuses more on the dynamic between the characters as we get to know more about why they do what they do, especially Yondu (Michael Rooker), Drax (Dave Bautista), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and new character Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
Like the first film, every character gets their moment, especially baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) who captures the big screen in several comedic scenes that will probably be many people’s favorite part. However, the film has so many solid characters that not one really stands above another, a true ensemble.
A notable performance from the versatile Michael Rooker as space pirate/ Ravager “Yondu” is a stand out amongst a fine cast, including a small role for Sylvester Stallone and Jeff Goldblum who seem headed for more in the Marvel Universe.
In a film of mostly positive there are a few negatives including the strange accent that Klementieff used for Mantis. Reminiscent of an Asian American speaking English with a heavy Asian accent. The film has a lot going on, including a ton of Easter Eggs, but at times almost seems a little bloated but it’s hard to fault the sequel because it moves along quite fast except the third act feels just a tad too long. All in all, these are nit picky compared to the overall quality of the film.
You may recall that the soundtrack “Volume 1” was almost like a character unto itself in the first film, and was a big part of Quill’s motivation. “Volume 2” nearly achieves that same vibe in this film however it seems Gunn might have chosen to put slightly less emphasis on music in order to focus the narrative a bit more on character interaction and smartly so.
Sequels tend to focus too much on being exactly like the first. Gunn is astutely aware of that and has created a follow up that embodies the essence of the first while creating enough of it’s own narrative to be on nearly equal ground. There is a bit of a lag in act 3, and visually a heap of action that becomes almost dizzying in 3D, however the film lands lightly on its feet with just enough sentimental emotion to justify any slip. Easter Eggs abound and GOTGVol2 fits nicely into the Marvel Universe as did the first one.
4 out of 5
PG-13,2 hr. 17 min.
- Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
- Directed By: James Gunn (II)
- In Theaters: May 5, 2017 Wide
- Walt Disney Pictures