Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
SPOILER WARNING: Some plot points and characters will be discussed in this. While I try to keep spoilers to a minimum the fresher you go into this one the better, so consider yourself warned!
I won’t lie, I went into the original Guardians thinking it would be Marvel’s first major flop; Thor 2 and the Iron Man sequels may have underwhelmed but that’s not the same thing. It seemed silly and ludicrous plus after Spiderman 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer I thought we hated superheroes dancing?
Sure enough my fears were wrong and the film turned out to be great fun. But then I had similar fears with Vol 2. Would the novelty wear off? Would the characters remain consistent? The answer is yes and no but also that is also a good thing and a bad thing.
Essentially the plot is that the Guardians annoy a race of easily offended gold people called the Sovereign who chase after them. This then results in a crash on planet where Peter, aka Star-Lord, meeting his father Ego (Kurt Russell). There are some other great subplots in there but this is the main bulk of the story; Nebula and Gamora bicker over the mentioned but non-appearing Thanos, Rocket Raccoon feels alienated, Yondu deals with a mutiny and we also have new character Mantis who is dealing with social interaction and Drax appears to have lightened up but thankfully this character shift creates some genuinely fantastic moments. Oh yes and Baby Groot is incredibly cute!
To use a football cliché this is a film of two halves. The first half has that buoyant, zippy banter that is typically Marvel and I think there were at least half a dozen times I (and the audience) laughed out loud. The second half then switches gears and takes on a darker tone and how much you enjoy this will depend on your particular tolerance for it. Another flaw is the soundtrack. Not quite as effective as the first and at times feels a tad shoe-horned in.
In some respects the film does miss a couple of great people from the first one including my personal favourite John C Reilly, as anyone who read my Skull Island review will know! You can also argue that occasionally there is a clash between the postmodern play with conventions and a more sombre exploration of “FAMILY” (imagine that in the Vin Diesel Fast and the Furious voice. Or Peggy Mitchell from Eastenders).
Therefore a score for this is in some ways problematic; a 9/10 if you loved the first one and are a big Marvel fan, a 7/10 for a casual viewer who wants to enjoy a blockbuster and if you’re not a fan then this may give you a few surprises even if it is unlikely to convert you.
Another thing to say is in this film not only do you get five end credit scenes (including an intriguing Stan Lee appearance) but you also need to keep your eyes open during the credits themselves for some Hot Shots style gags hidden amongst the dolly grips and the utility gang members!
In short I feel this is a great blockbuster that gives pretty much what you hope for although in this instance more of what I wasn’t expecting and less of what the first one set up. While this may not be the big Infinity War setup or quite on the level of The Dark Knight or X-Men 2 it is still very much worth the trip to the cinema!