Contrary to the fate meted out to most sequels in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 actually manages to re-create the snarky, self-deprecating setting of the original with a few tweaks here and there. Director James Gunn not only wittingly builds upon the narrative of the first film but also gives us more insights into his oddball characters. Just that our motley crew of celestial renegades have bigger problems (and a whole lot of daddy issues) to deal with now.
While Chris Pratt is effervescent as ever as he plays Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana aces her green-skinned alien-princess Gemora. Even Vin Diesel who has often been criticised for being too wooden in his performances does a fantastic job at voicing baby Groot (“I am Groot”). Bradley Cooper adds a more sassy overtone to his CGI rodent Rocket while Dave Bautista still grabs the best punches ( “I have famously huge turds”).
With the mega superhero treat Avengers Infinity War hitting the theatres on April 27, let’s revisit the best and not-so-great things about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 that came out in 2017.
Four good things about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2:
1. Maintains its self-aware, snarky humour
What director James Gunn did with the first iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy series was very well an anomaly. He added a much-needed snarky comic setting to the narrative making the film a supremely funny, exciting and well-executed extravaganza. But being able to continue the same in the second installment was the real challenge. And Gunn is able to keep the predecessor’s magic intact in more ways than one.
2. James Gunn’s direction
What probably was a major let-down in the previous GOTG film were the incomplete character arcs of its five leads. But with the second installment, Gunn adds a certain personal touch to his characters. It is also probably because most of the film is about exploring the background stories of Peter and Gemora. But as this 138 minutes of GOTG 2 come to an end, you feel more passionately for the lead characters and the nicely-done funeral for Yondu also adds a kind of sentimental value.
3. Ego and Kurt Russell
To say that Ego is an exaggeration of a character is an understatement. The man has a planet of his own, for god’s sake. But I have to say that Kurt Russell truly shines post his dark side is unleashed in the film and he is almost the kind of villain that could send chills down your spine. He is especially good in the climactic scenes of the film when he starts to take over the world and he leads a neck-to-neck fight with Peter. Much in contrast with last one’s Ronan.
4. Eye and ear candy
Let me put it this way, the Awesome Mix Tape Volume 2 is just as awesome as the first one. In fact, the final battle between Ego and the guardians has been given a very vibrant overtone with the Guardians Inferno playing in the background. And this GOTG also boasts of some high-quality VFX sequences which are infinitely pleasing to look at.
Three not-so-great things about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2:
1. Plays more like an origin story
It is almost like every character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is facing some daddy, family or sister issues of their own. There is Peter who has been introduced to his father Ego for the first time but he ultimately realises that Yondu is the one who deserves to be called his father, then there are Nebula and Gemora, who form an unusual sister alliance of their own. And this is probably the reason why this film feels more like an origin story than the previous one.
2. Romantic angles
Gunn builds upon the flirtatious romantic track between Gemora and Star-lord in the second GOTG film and honestly, it doesn’t feel as necessary. His efforts to save up the love story for the third installment are far too visible. Apart from that, the romantic angle between Drax and Mantis is also a huge disappointment. It may be amusing to look at but it doesn’t have any bearing on the plot.
3. Tonal shift
There is a slightly odd tonal shift in this sequel as compared to the 2014 film. Not only is Chris Pratt more sombre as his man-child Peter Quill this time but also the other characters experience a kind of growing up in the course of this film. The comic interludes are either rare or not that genuinely funny.