Victoria Stuewe ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Assistant Movies Editor
It’s safe to say no one expected a misfit, ragtag team known as the Guardians of the Galaxy would become as iconic as it is today. With the team’s surprisingly successful debut, expectations were high for the sequel to be as good or even better than the original. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, had many high points but, unfortunately, unlike its sharp and witty predecessor, also had moments that missed the mark.
Comprising of Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and, of course, Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), the team opens the film with a battle against a rogue alien. While they begin to work together well in the midst of chaos, they eventually struggle as they begin to argue at the worst moment possible. It’s really Star-Lord against everyone else – well, except for Baby Groot.
Since they supposedly got along at the end of the first film, it was puzzling as to why they were so upset with each other so quickly in the sequel. Star-Lord and Rocket’s outbursts, however, are what really sets the story into action, as problems begin to arise. Over the course of the film, the team must face multiple villains, sorrow, and, above all, their feelings towards each other.
What the film does best is creating fun and witty content. There are many moments in the film that exude this trait, and that is what truly separates this team from the rest of the Marvel Universe. Ever since the original Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel seems to have been attempting to make other characters fit into the type of comedy that the Guardians portray, but, so far, none have been able to live up to the originality of the five unique characters.
The sequel, thankfully, keeps these characters’ best qualities intact throughout the movie, a feat not many Marvel films have been able to do. Star-Lord still has his quick wits and somewhat sharp comebacks, Gamora still has the most unexpectedly hilarious moments, Rocket has the best sarcastic comments, Drax’s blunt remarks still holds true to the original and never misses a step, and Baby Groot is still his adorable self. All of these things and more that made the original great made this sequel just as charming.
However, the best moments still led to the biggest missteps of the movie: the unbalanced serious tone shifts. While the hilarious moments were great and made the film enjoyable to watch, Vol. 2 switched between the funny moments and the serious and sorrowful moments too quickly. There wasn’t any time to recover between tone shifts, and it made the film seem like it was trying to cover too much in just over two hours. One moment, people in the audience are laughing their heads off, the next, there is a melancholy scene between two of the characters. This was an extremely disappointing aspect, as it really hindered the pace overall. Though the film had potential, it really suffered from its lack of balance and handiwork in weaving the two tones together.
As for the beloved soundtrack, there are many times when the film is at its best because of the music. Director James Gunn did a fantastic job at combining classic songs with the colorful imagery of the film, which is another quality that made the first Guardians so memorable. The film doesn’t cease to bring creativity to the table as it introduces new species and worlds, still as vibrant as the first, and never misses a beat when using the soundtrack during the team’s wild encounters.
As a quick note, be sure to stay through the entire credits. There are a total of five end credits scenes woven through its entirety but don’t worry, there’s plenty to pay attention to while waiting for those precious scenes that may or may not foreshadow what will happen next within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Though there were bad decisions that were made while making the film, this does not mean that it is a terrible movie. While it is disappointing that such a great debut had a sequel that was just okay, there is a lot to love in Vol. 2 as well. There are many scenes, both hilarious and heart-breaking, that are memorable. It is so easy to fall in love with each of the characters in different ways, and that is what’s most surprising about this team. Not a lot of ensemble films or even television shows are able to do that. But Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just special enough to be able to have such an intimate connection with the audience.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a good sequel, just not as good as it could have been. The innovation that’s apparent in the original is lacking in Vol. 2, but that doesn’t stop the movie from being an entertaining watch. It’s just as great to see the characters in action, somehow still working together in order to save the galaxy.
Overall Grade: B+
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