Evan Minniti staff writer
The Marvel Cinematic Universe can be a mixed bag. One of the stronger films they have made was 2014’s hit “Guardians of the Galaxy”. It was a smart, original but imperfect, action-comedy filled with many weird characters and a fun soundtrack. 2017’s sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2” continues where the first left off, but greatly improves many of the problems in the first one.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” succeeds by following and tweaking the formula of the first movie. “Guardians Vol. 2” continues the adventures of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and his gang of frenemies: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a skilled assassin who Star-Lord secretly harbors feelings for; Drax (Dave Bautista), an incredibly violent but childish alien; Rocket (Bradley Cooper) a foul-mouthed pyromaniac genetically altered raccoon; and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), a young tree-like infant who can only say “I am Groot”.
Most of this movie works really well. In fact, it improves upon the first movie. It’s definitely the second funniest Marvel movie after “Deadpool”. James Gunn proves he is extremely talented as a writer-director, especially in writing the smart, quick dialogue.
The soundtrack is fantastic, and actually has a lot of relevance within the plot, whereas in “Guardians Vol. 1” the soundtrack was there for purely aesthetic and pacing reasons.
Finally, this is one of the few Marvel movies to have a really strong villain. Ego, played so charismatically by Kurt Russell, seduces the audience into liking him, while putting up some serious red flags about his intentions in the first act.
Another problem within the first movie that “Guardians Vol. 2” fixed was that the dramatic scenes work. What is so beautifully strange about this absolutely bonkers movie is that it is surprisingly effective at moving the audience. Ultimately, “Guardians Vol. 2” is really about a father-son relationship that has gone awry, with a lot of jokes and explosions, too. The performances of Russell, Pratt and Michael Rooker all really help propel this storyline along.
Baby Groot is given too large of a role. The opening sequence, in which Baby Groot obliviously dances to ELO while an intense firefight rages around him, is quite cute. However, from there on Baby Groot slows the plot down. This is redeemed by him having a big role in the climax, but his scenes could have been edited down. Also, Elizabeth Debicki, while a very talented actress in other roles, plays a kind of useless side villain. It’s really hard to find any justification for the existence of her character outside of some funny moments.
All in all, “Guardians Vol. 2” is a really good sequel whose merits outweigh its faults, its 138 minute runtime flies by.