Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 Poster

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 Poster

The Guardians of the Galaxy are back. You’re welcome.

Though it was based on a virtually unknown and rather offbeat comicbook property, the original Guardians of the Galaxy was a smashing success for Marvel, proving that (for the time being at least), they can do no wrong. Director James Gunn is back at the helm for this sequel with most of the cast reprising their roles, along with some new and exciting faces.

In the midst of a self-made crisis, the band of galaxy saving misfits is paid a visit by the last person they expected to run into – Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) long rumored father (Kurt Russell). Besieged by side plots of the friendly and not so friendly types, Starlord is off to find out just who his dad really is – and just might end up saving the galaxy once again in the process.

It’s easy to be cynical about this movie. The first film was incredibly fresh and exciting. Being a sequel, Volume 2 naturally suffers from no longer being unique. With more of what we loved about the first – adorable baby Groot (Vin Diesel), snarky Rocket (Bradley Cooper), formidably lovable Drax (Dave Bautista) – it is more of the same. The plot even follows the typical Marvel formula of the good guys solving a problem that might have been their fault in the first place, if you think about it. But do you really complain when you’re given second helpings of your favorite dessert? I didn’t think so.

Despite being the most “out there” of all the MCU films (they’re up to fifteen now!), Guardians 2 manages to feel the most genuine. The characters are real, the universe is a lived in place, and things seem to happen organically as the characters continue to grow and develop. The levels of emotion are high, the levels of laughter even higher, and the visuals are like satisfying candy bunches for your senses. Very little time is wasted on something not worth being on screen, though the film does drag ever so slightly towards the middle as necessary exposition interferes.

Even though the cast of characters is larger this time around, none of them feels wasted or forgotten as all get plenty of moments to shine. You really can’t go wrong picking a favorite. Newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff), for example, is a lovely scene stealer as she and Drax especially exhibit wonderful chemistry together on screen.

The most irreverent of the MCU film family, Guardians 2 packs a surprising amount of adult content and some rather brutal violence into a brightly colored package. It’s great for the older crowd, but some parents of younger Marvel fans might find themselves in an awkward situation. One scene in particular may prompt some questions about the whole birds and bees thing, so be aware of that.

Right on par with one of the best Marvel movies to date (the first Guardians), Vol. 2 is a self contained crowd pleaser that manages to feel like an intimate family tale, even though the fate of the universe does come into question once or twice along the way. Just barely connected (so far) to the rest of the cinematic universe, it paves the way for a new frontier of films filled with colorful characters and adventures for years to come.

Mrs. Hamster says:

“I like how there’s always a joke ready before it gets too serious.”

Brother Hamster did not screen this film

My rating: four out of five hats

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Trailer:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 saves 4,347 theaters, including IMAX 3D, March 5