Alas apes, it’s been awhile since we’ve posted. All three of us have been busy – but we’re all back in action now to perform a cooperative analysis of Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
The film, directed again by James Gunn and starring all the usual favourites from the first, also features Kurt Russell in a leading role. This time around, the guardians are tasked with defending a planet belonging to the Sovereign, genetically-engineered golden superhumans. After that, the main plot revolves around Peter meeting his father, Ego. With that plot in mind, here are our thoughts…
CRAIG: What can you say about Guardians? It’s a modern day sci-fi film that ramps up the fun through a cast of great side characters. This is a great sequel, although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first one, it’s nonetheless a great exploration of the cast.
Rocket gets a bit more development, showing the true effects his foul creation have wrought on his personality. Drax is a bit over the top, but funny in plenty of scenes – although he does become grating. Baby Groot is cute as a button. Gamora and her sister, Nebula, get some much-needed development. For me though, the star of the side cast is Yondu Udonta, possessor of perhaps the most overpowered personal weapon in all of sci-fi history. He gets a full arc and you see a lot more of him, which is great considering Michael Rooker is excellent in every scene.
Unfortunately, for me the film slips up at its central premise. Peter meets his father, Ego, who is an incredibly powerful being. What follows is predictable and seems forced, which spoils the pacing a bit.
Still, the soundtrack is as excellent as ever. The side characters are stronger this time around. It’s a great example of a sequel – just not quite as good as the first.
RYAN: When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the biggest fan. However, the original Guardians of the Galaxy was a remedy to the over-saturation of the market. It surprised me with its madcap space opera vibes. In that sense the sequel has a high standard to maintain, a task I’d say it achieves… for the most part.
The energy and excitement all remain, with the core crew suitably expanded upon. Kurt Russell’s bearded jawline is a welcome addition to any cast, so I was giddy to see him thrown into the mix as the character of Ego.
I’d echo Craig’s words on Yondu, he is by far the most engaging character in this installment. We get a hint at the wider Ravager world he lives in, but not enough of it for my money. The film wants to spend most of its time exploring the lineage of Peter Quill, which is fair enough. However, too many plot points end up a little too streamlined and convenient because of this. One particular story arc concluded abruptly in the final act, well before its time in my view, removing any scope for future expansion.
One thing I’ve noticed after some time has passed and the film has settled with me is how it doesn’t really feel like it’s building a seamless world. It feels like a piecemeal – it includes most of the ingredients of the first film but doesn’t appear to sit directly alongside it. I don’t get the sense that it’s building a complete saga in the way that say, Star Wars does. Remove a couple members of the main cast and this could feel like a spin-off. Because the story it weaves is so specific this time around, they forget to tie into what we experienced in the first film. A picky gripe perhaps, but one that nonetheless had me feeling a little cooler on the general tone and atmosphere this time around.
Still, the film is undoubtedly entertaining, with plenty of humour and pulse-racing set pieces to please. It doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of the original, and I’m sad to say some of my niggles with the film have still lingered with me. Will you enjoy it though? Most definitely.
RICHARD: For ticking the boxes of an action and comedy, this film delivers. I would definitely rate this on par with the first one which is not an easy job for a Marvel sequel which have a habit of losing their impact.
What really engaged the fantasy nerd in me is its use of more conceptually interesting aliens and villains, the blue, green, and pink humans are still hanging around, but we begin to flesh out the other fascinating inhabitants of the universe, it’s like James Gunn opened up a star-trek box set into his script (which is a good thing). Some smaller appreciations for this film that have already been mentioned , aside from its fantastic soundtrack, would be its ability to not take its self too seriously, Gunn knows it’s a family film and plays to his strengths, allowing the cuteness of baby Groot and the quick wittiness of Peter Quill to pander for both kids and adults alike. After drawing our attention with GOTGv1 they put a great focus on characters this time around, diving deeper into their relationships and past relationships that will make some observant comic book nerds go wild.
To pick at the problems a bit I did feel there was some plot rushing problems with the main story which was obviously to make more room for side character development and longer fight scenes. I also strongly believe the beef between Gamora and Nebula was drawn out way longer than it should have.
All considered, GOTGv2 packs sci-fi, fantasy and funny into one easy to swallow pill, I would highly recommend this for those who enjoyed the original.