When Guardians of the Galaxy came out, nobody really expected it to do well. It was a team of freshly introduced superheroes, trying to work together to save the world. Turns out, that is exactly the type of thing Marvel is great at. So, when they announced that Vol. II was in the making, sure enough, everyone was excited, and for good reason. Guardians of the Galaxy was a joy, combining humour and sci-fi action in a manner that out-Star Wars-ed most Star Wars movies, danced a jig at the global box office, and became a fixture on many ‘Best MCU films’ lists. In short, we were Groot.
However, following that up was no easy task. After the mixed responses received by the Avengers sequel, Director James Gunn had a hard task ahead of him.
The first movie was about bringing the team together, so most people would think that the second one should be about forcing them apart (*cough* *cough* Civil War), but James Gunn didn’t want anything to do with that. Instead, Vol. II was about the group realising that, despite their huge differences, they function best as the universe’s most dysfunctional family. Almost everyone has daddy, mummy, brother, or sister issues, but Star-Lord in particular has to juggle between his father and his daddy; his father being the newly introduced Planet Ego, played Kurt Russell, and his daddy being everybody’s favorite space pirate, Yondu.
It begins with the team doing their regular banter and bickering amongst themselves (don’t worry, there is plenty of hilarious dialogue in this too). Hanging out with them is so much fun that it’s a shame when Gunn finally makes a concession to convention and remembers that films like this typically have to have, a), a plot, and b), a villain.
However, this is where the movie begins to falter. What was previously hilarious and interesting, becomes a little abrasive and, at times, unappealing. Jokes that landed unerringly start to miss the target, while one sequence which is meant to be a moment of triumphant heroism comes across as a tasteless misstep. And the final battle, try as it might, can’t help but become a green-screen jamboree.
There are many new surprises, as new characters pop up every 10 minutes, such as Matis, Ayesha (Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign), Ego, and most surprisingly, Sylvester Stallone.
Be that as it may, it still wasn’t Thor: The Dark World level, and it is definitely recommended to be watched in theaters (after the summatives of course).
I would definitely recommend you to stay for ALL FIVE end-credit scenes. Yup. Five. Oh, and also be sure to look out for some easter eggs during the credits.
Beneath the film’s sass, there’s a real beating heart.