I saw the first Guardians movie in theaters 4 times back in 2014. Suffice to say it was my favorite movie of the year, and 2014 was a great year for film. Guardians gave me a taste of the movie I had been searching for my whole life, it was like Star Wars except the main characters were Han Solo and a bunch of bounty hunters! It was Star Wars if Star Wars ever decided to finally stop going to boring desert or ice planets! Hell it was Indiana Jones in Space!
And James Gunn has returned with a sequel and the question is how does it stack up to the first?! And uhm…it’s alright. Don’t get me wrong it’s really fun and you should go check it out in theaters! But it seems like they couldn’t recapture the magic of the first. Let me explain.
The film opens up with the Guardians on a mission to fight off a giant tentacle monster, the one from the trailer. As they wait for the monster to show up our team is cracking a few jokes to set the tone of the movie while also giving us some insight on how they’ve accustomed to being a team, you get a sense of a dysfunctional family and this scene is great…except it drags on too long. And pacing is a huge problem with this movie. Oh hey speaking of pacing when the monster finally shows up instead of us watching our heroes fight it we get a scene of baby Groot dancing, and yes it’s the cutest thing ever, but it drags on way too long. The whole scene was almost Deadpool levels of self aware, it was basically a baby Groot toy commercial. This is all still enjoyable to watch but I wish the opening could have been a bit more exciting, get that blood pumping. Lots of scenes drag on like that and jokes are thrown and every direction and some land right on target and some crash out the window. Sequels are hard to do, especially for one of the most loved films in recent years. However it does something really well, character development.
Guardians is a very character driven movie. We get more background on our cast and all of it makes us like and care about them even more. We get the introduction of Star Lords father Ego, played by Kurt Russell, and we learn the relationship with him and his mother. We get some insight of the relationship of Gamora and Nebula. Part of the film is a buddy team up with Yandu and Rocket, and without giving too many details away it gives redemption for them. And all of this is genuinely great and they all have a great pay off.
At the end of the day Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 is a really fun movie with some great characters and amazing cinematography (seriously every shot was like a beautiful cosmic Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko painting) but I think it’s trying too hard to please everyone and it’s evident from the opening Baby Groot dance, it’s James Gunn and Marvel Studios saying “Hey they loved dancing Groot in the first one, let’s do that again.” “Hey Marvel movies are known for our jokes and Guardians was the jokiest one yet, let’s throw them in every scene regardless if it disrupts the flow or an emotional beat.” Like I said at the start of my review I loved the first Guardians movie so much I saw it 4 times in theaters, and I like this Guardians movie and after watching this it makes me appreciate the first even more…but I don’t think I’ll be going back to the theaters to rewatch it again.