I have conflicting feelings when it comes to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
From one side, it obviously doesn’t feel as fresh and new as the first one. The first Guardians was arguably one of the best comic book movies of all time, by adding the space opera feeling to the MCU and the superhero genre. Everyone thought it was going to be just one crazy ride, but in the end that group became a cult classic.
From the other side, as a whole, this movie is better: it has a better villain, it has better drama, it is funnier, and unlike many blockbusters nowadays. It truly is a choral movie much more than the first one, while obviously still focusing (even though just for a tad more) on Peter Quill.
To make a comparison, it’s like Shrek 2: it is better than the first one, but it lacks the surprise of the original.
And that’s the movie in a nutshell.
It’s funnier: the characters know each other, they don’t have to meet anymore, so they developed more confidentiality between the two movies, amplifying their personalities: Peter is more chill, Drax and Gamora are more aggressive in their respective ways, and obviously Rocket is way meaner. Obviously, Baby Groot is just a baby, but its presence feels both cute and badass.
So luckily this time we drink Coca-cola without learning about its production process. Granted, the Guardians’ ‘production process’ compared to Coca-Cola’s it’s like Disneyland, but you get what I mean.
We get also to meet Ego, Peter’s father, not a spoiler because he was in the trailer. And the prologue of the movie revolves around him. Of course Kurt Russell’s face is rejuvenated by CGI, but you recognize him… Ok, not the younger audience, but if you are at least 17 you might, if you are 20 why you never watched the original The Thing would be the first question I’d ask you.
The presence of Ego brings me to expose the biggest flaw of this movie: character development.
As a friend of mine asked me when I was doing a quick review, how can this be a flaw?
Simple: there’s way too much.
You might expect that for Peter. He met his father for the first time ever in more than 30 years, so of course all the stuff about revelations, Ego’s love for the mother, why he never showed up for all this time… It basically writes itself.
You might expect that for Gamora. She still has to settle her differences with Nebula, her sister, questioning ‘sisterly’ love and if they ever had any despite having a bloodthirst dictator as father.
Sure, for Star lord and Gamora, since also there’s attraction between them (whether that attraction gets the chance to be consumed remains to be seen), makes sense they expand those characters.
However, Yondu and Rocket create a beautiful bond, yet that bond is based on revealing stuff about themselves one thing after the other, in a way that a certain point sounds redundant.
Since Gamora and Nebula deal with each other after those scenes, we feel those moments redundant as well, even though they basically set up something for the bigger picture.
Basically everyone gets their emotional character development in the movie, filled with never dying exposition.
Luckily, differently from other movies, exposition in Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 feels organic, well written and well executed, so I ended up not minding that too much. But I cannot not consider exposition as a factor when I judge the movie, even though allows it to have a really emotional finale.
The comedy as I said before is superior than the original, and it’s far more explicit even when it comes to sexual allegations, while still masked so kids won’t catch them.
We don’t travel as much, although the script in a way justifies that.
The cast performances are really good (for what’s asked from the movie obviously), but I would say the best ones are Dave Bautista and Elizabeth Debicki.
Overall, I think fondly of Guardians of The Galaxy vol. 2, confidently stating that won’t be defined better than the first one only for a ‘lack’ of surprise, like I said before. Even though I would not define it the X2 or the Empire Strikes Back of the saga.