Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit theaters last night with sneak preview screenings playing all over the United States. That means plenty of people have seen the Marvel Studios sequel, and plenty more will be flocking to theaters this weekend to contribute to the undoubtedly massive box office haul.

Now that the cosmic sequel is finally in theaters, it’s time to ask that all important question: What did you think? Since the original Guardians of the Galaxy became quite the beloved departure from the usual Marvel Studios superhero flick, the sequel has been one of the most anticipated movies in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So does it deliver? Find out what yours truly thinks below, but beware of major spoilers from here on out.

There’s so much to love about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but for all the success it achieves as a worthy sequel, some of the early reviews were correct when they said that it’s not quite as good as the first, and I think the same can be said for the film’s soundtrack as well. That’s not to say that the sequel (and the new soundtrack) isn’t good, but merely just shy of offering the same greatness that the first movie delivered.

First, let’s talk about just how stunning the visual effects are in the opening scene featuring a young Kurt Russell taking a Midwestern cruise through Missouri in 1980 with Peter Quill’s mother, Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock). If you thought the visual effects employed to create a young Michael Douglas in Ant-Man or a young Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War were impressive, the recreation of a young Kurt Russell blows them out of the water. If I had seen this footage out of context, I would have wondered what old Kurt Russell movie this was. It’s that stunning.

Then we finally get back to our heroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy, in a sequence that is undoubtedly one of the best opening credits scenes ever, and perhaps even better than the original opening credits with Star-Lord lip syncing and dancing to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.” While the rest of the team fights off a cosmic monster trying to eat expensive batteries from The Sovereign, Baby Groot dances all around to the tune of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” His dance moves are the cutest thing, and he’s pretty much oblivious to all of the monster-fighting action happening around him, at least until he inadvertently gets caught up in the middle of it. If there was any skepticism of how Baby Groot would work, this scene erases that completely, and the rest of the movie assures us that James Gunn knows exactly what he’s doing with this character.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

Personally, the rest of the musical moments in the movie don’t measure up to the greatness of this one. Furthermore, the rest of the soundtrack doesn’t offer as many memorable moments. James Gunn has said that he likes softer, ballad-like pop tunes from the 1970s, which is why we don’t get something like Led Zeppelin driving an action sequence or a slow-motion walk through the Ravagers ship after Yondu has just used his trusty whistle-controlled arrow to kill nearly everyone on board. Don’t get me wrong, the songs on this soundtrack are great, but I’m just not sure they always work in enhancing the visuals we’re seeing on screen.

What does work magnificently is the emotional core of the movie as it digs much deeper into each of the characters. Michael Rooker is the standout as Yondu, who easily gets the best arc in the movie and steals the sequel in the same way that John C. Reilly stole Kong: Skull Island (though the way Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 handles its ensemble as a whole is much more praiseworthy than that of the monster movie from March). The way the character evolves and what he becomes in the grand scheme of the story is not only great character development, but it’s just plain touching. That line where he says, “That guy may have been your father, but he ain’t your daddy,” really tugged at my heartstrings. It’s a shame that it looks like Yondu is truly gone, but since this is a comic book movie, and some shots have shown Michael Rooker on the set of Avengers: Infinity War, I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

Yondu’s evolution as a character ties closely with Rocket Raccoon as well, another character whose arc is quite moving as he starts to realize that his new friends aren’t going to abandon him. Rocket has become even more of a jerk in the sequel as a defense mechanism to push his makeshift family away so it won’t hurt as much when they leave him, something he thinks is inevitable. That moment where he stops Gamora from going to save Peter as Ego’s planet is collapsing speaks volumes as he says ,”I can’t lose more than one friend today.”

Equally as significant of a relationship is the dysfunctional one that exists between sisters Gamora and Nebula. While the latter is still hellbent on killing her sister, we learn that her motivation isn’t just because she’s written as a villain. It’s because she has some deep-seeded resentment for her sister by making the torture that Thanos put her through even worse. The hate between them slowly turning to love is one of the most authentic family dynamics on display in the movie, perhaps in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The one relationship that doesn’t quite feel as deep as it should in order to stick the landing in the end is that of Peter Quill and his Celestial father Ego. Though Ego and Peter get along very well, even playing a cosmic game of catch, I don’t think the emotional bond between them ever reaches the same level as it does between the other characters in the movie. It’s not that it doesn’t hold weight, but it just doesn’t hold as much weight as it should. Though it’s shocking and hard-hitting when Ego takes responsibility for giving Peter’s mother the tumor that killed her, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact as the dynamic between Yondu and Rocket or Gamora and Nebula.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 trailer breakdown

Another part of the Peter Quill and Ego dynamic that doesn’t always work is the final action sequence that features them fighting each other. At times, it ventures into the same territory of The Matrix Revolutions with two super-powered beings just flying around and smashing each other like video game characters, albeit with much better graphics. Despite the dynamic that exists between Peter and Ego, this fight just doesn’t feel as consequential a sit should with the exception of the immediate danger everyone is in throughout. Ego is undoubtedly an improvement on Marvel’s usual villain shortcomings, but still not quite as good as a character like that needs to be. The betrayal hurts, but it’s still missing the twist of the knife to leave a scar.

Despite this shortcoming, there is plenty to love about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. There were so many great moments left unspoiled, and this is easily the funniest Marvel movie to date, even funnier than the first movie. The jokes don’t always land, specifically a couple moments involving The Ravagers get a little too silly, but there are so many of them that there’s something else to laugh at by the time you done being disappointed with the previous joke that didn’t work.

Finally, the promise of what is coming in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and in Marvel movies beyond comes from the five credits sequences. We’ll dive in-depth with those very soon, but easily the most promising scene involves Sylvester Stallone as Stakar talking with the rest of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, a whole new roster of characters who could easily get their own movie in whatever the next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be after Avengers: Infinity War.

Personally, I can’t wait to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 again, but now it’s your turn. What did you think of the sequel? Is it as good as or better than the first? What didn’t you like? How do you feel about the new members of the team?

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

About the Author