Julia leans back in her chair and cracks smile, excited to share her thoughts. “Bohemian Rhapsody” starts to play in the background.
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.” [record scratch]
Oh come on, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 can add classic songs in their films to tell their story, but I can’t in my film review? I can take the hint, moving on then. Since this is a review on the film, be aware there will be spoilers. If you want some non-spoiler thoughts, head on over to some of the Squad’s thoughts about the film. Now that we’ve got the disclaimer out of the way, let’s check out what the film’s pros and cons are.
It’s such a fun ride. The entire film is an absolute delight to sit through. The writers created a wonderful blend of humor and action in this film more than the first, and they really dive into what each Guardian contributes to the team. What’s even better is that that the writers really fleshed out the Ravagers. They were given a more structured way of life with their code, while also giving them goofy and likable qualities instead of painting them as boring henchmen.
It’s not just an action flick. Considering that the film is from Disney, it’s no surprise that the film hits all the proper emotional beats. The audience feels an entire spectrum of emotions from the heartwarming introduction to the touching end. The beginning credits sequence was focused on Baby Groot as the rest of the team were battling an inter-dimensional octopus alien. We were given a hefty dose of adorable Groot as the team’s child. And I’m just going to throw it out there that at this rate, if Groot doesn’t learn how to breakdance or something, it’d be such a waste. I’d love to see him explore other dancing styles.
It’s got a bit of romance, but not too much of it. Peter and Gamora do address the elephant in the room, but the film dances around it a bit, since there are obviously more pressing matters at hand. It also definitely hits the nail on the head when the both of them treat Groot in such a parent-like manner, a dynamic that definitely tugged at my heart.
Speaking of heartstrings, the ending where Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill was so gut-wrenching. The whistle-weaponed man pretty much does a haunting combination of a Jack from Titianic and Will Smith in iRobot-type sacrifice that I couldn’t help but well up when the rest of the Ravagers came together to give him a proper send off.
It’s beautiful. Much like the first film, the second is equally stunning. Gorgeous colors, creativity with the aliens and general background design make it so beautiful. From Ego’s planet to his intricate, shape-shifting palace and on to the desert environment Gamora storms off to before Nebula finds her, the environments of Guardians Vol. 2 are truly stunning and make me want to purchase the art book for this film.
There’s such brilliant acting. You can definitely tell that the cast had so much fun filming this sequel. From Dave Bautista’s consistent need to bellow out his hearty ha-ha-ha’s to Bradley Cooper’s desire to create an emotionally sensitive yet protective Rocket, I was absolutely floored with diversity of the characters. Even the new faces of Ego (Kurt Russell), Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) were memorable and wonderfully performed. Ego’s matter-of-fact perspective as a Celestial was so concrete that it seemed like he hadn’t truly considered any other option because he was immortal. Mantis’ pure personality was so precious that it definitely leaves room to see how the Guardians (especially Gamora and Drax) will help shape her as an individual. Ayesha has such a black-and-white way of seeing the world (or galaxy) that it’s bound to be the end of her. The actors have created such strong core characteristics for their characters, making them entirely believable and even relatable.Cons
If you’re into more cohesive storytelling, the film lacks in that particular department. Even though I truly enjoyed the entire two hours and 18 minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the film reads more as a string of related sketches (featuring a number of great jokes) embedded between moments of sentimentality. It’s actually like a comedian’s comedy special: the transitions are vague enough where you could see the connections at the face of things, but in the end, it isn’t quite smooth sailing as a whole. When you really get down to it, the film is about finding the true meaning of family, and at times, your family might not even be your blood relatives — but that message in Guardians Vol. 2 gets a bit muddled, hidden behind a bunch of wisecrack humor (as charming as it is).
Pacing, pacing, pa-cing. To tie into the storytelling gripe, it’s also fair to bring the film’s pacing to the table. Where the first movie was perfectly paced (i.e., properly told the backstory of multiple characters even though the team was very new to the public), the sequel felt like the writers wanted to put in as many jokes as possible. Unfortunately, things got crowded. Jokes didn’t get their proper breathing time before another punchline was hit.
I distinctly remember the final fight when Nebula had saved Gamora was supposed to be this pure shock of a bonding moment that transitioned back into an action sequence when Nebula brushed off her heroic gesture. The crowd had just been delivered a lot of fighting sequences from each team member, but it ended with a humorous punchline. This caused the scene to fall flat, and we weren’t given the proper time to really appreciate Nebula’s change of heart.
Despite its flaws, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of my top three favorite Marvel films. It’s such a fun moviegoing experience that you don’t truly see its faults until reflecting upon the movie after you’ve left the theater. And the five post-credit scenes weren’t exactly all necessary, but they did give a bit of added amusement to the film, kind of like adding a cherry on top of all the entertainment that you’ve gotten out of the story.
What did you Bombers think of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to give the film a rating!