Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review
In 2014, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY entered the Marvel universe with a blast of energy. The ragtag team of a new sort of superhero shook up the film genre in a most delightful way. The MCU seems to have more fun than DC and the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY franchise is the poster child. Combining music and humor, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is another hilarious space opera that is dripping with personality.
Unlike its predecessor, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (which I will now refer to as GOTGV2) doesn’t have the benefit of being the fresh new kid on the block (although the film does give us Baby Groot). Nor does the soundtrack have the benefit of packing the same musical punch from all the familiar number one hits. But the film does have the same joyous tone utilizing another fun albeit less impactful musical track worth owning that includes: Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra, Fox On The Run by The Sweet, and Surrender by Cheap Trick.
While the music is an important supporting character, the main cast of characters are the true stars. Chris Pratt leads the renegade team as the arrogant yet playful Peter Quill / Star-Lord. Zoe Saldana is the level-headed mediator Gamora who denies the ‘unspoken thing’ between Quill and herself. Dave Bautista is the muscle bound dimwit and extremely literal Drax. Bradley Cooper in perhaps one of the greatest voice performances in film history is the scrappy, stubborn, chip on his shoulder, science experiment of a racoon, Rocket. And of course, in all his absurdly adorableness, there is the fighting, dancing, child-like sweetness, Baby Groot rounding out our misfit heroes.
Discovering his true heritage, Quill meets his father Ego (Kurt Russell), a name that is a bit on the nose for his character, who has some secrets of his own to share. Quill’s rocky paternal relationship with Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Gamora’s relationship with her sister Nebula (Karen Killan) carry over from the first film. Those storylines along with an outlaw mutiny are all humorous, action-filled and sometimes tender plot points that all come together so the Guardians of the Galaxy ultimately have to once again… guard the galaxy.
Clearly, the plot isn’t anything earth shattering. Sentimental moments are often played up big rather than using subtlety, but that’s part of the charm in GOTGV2. Baby Groot specifically is used completely like a cute gimmick or phrase that animated movies might apply to attract children. Except writer/director James Gunn found the recipe to hook adults and exploits it every chance he gets. It works and I ate up every cuddly branch-filled moment that lovable baby tree was on screen. “I am Groot.” HE’S SO ADORABLE!
Personality goes a long way and GOTGV2 is loaded with it. Energizing the screen with spirited vigor, the dynamic of the film works best when all the characters are together having fun. Where I might criticize another film for the fairly conventional storyline with far too many CGI effects through ongoing, over-stuffed action sequences, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 owns it and masks any shortcomings with heart, character, and a barrage of humor.