A MARVELLOUS CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

Let’s get one thing clear. I’m a pretty big fan of what Marvel Studios has built with its cinematic universe. I love almost all of their movies…but I love Guardians of the Galaxy the most. James Gunn managed to pull off a miracle with that film, managing the perfect balance between humour, drama and action to introduce us to an out there team of lovable rogues that very few people had ever heard of three years ago. It was a huge success and none of us could wait for a second round…but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is not its predecessor. It’s a different kind of film.

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THE A-HOLES OF THE GALAXY

Man, how did we come to love these characters so quickly? It’s been two frickin’ films. Yet I think that says a lot about Gunn’s strengths as a writer and about the calibre of the Guardians cast. Vol. 2 dials the characters up to eleven percent and truly excels whenever it shines a spotlight on old and new a-holes alike. It does so at the expense of action mostly, a daring choice for a Marvel film, and one that doesn’t always work. The plot isn’t as tight as the first Guardians; it preambles a bit as it tries to get going and find its footing. The result is a strange film that comes across as having two acts rather than three and doesn’t seem to mind either. Once it does get going though, it really gets going and the last half of the movie is raucous fun. Again it’s largely thanks to all the character work laid in the first half, particularly in the case of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord and his father, Ego, played by Kurt Russell. The dynamic between these two is at the heart of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The other guardians all have their own moments too, and Drax in particular is absolutely hilarious in this film. Rocket has a fair share of jokes too but what is perhaps most surprising is how little screen time is given to Baby Groot, who was clearly the star of the marketing. It works better this way and Groot has two of the most memorable moments in the film. Unfortunately not all the jokes work and sometimes they feel out of place, especially when they interrupt a moment of pure drama and emotion. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is hilarious, make no mistake, but it doesn’t weave its humour into the drama quite as seamlessly as the first one did.

HOOKED ON A FEELING

So where does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 get it oh so right? Well I challenge anyone to argue with me that this isn’t the most visually stunning film in the MCU. Vol. 2 is a beautiful movie, period. The detail that has gone into the makeup and costume design is flawless and really brings this galaxy to life. The other Marvel films almost look drab by comparison. In an age of dark colour palettes in blockbusters, it’s refreshing to see some colour and it suits the Guardians films with their witty humour and fun soundtracks. Speaking of soundtracks, the track list for Vol. 2 is every bit as retro-liciously contagious as the first film’s. You’ll be humming the tunes for days. It’s what made the first one such a sensation and it’ll do so again. But I don’t want to give any tracks away here.

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AWESOME MIX OR MIXED MIX?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t the instant classic that its predecessor was. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good film. For one thing, we get to visit this world again and spend a little more time with Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot. It’s flawed but it is full of heart and it’s a blast of a movie. If you love the first one, I think you’ll find something to like here too.4

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