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[Movie Review] Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Plot Summary: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.

Director: James Gunn

Writer: James Gunn

Runtime: 2hr 16min

Main Cast:
  • Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
  • Zoe Saldana as Gamora
  • Dave Bautista as Drax
  • Vin Diesel as Baby Groot (voice)
  • Bradley Cooper as Rocket (voice)
  • Michael Rooker as Yondu
  • Karen Gillan as Nebula
  • Pom Klementieff as Mantis
  • Kurt Russell as Ego

Review: by Mia

True to Marvel Studios' film reputation, we received an update on their anti-hero band of superheroes: Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG). In this second volume to the film that released in 2014, the Guardians of the Galaxy face yet another threat that could destroy the galaxy (or universe?) as we know it. For me, I have never been a dedicated follower of the Marvel Universe. Most of my comic knowledge comes from internet forums and the animated universes. Even then, I tend to retain more information about DC than Marvel. The film success of Marvel Studios is really changing the level of knowledge (and interest) that I have in their world building. That being said, most of my reviews of Marvel Films won't really address whether the films build upon the canon which inspired these films. I enjoyed the first GOTG as a science fiction fan. This film fits right into the genre which brought us great wild west themed series such as Star Trek, Firefly, Andromeda, KillJoy, and Farscape just to name a few. We get to see worlds built beside one another and how these worlds take small areas of our own society to an entirely different level as they are exhibited in different worlds, technologies, and backgrounds. At the same time, this film remains true to its Marvel roots by providing great action and hero challenges. In the first GOTG, we are introduced to a diverse bunch of criminals who find themselves responsible for the fate of their galaxy. In this follow up to that film, we get to see where this newly formed team takes their hero-for-hire galaxy business.

I anticipated a growth in the characters this film. We’ve seen enough sequels from Marvel to know that as characters return, we get more and more of the internal battle that defines who they are as a hero. In this film, the debate was only on who we’d end up focusing on most and whether the other characters would end up lost within that internal conflict. Unlike most other Avengers films, GOTG doesn’t give individual films that let us see each character one at a time before thrusting us into the action packed heroes vs end of the world stage. GOTG has to do it all at the same time. Films like Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman (sorry DC) have proven that it is very easy to lose sight of a good plot by trying to tie too many things together in one movie. Marvel bears the burden of outdoing not only a pretty bland series of DC films and promotion coming out as they develop their sequels, but also outdoing their own previous films. It was hard to picture how they would manage to make GOTG stand out beside the Avengers, especially after shifting most of our anticipation to the upcoming Spiderman reboot. I avoided the trailer for this film and I am glad that I did. Reading up on the reactions to the early premieres built enough interest in what I would get to see without giving away too much of the action.
GOTG, Volume 2 continues with the team still struggling to remain a respectable unit who get hired for respectable jobs. Instead of returning to a life of crime, they have become a mercenary group who love danger and love to improvise against outrageous opponents. When we re-join their story, they’ve just managed to get themselves into a world of trouble (literally an entire world is after them) when they run into an unexpected character from the past. As they investigate their connections to this mystery character, they must also figure out how to survive the targets perpetually on their backs on top of still trying to smooth out the emotions within their team. Peter Quill (Starlord) and Gamora are still in this limbo of sexual tension, Drax is even more hilarious as he grows less volatile and more relaxed in his role in the group, Rocket is up to no good, while they all band together to parent an unreasonably adorable Baby Groot. As the team struggles with all of the demands of survival and combat, they once again find themselves up against a force that they must either defeat or watch destroy over a thousand planets.

What I Liked:

I don’t want to give away too much of what makes this film interesting, but the story definitely gains more depth and better dialogue. We really get to know the characters more this film and get to build on our attachments to them as we watch them constantly risk their lives for one another. This is a refreshing change after watching the petty and destructive squabbles of their Avenger counterparts. I can’t wait to see how both teams fare on the same screen.
I also love the CGI of this film. It is hard to enjoy most films in 3D, but I found myself in awe of certain effects despite. There’s a scene where little flakes of ash or snow descend softly as the scene progresses these flakes are softly drifting off of the screen. Kudos to whoever thought up that light touch. The world building required in this film also required a lot of special effects. I am happy to say that (as usual), Marvel manages to make this world of make believe look real and intense.
All of the characters are softer in this film, especially Gamora. She takes on more of Zoe Saldana in dialogue and expression this time around while remaining a badass. Drax is a troll and the right kind of troll at that. He pokes fun at all the right moments. The comedy in this film is well-timed and well-executed. Most importantly, no one character seems to outshine the rest. I find myself getting to know everyone better and getting attached to every unit of the team, even minor ones that we didn’t expect to have such major roles in this sequel. Yondu, played by Michael Rooker, gets an honorable promotion in this film that really makes me wish he had gotten to be a recurring hero in the Marvel Universe. Marvel definitely managed to impress me with the fierceness behind the character that is Ego. He epitomizes his name into a powerful villain. Every part of his story lends to the intimidating force that is his ever growing narcissism. Ego is a character that sees the world only in how it is useful to him and how it will satisfy him. He is a very well portrayed manifestation of his namesake.

What I Didn’t Like:

I don’t want to give away too much of what makes this film interesting, but the story definitely gains more depth and better dialogue. We really get to know the characters more this film and get to build on our attachments to them as we watch them constantly risk their lives for one another. This is a refreshing change after watching the petty and destructive squabbles of their Avenger counterparts. I can’t wait to see how both teams fare on the same screen.
I also love the CGI of this film. It is hard to enjoy most films in 3D, but I found myself in awe of certain effects despite. There’s a scene where little flakes of ash or snow descend softly as the scene progresses these flakes are softly drifting off of the screen. Kudos to whomever thought up that light touch. The world building required in this film also required a lot of special effects. I am happy to say that (as usual), Marvel manages to make this world of make believe look real and intense.
All of the characters  is softer in this film, especially Gamora. She takes on more of Zoe Saldana in dialogue and expression this time around while remaining a badass. Drax is a troll and the right kind of troll at that. He pokes fun at all the right moments. The comedy in this film is well-timed and well-executed. Most importantly, no one character seems to outshine the rest. I find myself getting to know everyone better and getting attached to every unit of the team, even minor ones that we didn’t expect to have such major roles in this sequel. Yondu, played by Michael Rooker, gets an honorable promotion in this film that really makes me wish he had gotten to be a recurring hero in the Marvel Universe. Marvel definitely managed to impress me with the fierceness behind the character that is Ego. He epitomizes his name into a powerful villain. Every part of his story lends to the intimidating force that is his ever growing narcissism. Ego is a character that sees the world only in how it is useful to him and how it will satisfy him. He is a very well portrayed manifestation of his namesake.

Images Courtesy of IMDB

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