Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe which follows the adventures of Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot. The film is a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy and is, for the time being, separate from the rest of the MCU. The end credits scenes, which there are 5 of by the way, are fun and do somewhat tease what's to come in the future. Basically, if you read the comics, you'll be happy clapping and girly squealing. If you have no knowledge of anything comic-related and just enjoy watching the films, then the end credits won't do much for you, however I do recommend sticking around just for Stan Lee's fun scene at the end.
Now, for a film that does a lot wrong, it also does a lot right. There were a few moments when I cheered or shed a tear or laughed but there were also moments where I found myself thinking, "What's the goal here again?" It reminded me in a way of how I felt when I saw Iron Man 3. The advertisements did a great job of hyping up both films but they were ultimately unsatisfying.
The film opens with a flashback which introduces Kurt Russell's character and his love affair with Peter Quill's mom. It's an introduction that could have been moved to a later scene but it still worked. We move on to present day with the Guardians preparing to battle an Abilisk, which is basically a huge space squid if we're being completely honest. The battle itself was fantastic and by far one of the best scenes in the movie. The leadup to the fight, however is a different story. The lead up scene, or as I call it the 'Mr. Blue Sky' scene was said by director James Gunn to be the best scene he had ever filmed. Sounds exciting, right? Anytime a director says a film contains the best scene he's ever filmed gets you pretty hyped up, doesn't it? Let's just say I was left underwhelmed. It was funny and cute, but far from the best.
The film continues on with the introduction of Ayesha, who is an antagonist but not the main one like the trailers suggest. There's actually three antagonists in this film: one who will remain unnamed, Ayesha, and Taserface. We don't really get to see much of Taserface, which is a blessing because he was pretty pointless. Ayesha, however, was fantastically diabolical and I'm rather excited to see if she turns up in the future. I do hope so because she certainly holds a ton of potential to becoming a major force of opposition to the Guardians.
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Rocket couldn't help himself from stealing batteries from Ayesha, which didn't turn out well for our heroes. They're shot down and that's where they meet none other than present day Ego, who introduces himself as Starlord's dad. Of course he's a bit skeptical because he never knew his dad, but eventually trusts him and allows Ego to take them all to his planet. The rest I can't reveal because that would be major spoilage but be prepared for a huge gasp moment regarding Ego.
Rocket and Groot were essentially the best parts of the movie. They did repeat a lot of the jokes that made the first film so funny, but you have to remember that Groot was blown up at the end of the last film and this is a new, still growing Groot that has to relearn everything. Taking that into consideration, I didn't mind his and Rocket's fun moments. I swear I could watch those two in a solo film. They're awesome.
We were introduced to new character Mantis who was basically adopted by Ego. I wanted to love Mantis, I really did, but she came off even more annoying than Drax which I honestly didn't think was possible. Drax, if you remember, is completely literal. He doesn't understand metaphors or sarcasm, but he's getting better. Mantis was basically a female Drax and was unfamiliar with jokes or sarcasm. She is an empath, meaning when she touches someone she can feel their feeling and sometimes even manipulate those feelings. She could have been written so much better, so that was a major missed opportunity. Starlord should have been the star of the film but he did not shine as bright as he did in the first. He was more on the blah side and that was sad to see. Chris Pratt is an amazingly funny guy and to see him acting like he's new to film did not work well. Gamora had a ton of improvement which I was grateful for. She had the opposite effect that Starlord had. In the first, he was outgoing and she was stiff and in this one she was outgoing and he was stiff. Find a middle ground, guys! Gamora's sister Nebula, on the other hand, was seriously lacking any development or any personality for that matter. Plus there's one scene where she just shows up out of nowhere with no explanation as to how.
The soundtrack was a huge issue with the film. The songs are all great, but the placement of the songs was all wrong. When you're supposed to be having a serious moment and a song is placed improperly that makes that moment comedic then that kills the seriousness. There are a couple moments when the songs are perfect, such as the Southern Nights scene. That was well-made, hilarious, and one of Rocket's finest moments.
The greatest thing about the film is the special effects. The planets, space battles, and sets were all astounding. It was obvious that the bulk of the work went into making the film visually appealing and eye-popping, especially for the 3D viewers. The next best thing was the emotional moments. I would have preferred there be more considering the nature of the plot but the ones we were given were top notch...well, except for one but I can't say what it was without revealing a massive spoiler.
Overall, my high hopes for the film diminished quickly and I found myself very disappointed in the final product. The biggest flaw was the fact that it was overstuffed with jokes. The first film was perfect and the humor felt natural. This film made the humor seemed forced and that took away from the film as a whole. I give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 a 2.5 out of 4.
© 2017 Nathan Jasper