Picking up from where Vol. 1 left off, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the adventures of Peter Quill and his fellow guardians are now hired by an alien race called the ‘Sovereign’ or as I like to call the gold people. After stealing a valuable artifact from this race, the guardians are forced to go into hiding during which they learn more about Peter Quill’s lineage.
The Gold People
As a whole, I would say this movie has a whole lot of positives but a whole lot of negatives as well. It is by no means superior to the first guardians and I would even go as far as to say that this film is in the lower echelon of the MCU, however I did have fun while watching this movie. For one, this film does a brilliant job of developing the characters we see in the first movie. Story arks are given to characters such as Peter, Egor, Rocket and even Yondu. By the end of the film, I felt more invested in these characters and got to know a lot more about their background and their motivations. By this extension, I am excited to see these characters in the future due to them being fleshed out so well in this installation.
The set design of this film was also very well executed. I would say that this is the prettiest looking film in the MCU after Doctor Strange. It is also far superior to the first guardians in terms of costume design and world-building. Also a special shout out to the team behind designing the planet of ‘Egor’, which is by far the prettiest thing I have seen in a while. Baby Groot is also adorable. Period. This character is an easy laugh and will gain the ‘awwwwhs’ of millions of sympathetic audience members the world over. From a marketing standpoint, the decision to include this character is brilliant because a toy of this character is appealing to both adults and toddlers.
Baby Groot on a couch. My life is finally complete.
Hopefully this image of baby groot was eye candy to your eyes because I now must move on to the negatives of this film. For starters, literally every character is a quip machine. This is not necessarily a bad thing if the quips land. Sadly, they only land about 50% of the time. Even in the most heartfelt moment of this movie, you can expect quips and this I believe draws attention away from the primary focus of the scene. Another significant flaw in this movie is its storyline. I believe this movie was telling two separate stories, which did not blend together as well as I hoped. The first storyline pertains to the ‘hit and run’ adventure the guardians are undergoing after stealing an artifact from the gold people. The second storyline pertains to Peter discovering and learning more about his father Egor and his lineage. There is very little overlap between these two story lines and as a result, similar to the faults of the suicide squad, I felt like I was watching two different films.
Lets also discuss the idea of ‘spectacle’ in movies for a minute. In Hollywood it is largely believed that sequels to successful films should always strive to be bigger and better. Bigger celebrities, bigger set pieces, bigger action sequences etc. However, I do not always agree with this viewpoint. Yes, sequels should always attempt to improve on the original, but this can be done through substance i.e. the storyline and not always style. GOTG vol. 2 promises larger stakes and spectacles, which it does deliver on however we have seen this sort of scenario being played out before i.e. lets amplify the stakes of this film by putting the whole universe on the line this time. BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. The reality is that the universe will be saved in the end.
As a whole, GOTG Vol. 2 is not a bad movie at all. It promises larger spectacle which it partially delivers on through character development, set design and the adorableness of baby groot, however this film faults by unnecessarily amplifying its stakes and over delivering on quips that do not always land.
Side Note: Don’t wait up for the post-credits scene. There was really nothing special.