From the moment I set my eyes upon the first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, there was never a shadow of doubt in me that it would be another great entry into the MCU, and more importantly the Guardians series. My immense faith in the sequel based on the trailer alone isn’t let down at all as this lovable superhero ensemble team blasting away aliens in a space opera setting is the most fun I had in a movie this year. Everything feels so ‘Guardian’, which is quite ironical since it is as if I have known them as cinematic characters for as long as the Fast and Furious franchise.
Following the victory over Ronan the Accuser in the first movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures to salvage the fate of the galaxy that is threatened by Thanos. Along the way of wreaking havoc and killing giant inter-dimensional monsters, they uncover the secrets of Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord’s true line of parentage.
Guardians 2 opens up with the team battling the giant octopus-like monster on the extra-terrestrial platform as seen in the trailers. How this sequence plays out perfectly sums up what this movie is all about – pure fun and absurdity. While the Guardians are frantically trying their best to murder the obese monstrosity in the background, the camera is focused on Baby Groot in the centre. A 2-3 minute montage of Baby Groot doing what Baby Groot does best – listening to 80s music and prancing around being useless then ensues. This is epitomized by Baby Groot playfully waving his twig hands to Gamora in the middle of her fight, with the mean green bitch (sarcasm intended) turning to face him, merely responding with a cold, resolute ‘hi’. How abhorrent, no one does that to Baby Groot!
With the film riding so much on comedic delivery, light-heartedness and the laidback nature of our heroes, Guardians 2 surprisingly carries a pretty heavy emotional punch. Unlike the first film which saw the Guardians gathering together to form a frivolous like-minded team, the sequel instead makes a practical shift to have a narrative emphasis on family. It focuses on various issues like building them up from a bickering team, mending broken relationships and understanding themselves in the actions they carry out. That is where the film finds its heart and soul altogether and it is beautiful to see the most unlikeliest of characters help the Guardians out to save the galaxy, which is a roundabout change of motives for themselves as well.
The biggest complain I have about Guardians 2 is its overwrought script which buys too much into the often quarrelling dialogue of Star-Lord and Rocket. Some parts of the story which had small revelations also felt a bit too conveniently placed, at most times not explaining what exactly happened which led to that revelation. It tries its best to talk out the conviction behind the characters, their motivations and finally the resolution – sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and you can see right through the laziness of the writing.
Given the dazzling explosiveness of colours on screen and the fact that Guardians 2 was shot using the world’s first 8k camera system, this begs the question of whether it is worth watching in IMAX 3D. While there are some scenes which has cinematography which really pop on IMAX settings – particularly those which involve big psychedelic fireworks and cross-planetary space battles, I don’t feel like it is necessary to dig deeper into those pockets for an IMAX experience for this one. Furthermore, only some scenes were shot using the 8k camera. Stick to the traditional 35mm.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has a story which is lacking in the sense that it wasn’t very clear what arc it was taking the audience to. The film has the plots of Ayesha and Ego to deal with, so that made the first act and a half fuzzy. It also takes the colourful and hysterical nature in the first movie up a notch. So what felt fresh and funny back then can feel somewhat forced now when you watch it. Overdoing it as one might say. But looking back, all the elements which made the original such a blast overshadowed the negatives and I’m certain that a wide grin would be plastered over your face for more than half of the show. So overall, great film, lovable characters and highly entertaining.
*The five (yes five) post credit scenes are entertaining and all but there is nothing worth cheering about to be quite honest. Maybe a small titbit featuring Ayesha for the sequel and that’s about it. It isn’t worth staying back unless you love easter eggs.*
Should you spend money on it? Yes, watch it twice
Directed by: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn
Based on: Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Starring: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn
Running time: 136 minutes
Genre: Science fiction/Action