Josh and Violet share their spoiler-free male vs. female perspective reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, written and directed by James Gunn, and featuring a star-studded cast (no pun intended)!
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Violet’s Movie Review of
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
The Guardians of the Galaxy are back for a new adventure in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! James Gunn returns to write and direct this sequel to the 2014 film that surprised and wowed audiences with its crew of unlikely space heroes. It’s easy to see how much the original film won the hearts of viewers, considering that it debuted with $94 million domestically, while Vol. 2 earned $146.5 million in its opening weekend. Not bad for a franchise that was virtually unknown before 3 years ago. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, and Karen Gillan reprise their roles as Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Yondu, and Nebula, respectively, with Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel also returning to lend their voice talents as Rocket and Groot. Additionally, Vol. 2 welcomes a couple of big names – Kurt Russell, who plays Star-Lord’s long lost father, Ego, and Sylvester Stallone, who makes a cameo as a Ravager.
I enjoyed the first Guardians of the Galaxy immensely (you can read our Guardians of the Galaxy review here), so I was excited when a sequel was announced at San Diego Comic-Con 2014. I was also lucky enough to be in the room for the Marvel Studios panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, where we got to see a fair amount of footage for Vol. 2, including the first footage seen of Baby Groot in action – which I’ll confess, pretty much brought me to tears due to his cuteness. After re-watching the original film a couple of times since then, I’ve come to appreciate it more and more. Naturally, this led to high expectations for the sequel – which, unfortunately, is never a good thing, because when you have high expectations, it makes it hard to live up to them.
But I have to admit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did a pretty darn good job living up to those high expectations. Was it as good as the original? No, but it was definitely a solid follow-up.
In Vol. 2, we got a new and entirely different story. While in the first movie, we saw how this ragtag crew got together and decided to work together to save the galaxy, in this second installment, we see why they stayed together, as well as get background information not only about the origins of Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, in regards to his father, but also about the families of other crew members. We also get to see different sides to certain characters that we didn’t get a chance to see in the first film, which might change viewers’ opinions on those characters and particular relationships.
Like its predecessor, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 looks amazing. The CGI, the effects, everything was gorgeous, and beautiful to look at. These high quality visuals made the action scenes a fun spectacle to become immersed in, especially when watching in 3D IMAX.
In addition to the action and adventure, Vol. 2 contains a good amount of humor. There were so many times I laughed out loud! But there were also times when I felt it was trying just a little too hard to be funny. A couple times, I felt like it was getting a bit too silly, to the point of screwball, which is going just a step too far. I hope it takes a step back from that for the third volume.
But it’s not all just fun and games. Remember in the first Guardians, how the opening scene packed an unexpectedly emotional punch? Well, Vol. 2 also has a very emotional scene that kind of creeps up unexpectedly, so have those tissues ready.
One small complaint I have is the use of Baby Groot. Yes, he’s adorably, eye-wateringly cute, and I enjoyed him as much as the next person. However, it felt like the film used this knowledge of the effect that Baby Groot would have on the audience, and sort of exploited him. I felt like he stole the show a little too much. But at the same time, I kind of loved it. So I don’t know how to reconcile that! Kind of like, “I see what they’re doing, but I enjoy it anyway.”
An aspect of the film that I was relying on to come through for me, but didn’t, was the music. The music was so good and such an integral part of the first film that I fully expected the same to be true of Vol. 2. So much so, to the point that when the track listing for the Vol. 2 soundtrack was released, I purposely avoided it because I wanted to be surprised by the various uses of the songs so that it would be that much better of a first-time experience. However, it turned out that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because I wasn’t familiar with most of the songs, and didn’t feel like the music was as much of an essential part of Vol. 2 as it was in the first Guardians. This was the part of Vol. 2 that I was most disappointed in. Of course, this was just a small aspect of the film, and not enough to ruin the movie.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a great follow-up to the original, with lots of laughs, great looking effects, and touching moments that bring us closer to the characters, making us love them even more. I’m definitely looking forward to a Vol. 3!
My rating: 8.25/10
Josh’s Movie Review of
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all” will probably be be a meme going forward, and is one of the most memorable lines from the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which released May 5th. Unfortunately, real world constraints made this review a little late; but I had to follow up with thoughts on Marvel Studios’ latest movie release.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is once again directed by James Gunn, and picks up some time after the events of the first movie. Without giving too many spoilers, we see that the team has remained in intact, and is working as a sort of mercenary type force.
As the trailers have already shown, Star-Lord (played by Chris Pratt) winds up running into his father in the film, and ends up on a journey with him, while other characters deal with their own situations—Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (played by Karen Gillan) deal with sister issues, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) deals with being the cute baby, Yondu (played by Michael Rooker) deals with his own inner and outer demons, and Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) deals with being awesome and keeping on eye on baby Groot.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has a strange storyline, which at first is very disjointing. Certainly, characters go on their own journeys in the movie, and do not see the rest of their team for the majority of the film. On the surface it feels a little disappointing—the reason the first film worked so well was because this rag-tag group was forced together, and despite their own personal issues, the dynamic worked out well both for the team and for the audience watching them perform. In this movie, the teams are much smaller, so certain character interactions feel missing.
Having said that, we do get some more emotional depth to certain characters. Obviously, Star-Lord is going to have some meaningful interactions with his father, which are done pretty well in the film. Yondu and a few other characters also have their moments in the film, which again, trying to avoid spoilers, make the film have some more serious moments than the first one did.
One aspect of the film I had trouble with was some of the comedic timing. There were times where I felt like I was supposed to laugh, but I just didn’t really find the joke that funny. One specific instance is the scene where Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon are arguing over piloting the ship. It seemed like a possible comedic moment, but also possibly like it should be a serious moment, and it just fell somewhere in the middle, where I didn’t really know how to feel.
During much of the movie though, James Gunn was spot on with the humor parts. There is a scene where baby Groot is supposed to retrieve an item, and the hilarity that ensues following that had me practically crying with laughter, and made the entire movie for me. Also, the scene in the trailers where Rocket is explaining how to operate a boom to Baby Groot is made even better in the movie. So, while I complained some above about the comedic timing, there is still plenty of hilarity to go around.
But a little back to the negatives–there are times where I feel like the action was too over the top. This is probably a nit-pick, that probably will not bother most movie-goers, but it really bothers me when I see unbelievable action sequences, that just in no way seem possible. It can really take me out of the movie. I am willing to be pretty lenient with this, but there are scenes in the movie where people are holding on as a spacecraft is going full speed through a planet’s atmosphere, where I am fairly certain the person would instantly lose their grip. Sure, many of these people have enhanced strength, but THAT much? It is really difficult to believe.
Back to the bright side, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a lot of fun, and it certainly should be seen by everyone who enjoyed the first one. Our newest favorite MCU characters are a lot of fun, and the new introductions in this movie such as Mantis make great additions to the cast. It is not quite as good as the original, but it sure gets close. I initially walked out of the film pretty disappointed, but after thinking about the movie for a few days, I actually realized that there was a lot more to appreciate than I originally thought.
Overall, I think I would give the film a 7.5 out of 10. Again, it is not as good as the original, and there are some parts that fell flat for me, but there is still a lot to love about these characters and I am certainly looking forward to the third movie.