I’ve always thought of Guardians of the Galaxy as the Frozen of the MCU. A fun ride, great characters to kill a couple of hours with, certainly pleasing to the eye, and a great but overplayed soundtrack. But take more than a minute to think about it and it begins to fall apart.
It’s the kind of movie that gets you on a high and has audience making broad, senseless statements like “Best Superhero Movie!” or “Better than the Avengers!” because, apparently, a movie that relies almost entirely on the charm of Chris Pratt, an amazing soundtrack, the laugh factor of a raccoon and a tree acting like Abbott and Costello, and an ex-WWE champ stealing the show is enough to beat the irreverence of likes of Superman, Batman, Blade 2, X-Men 2, Spider-Man 2, Iron Man, and The Avengers. /eyeroll
Of course, this isn’t to say that the original Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t a good movie. It just wasn’t as good as the audience seemed to think it was. And Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 fares no better, if not worse.
Pretty much picking up shortly after where things were left off in the sense of character development, GotG Vol. 2 quickly runs through the gamut of mandatory sequel updates that James Gunn uses as a Baby Groot feature—not a bad thing if you’re a fan of unnecessary cuteness—while also running through the opening credits. If anything, it’s here that you immediately feel that the movie’s gonna try its best to be like the first one… but it just wasn’t gonna succeed.
Although the actors capably continue living up to their roles (I’m glad the “Vin Diesel is Groot!” hype is dead ‘cause he really doesn’t have much to do here), the inclusion of multiple new factors kinda leave you questioning the necessity of some plot points.
While the first Guardians of the Galaxy was the result of a (un)fortuitous snowballing of events, this time it feels like things were being done for the sake of it.
Ayesha (a.k.a. Her/Kismet) and her entire race of people are introduced early on and are unfortunately kept as an unnecessary plot device that is honestly not needed after the first 20 minutes. While most of the movie’s sequence of events are put in motion by her, it mostly comes across as lazy and as if the characters involved in her plans are otherwise completely devoid of any motivation of their own.
This further makes the final act of the movie far messier than it should be, adding an element wholly unrequired, and (mild kinda spoiler) reduces the impact of the one post-credit scene involving Ayesha.
A big part of this Guardians movie is the theme of family. As the trailers have revealed, we finally meet Star-Lord’s dad and learn more of his heritage, and Gamora has to continue dealing with her sister Nebula. While the mystery surrounding Star-Lord’s family doesn’t disappoint, it is Gamora’s and Nebula’s relationship that steal most of the emotional resonance.
A sub-plot involving the Ravagers proves to be interesting and fun enough to merit its own movie, but really stands out thanks to a certain guest star who, with the help of yet another post-credit scene (there are FIVE, people!) leaves you wanting a spin-off of their own.
Sadly, the biggest problem with the movie is humour. Or rather, the excessive use of it. Driving straight to the point of almost being a parody, there are moments where this sequel feels most like a Mel Brooks-esque, “what if Space Balls were to take a stab at superheroes, too.”
I don’t generally have a problem with humour in superhero movies (or any movie). After all, a lack of humour is possibly the DCEU’s second biggest problem (the first being lacking a literate writer). Unfortunately, Guardians of the Galaxy comes close to abusing it. By which I mean there are points where I actually wish some of the characters would shut up.
This is especially troubling given the less-than-impressive Doctor Strange and the seemingly borderline comedic tone of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. After all, of all the problems that the first two Thor movies possessed, a lack of humour wasn’t one of them.
Nevertheless, the next time we see the Guardians it would be under the much bleaker situation of facing Thanos, so maybe Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be the last time they have much reason to joke around, and their following sequel will be amidst Phase 4 of the MCU which Kevin Feige has stated would be a very different Marvel.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes out on the 27th of April!