Back in early 2014, not many people gave Guardians of the Galaxy a shot. How was Marvel going to pull off the raunchier, deep space group of misfits after the success of Avengers? It didn’t take long after the release though to find that Marvel had hit another sweet spot with its brilliant cast, writing and essence of lightheartedness throughout the film.
Where do the Guardians go from there, though? How do they intertwine the Guardians with the Avengers for the penultimate fight against Thanos? All these questions surrounded Volume 2 of Guardians. So did it deliver?
My answer: Yes, but not in the way you might expect.
The first important thing to keep in mind is that GOTG2 takes place a measly couple months after the first Guardians… in 2014. This is a big change as almost all Marvel films are taking place in their concurrent year of release (ie Iron Man in 2008, Thor in 2011, Civil War 2016.) So before we start asking the nitty gritty details, we must remember that this film takes place before Thor had the vision of Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet in Age of Ultron.
Guardians 2 builds on the best parts of the original, combining dark and raunchy humor with exquisite space sequences for a thrilling journey with our favorite misfit crew. The group struggles yet again to find common ground keeping the audience intrigued from the opening minute… oh yeah and there’s Groot dancing again… what was I saying again?
Star-Lord is still struggling to figure out just who his Dad is after the realization that he is more than just human, when Rocket decides to steal the items they were defending not 10 minutes later. A fight ensues, causing the rag-tag group to crash onto a planet before being discovered by Star-Lord’s Dad… Kurt Russell, I mean, Ego.
Family is the key message throughout the film, causing audience members to rethink what it means to be considered “family.” Is it being blood related? Or is it the group of people (or raccoons and trees) that you associate with the most? Is the love unconditional? What happens when your “family” is doing something wrong disguised as something good?
The tough part for any sequel is to be better than the original. There aren’t many sequels that can claim to be better than the first one and sadly, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 can’t claim that either. While the film was another refreshing take on the group of misfits we all love, it seemed to force certain reactions from the audience and suffered from a story that was less impactful than the first.
While Ego tried to threaten the galaxy’s existence by morphing every planet into his own creation, it didn’t seem to capture the grandiose threat to humanity that the other Marvel films have dealt with. This could be nothing more than the desire to finally see Thanos enact the Infinity Gauntlet or the fatigue of watching so many villainous plots to destroy the planet or galaxy as we know it. So was that really a flaw in the film? Or better yet, a flaw within myself for not focusing solely on Guardians of the Galaxy 2 instead of the expansive universe this film now fits in with?
So did the film deliver?
If you’re looking for the connecting dot between Guardians of the Galaxy and the rest of the Marvel universe, you won’t find it here, so the film did not deliver on that aspect. However, in fun Guardians fashion, this film provides a helpful step back from the intensity of the looming Infinity War and hits quite a few emotions on the way.
Marvel has another hit on its hands as Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 has already garnered almost 800 million dollars from the box office at the time of writing (June 1, 2017.) And really, who can go wrong with Baby Groot dancing? Unless it’s Tween Groot going through typical tweenage angst.
Here’s to another solid outing from Marvel and the audience being one step closer to the penultimate fight with Thanos.
Oh yeah, and “I’m Mary Poppins, ya’ll!”
Guardians of the Galaxy – 8/10