After being pleasantly surprised by Guardians of the Galaxy, I expected more of the same surprise and wonderment from Volume 2. Unfortunately it wasn’t as good, it felt forced. Maybe I shouldn’t compare it to the original so much, but I can’t help it. I did the same with the other MCU sequels. Here’s a list of pros and cons:
- It warmed my heart. I liked the father/son relationship between Ego and Peter, the mentor/mentee relationship between Yondu and Peter, and the sibling rivalry between Gamora and Nebula all worked. There wasn’t enough time devoted to each of them, but what we got was enough to make the end of the film give you “the feels”.
- Great visuals. I watched the movie on regular 2D, but it looked awesome! I can only imagine how much better it would look in 3D or Imax.
- Yondu and Mantis were bright spots for me. The way Yondu’s arc unfolds and eventually ends is rather fulfilling for a side character. After being a neutral jerk in the first movie, we find out he has a soft spot in his heart for Peter. It was either written extremely well or Michael Rooker deserves an Oscar, but his character was awesome. Mantis was another bright spot in that her character was so green. Being socially awkward added to her cuteness. Pom Klementieff did a good job here too.
- The jokes were cheesy instead of witty. Drax and Rocket just come off as jerks instead of charmingly innocent like they did in Volume 1. Gamora continues to be used as Star-Lord’s love interest instead of giving her character some juicy story, her sister Nebula was more interesting this time around. Baby Groot was cute… but it got old and Star-Lord wasn’t as likeable in this movie either.
- There was zero foreshadowing of the upcoming MCU. I understand that director James Gunn wants these movies to be their own story, but at least give a shot out to the rest of the Universe. In the original, there is an entire scene featuring Thanos, the overall baddie in the MCU. Here, he’s mentioned a few times in passing. The after-credits scenes that Marvel is known for were just vague clues as to the upcoming Volume 3. (Although, Adam Warlock getting a mention was pretty cool.)
- The classic MCU villain bug hit them again. Known for having some villains with little depth and background and/or not enough time to develop (Ivan Vanko, Malekith, and the biggest insult of all: Trevor Slattery, the fake Mandarin) has been a curse the MCU is still trying to consistently get away from. I LOVED Ronan the Accuser in Volume 1., but here even though The Sovereign start off seeming like a superior society of golden beings, they end up being clumsy and childish, with their jokes falling flat. The big twist that Ego, Peter’s father, ends up being the baddie was unexpected, but he ended up being pretty weak in a fight for a celestial.
- The soundtrack was not good enough to be plastered throughout the movie like it was in the original film. Some more original score would have been better.
Overall, I give the movie a 6/10. It had some very cool moments and a few laughs, but there was too much cheesy comedy (The Taserface stuff was completely worthless) and not enough of the kick ass music from the original.
If there’s a joke to be had, a phrase to be said, or a time to be spent, I’m your Man. I’m a sucker for good conversation. P.E.A.C.E.