Marqus Rice’s review published on Letterboxd:
Guardians of the Galaxy was a massive success upon release proving that Marvel could basically do whatever the hell they want at this point and audiences will show up. Phase 3 of the MCU was in full motion and after other success stories of Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, the momentum heading to the climatic Avengers 3 + 4 was palpable. Naturally Disney quickly ordered a sequel to the rag tag group of Space heroes with the entire cast returning as well as director/writer James Gunn. Now if you ask Gunn, Disney virtually gave him full autonomy to do whatever he wanted with this sequel as it has little if anything to do Thanos and his Infinity Stone quest. Other than building up relationships within the team Gunn was given full reign to make a sequel to his hit film. And if the first film is a story about Moms, and Peter Quill’s coming to grips with her death, then the sequel is the story of fathers. Quill discovers his lineage while Gamora and Nebula address their relationship and trauma the Mad Titan put them through.
The biggest compliment I can give GOTG Vol. 2 is that to me, quality wise it’s right on par with the first film. Everything you loved about the first one, the music, the quirky characters, and space action all return and in even bigger and more colorful ways. I’d argue this one is funnier than the first film and a helluva lot cuter thanks to the addition of Baby Groot to the Guardians. Quite possibly the cutest Marvel character to be introduced so far. Some of the best moments that provide that classic Guardians banter involves Baby Groot and trying to get the young tree to understand what the hell they’re even saying. Vol.2 takes place only 2 months after the events of the first film. After having a falling out with the yellow skinned Sovereign, the Guardians are saved by none other than Kurt Russell who plays the human representation of Ego The Living Planet. A Planet sized Celestial being who it turns out is Peter Quill father explaining his alien lineage from the first film. In true Empire Strikes Back fashion our Guardians are split up. Quill, Gamora, Nebula, and Drax head off to Ego’s planet so Quill can learn more about him while Rocket and Groot stay behind to fix their broken ship the Milano.
And if I have any negatives when it comes to Vol. 2 it’s in its 2nd act. It’s not that the movie isn’t entertaining, it is. There’s still a lot of fun to be had with the banter between the characters. I guess my issue is the movie’s plot halts. It feels aimless at times during the separation period. I can’t help but ask myself where this movie is going as it takes maybe a few minutes too long to finally explain the larger threat at play. That being said, while the Quill storyline doesn’t go anywhere, there's plenty of fun to be had in the B-plot. Rocket and Groot managed to get captured by Yondu and the Ravagers since the Guardians have a massive bounty on their hands. Unfortunately for Yondu, his soft way of handling Peter has made members of the Ravagers want to commit mutiny and led by Taserface turn on Yondu. And I love this plotline. The teaming up of Rocket, Baby Groot, and Yondu escaping the Ravagers is so much fun and climaxes in a really fun escape sequence set to “Come a Little Bit Closer” is one of the movie’s biggest highlights. But it’s the other side to that coin that works as well. And that is the emotional moment of Rocket and Yondu coming to an understanding that they are more alike than they care to admit is another strength.
And overall I think that’s why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 works for me. I just love these characters and the relationships they share with each other. The budding romance between Quill and Gamora feels stronger. The insulting friendship between Drax and new character Mantis provides some of the more hilarious beats in the film. (Including that hysterical moment when Mantis reveals Peter’s feelings for Gamora). But yeah, we come to learn that Ego is evil and has a Galaxy destroying plan afoot and it’s up to the Guardians to reunite and save the day. The end action sequence is fun and all, but for my money the absolute best part about this film is Yondu and Peter coming to grips with their relationship. Vol. 2 ends in an emotional way I was not expecting. To the point that when the movie closes I do find myself teary eyed a bit. Yondu has one of the most impactful deaths in the MCU and I must say, the Ravagers forgiving him for his mistakes and flying the colors of Ogord over his funeral to the point that Rocket tears up makes me want to tear up.
“He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn’t your daddy.”
The soundtrack of Guardians 2 feels a lot softer than Vol 1. More obscure tracks and lighter music but again, Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2 feels like a character in and of itself. Some Sam Cooke, Fleetwood Mac, Jay and The Americans and of course David Hasselhoff with Guardians Inferno give this sequel yet another memorable sound track to listen too. I didn’t mention this in my Guardians 1 review because I really love Tyler Bates scores on these two films as well. I’ve grown to really like the main Guardians theme he made for these movies. Featuring a massive 5 post credit scenes as well, (My favorite collection of MCU post credits scenes in any movie so far) there’s plenty of reason to stick around and watch the credits well.
I probably slightly prefer Vol. 1 over Vol. 2 thanks to that film I feel like running at a smoother pace. That being said, everything I loved about the first one returns here. If you love these characters and the dialogue, the heart, and emotion of the first film, this sequel delivers on those aspects too. Cementing itself as one of Marvel’s most consistent franchises running.
Spider-Man Homecoming Review: boxd.it/1Y0j6F
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review: boxd.it/4d05Ir
MCU Ranked: boxd.it/aSdAg