Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★

Almost three years after giving the already well-established MCU a perhaps needed spin of freshness and quirkiness with the first entry of this bunch of misfits, Marvel brings them back with Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 with pretty much the same recipe - thing is, the cake doesn't cook that well this time.

The main characters haven't changed that much, and have somewhat acquired different family roles, especially due to Groot (now in baby mode) and his childish vivacity. Star-Lord and Rocket, temperamental and impulsive as ever, compete for being the main decision-maker, while Drax and Gamora come to terms with being part of such a weird group. Their chemistry is still there, yet there are some moments in which not only are dialogues laughably silly but they also feel recycled and overused, and it's only due to expanded and new arrivals that things recover some of their old spark, mainly in terms of character development at the expense of plot. And that's precisely what this film lacks: plot is almost relegated to a nonexistent status, and the very few traces of it (Peter's quest for finding his father) are slow, flat and so immediate that the film is pretty much extended for 90 minutes once this plot point happens. By the time the CGI-infested third act makes an entrance, it's a bit of a letdown to realise the whole thing hasn't moved forward at all.

The soundtrack does not help either. While the playlist is not bad by any means, none of the selected tracks stand out in the same way they did in the first film. Their insertion throughout the film does not flow, feels calculated and you can pretty much tell they were put on the scenes and not interwoven with them (two exceptions, though: Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass and Fletwood Mac's The Chain). In terms of visual effects and editing, the film does not disappoint and quality is as good as ever. Same goes for the cast, whose commitment disguises the flaws of the film with lots of entertainment despite having some unnecessary moments

Characters are well rounded, especially those whose roles have been expanded, such as Nebula, while others feel a bit neglected, as it happens with Gamora, a side effect of splitting the team for the most part of the film and doubling up the cast. Another weak link is Ego, portrayed by Kurt Russell, who is boring at best, while other antagonists like Ayesha and Taserface are mocked to the point of absurdity. Debicki could have been deliciously exploited, yet I suppose they're saving that for the third entry which, hopefully, will have a worth-telling story.

True, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 might not add anything new and might even feel like a gathering where characters are supposed to solve their conflicts, as if it was a family tragicomedy we've seen before, but we can't deny it is a feast of laughter, nostalgia, and some good action sequences advocating for the defence of friendship and family values. Would have liked more of Baby Groot, by the way.

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