GOTG Vol. 2 is one of the best things to happen to the MCU.
3 years after the surprisingly awesome, hilarious, but intimate foray into the MCU cosmos, Guardians of the Galaxy became Marvel’s most important film. If Iron Man brought upon the MCU as we know it, then GOTG was the starting ground to introduce more bizarre, other-wordly aspects of the Marvel universe.
Because of its importance and popularity, it wasn’t a surprise that GOTG would have a sequel. Thankfully, GOTG Vol. 2 was in no way just a mere cash-grab. It was both familiar and new in every aspect possible; a perfect example of how sequels should be made.
I think it’s important to know nothing of its overall story once you enter the cinema because GOTG Vol. 2 requires you to be surprised. Even its trailer doesn’t tell you anything concrete: it shows you everything and nothing at the same time, only leaving you an impression to just get hyped for the movie. But back to the plot: what you do need to know is that it’s only set a few months after the first movie, with the Guardians still recovering from the wounds and revelations of the first film. If GOTG was about them learning to get along with each other, Vol. 2 is about them learning to stay with each other.
The set design and overall visuals in GOTG Vol. 2 are I believe the most distinct and visually appealing among the other MCU films. Vol. 2 shows full confidence in its visual identity, capturing the zeitgeist of the 70s-80s cult Sci-Fi films, giving a very reminiscent tone to the film. The color-grading and palette seems so effortless that each frame in the movie looks like a painting. It’s definitely the most colorful Marvel movie out there. I won’t be surprised if GOTG Vol. 2 becomes an Oscar contender again for the Visual Effects category, and maybe even for the Makeup and Costume Design. If Suicide Squad can win an Oscar, then so should Guardians.
Another thing the film excels with is its cast (as usual). Each Guardian got their time to shine, but the ones that stood out to me were Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax (Dave Bautista), Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel). Ego (Kurt Russell), Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and even Kraglin (Sean Gunn) had their moments as well. A celebrity gets a special appearance as well, but you’ll have to watch the movie to know who it was.
When you think about sequels you usually think it’s ‘the bigger, the better’. This is true in a sense for GOTG Vol. 2, but it also felt much more personal as well. Unlike the first film, the Guardians’ character growth didn’t move along as they focused on the main villain. Rather, the Guardians were each given their own pace to focus on themselves and their problems, which gave this film an episodic tone to it: while it was just a 2 hour movie, I felt like I was watching a space odyssey. Vol. 2 has plenty of subplots which aren’t too long neither too excessive; instead each work to add and support the other subplots, finally interweaving to form the plot twist which was the third act. It’s storytelling that you almost never get to see with blockbuster movies like this.
The script doesn’t always downplay its serious moments with a joke. It happens, but not always. It isn’t as hilarious as the first film either–not because the jokes aren’t a hit, but because Vol. 2 leans towards more intimate scenes.
One of the reasons why GOTG was such a hit was because of its soundtrack: a mix of classic groove and rock music which appealed to both young and old. The same can be said of GOTG Vol. 2’s soundtrack, carefully handpicked to play at the right moments. The original score composed by Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy, 300) is great as well, though it lives under the shadow of Peter Quill’s mixtape. You’ll find yourself dancing to the wham and bams of the soundtrack soon enough.
Once you watch the film you’ll know that the cast and crew behind it worked especially hard to make it work. From its storytelling, down to the acting, visual effects, soundtrack; every bit of it works so well. A huge part of me is thankful for the 3 year wait for Vol. 2–if it had been much earlier and much more rushed, it may have been a totally different film.
James Gunn and the crew made something special with this movie. It’s a different animal compared to the other MCU movies, and even from the first film. It’s an excellent film–not just among the superhero category, but in general. Among the dances, space fights, and even the humor, there’s a certain feeling I had at the end of the film–something bittersweet; something profound; a feeling of fullness.
P.S. Sit through the whole credits. If I counted correctly, there were around 5 credits scenes. Also, this movie proves a certain theory involving Stan Lee!