article by Connor Behrens for ArtsEarth
Director James Gunn’s latest film, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” is a 2017 American superhero film that serves as a sequel to 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” continues the story of Peter Quill and his team as they fight to keep their new family together as the group attempts to discover the secret of Peter Quill’s true background via his father in the outer stretches of the cosmic galaxy. As the team fights extraterrestrial forces and discovers Quill’s father, the team discovers they might have to save the galaxy… again.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2” is an odd film… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Visually dazzlingly, the cosmic blockbuster looks like a technicolor acid trip. But while the visuals are extraordinary (I would recommend seeing this in IMAX 3D), the film is uneven.
Yes, the first half of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” just plays like a regurgitated rehash of its 2014 predecessor with its jokes/humor. (C’mon, poop jokes? Really?) Truthfully, the film does not step out of the first film’s shadow until the second half of the film. Only when the film branches out and Gunn digs into what it means to be family does he strive for true greatness.
The second half of the film is indeed greatness. This is due to a few elements. One of them is the iconic Kurt Russell, who does an excellent job at bringing noticeable intensity to scenes with Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana. However, the second half is mostly great because of the emotional complexity that comes into play. This complexity works and elevates the blockbuster due to Gunn’s emotionally charged screenplay.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” starts off as just any other Marvel sequel, but it eventually transforms into a poignant story about family and father/son relationships.
This relationship examined is interesting to watch play out between Pratt and Russell. Not only do the two look like they could be related, but the two also have similar ways they carry themselves. Putting the two together in scenes creates an interesting dynamic that opens up the last half of the movie.
Props should also be given to the comic relief of the movie. Like the past film, Dave Bautista offers wonderful moments of humor. However, this time he gains a partner.
Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, is a new member to the team. Her oblivious personality is a great match for Bautista’s character, and the two create a legitimately funny running gag about inner and outer beauty.
Overall, while “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is not as magical as its predecessor, the film succeeds due to a heartbreaking commentary on what it means to be family. As uneven as the two halves of the film are, the film is satisfying. Perhaps the Marvel Cinematic Universe should stay in space? As formulaic as the Marvel juggernaut has become, the cosmic conflicts are much more captivating than the battles on Earth.