Friday, 28 April 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) - Film Review

*Originally written April 28th, 2017*

I was expecting to enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I did not expect to like it anywhere near this much. The first Guardians was Marvel's weirdest, strangest and riskiest film yet, and it somehow paid off and delivered one of their best films. Vol. 2 gives us more of the same, but improves on everything. The same characters we loved are here, but it's bigger, better and packs a far more emotional punch.

Straight of the bat, Vol. 2 is easily Marvel's most visual beautiful film yet. I've had a bit of a problem with a few of the films in the MCU looking like expensive episodes of TV (The 2 Avengers films are the biggest offenders of this), but the Guardians of the Galaxy films really pack a gorgeous, vibrant and cinematic punch. There some wonderfully designed creatures, planets and the special effects are the strongest yet. 

From the opening scene I fell in love with Guardians 2. From the prologue returning us back to Earth with a flashback to a scene of Quill's mother and father (Kurt Russell's Ego), I knew I was going to love it. Last year had Deadpool with it's hilarious opening credits, but this year belongs to Guardians 2. I'll be amazed if I see a more memorable opening credit sequence this year. 

Baby Groot
We're once again given another excellent soundtrack of classic rock music with 'Awesome Mix Vol. 2' that perfectly captures the tone of the series and cements some more emotional scenes that play throughout. Tyler Bate's score is sadly lost in the mix and extremely forgettable like most Marvel scores shamely are, but it at least makes up for this with a lot more tracks I'll be adding to my Spotify playlist. 

Despite primarily being a comedy (It is very funny), Guardians 2 does go to some really dark places I had no idea it would go to, making for a surprisingly horrific reveal towards the end that really surprised me. This time around it is a lot more character focused, you learn a lot more about Chris Pratt's Peter Quill/Star-Lord's heritage, which brings an emotional punch to the proceedings.

Kurt Russell steals the show as Ego 'The Living Planet', Russell's grandiose narcissism was great to watch as was his bond with Peter, which involved some very touching moments. I think the Guardians series might be the only franchise to be able to get away with making a character an actual planet and have it work.

The big thing that worried me going in was Baby Groot. In the trailers he was cute and adorable, but I was concerned he would be overused and shoved in every scene to sell toys, almost like a modern day Jar-Jar. I'll add I say this while I look to my right and see a Baby Groot Pop-Vinyl standing in front of my Blu-rays. Thankfully, Groot is adorable, but not used anywhere near as much as I thought he would be. Which is a good thing. He's used sparingly and effectively, he's responsible for some of the films funniest moments, and yes, he is adorable.

Chris Pratt and Kurt Russell
On top of the usual members of the team, Drax, Gomora, Rocket, there are new members added to the team. Surprisingly, they are minor villains in the previous film. Michael Rooker's Yondu and Karen Gillan's Nebula. Both characters are greatly expanded with more depth, Nebula is given a really sad back story and Yondu's explanation for keeping Peter for many years is given a touching reason. 

I can't mention it without spoilers, but for the first time in Marvel's film history, they have finally given us a truly great and memorable villain, but I can't talk about it without spoiling it, so you just gotta trust me. Where Guardians does falter though is its length. This does feel long, longer than it needs to be. Aside from that, there was one scene of weird and sadistic brutality from some of the good guys as they kill over a hundred poeple one by one as they gleefully watch and laugh which didn't sit quite right with me.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn't quite a masterpiece, but it is a triumph from Marvel, a richer, bigger and much improved sequel that packs a hell of an emotional punch.  

9/10 Dans

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is out now in cinemas in the UK
Watch the trailer below:

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