Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
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Overall Rating 76%
Overall Rating
Ranked #163
...out of 19,395 movies
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After saving Xandar from Ronan's wrath, the Guardians are now recognized as heroes. Now the team must help their leader Star Lord uncover the truth behind his true heritage. Along the way, old foes turn to allies and betrayal is blooming. And the Guardians find that they are up against a devastating new menace who is out to rule the galaxy. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: July 2, 2017
I'm sure I wasn't alone when I say that, before the release of the first movie, I had never even heard of Guardians of the Galaxy. Even so, I absolutely loved it and couldn't wait for more. Three years later, I finally got it.

It's been six months since the Guardians stopped Ronan from annihilating Xandar and since that time they've used their fame to go into business as muscle for hire. Their latest gig is to protect a cache of batteries belonging to the Sovereign from an inter-dimensional monster with Gamora's captured sister Nebula as payment. Once again, our heroes prove their mettle and are leaving the planet with their bounty when they notice a massive fleet of Sovereign fighters behind them. It seemed Rocket just couldn't help himself but steal some of those valuable batteries. As the crew is escaping from the massive Sovereign fleet, they are saved by a mysterious man who single handled destroys every one of their enemies with a single blast. Even so, Quill and Rocket's bickering over who's the better pilot has led to them crashing the Milano on a nearby planet. As they're formulating a game plan, they're joined by the same man who saved them. His name is Ego and he introduces himself as Quill's father. Obviously, Starlord is completely thrown for a loop; here is his chance to get the answers he's wanted his entire life. Meanwhile, the Sovereign has hired Quill's old Ravager faction to capture the Guardians for their betrayal. It's a distraction they don't have time to deal with as our heroes will again find themselves tasked with saving the Galaxy.

Once again, Guardians of the Galaxy is able to give us a beautiful blend of action and comedy. Admittedly the comedy is much higher in the ratio this go-around but that doesn't mean they slouched with action scenes. Also, I found the movie truly refreshing in how disconnected this was from the rest of the MCU. So far in this phase, none of the stand-alone films have actually been stand-alone films; they've all featured multiple heroes in each others movies. While it'd be a bit more difficult to incorporate the other heroes into the Guardians' story to begin with, I had at least expected the Universe's overall story with Thanos to be expanded upon. Thankfully, this was not the case, and Vol. 2 was allowed to just be Vol. 2. It's a problem plaguing a lot of franchises lately and I was pretty happy to see a movie dodge this bullet.

With a franchise as dependent on the characters as Guardians of the Galaxy is, seeing their growth and development is an important part of their sequels and Vol. 2 is only able to deliver on a few fronts. As can be expected, Peter got a decent sized helping with the addition of his father but even he didn't fare nearly as well as Drax did. Now that his wife and daughter have been avenged and he's become comfortable around his new family, the Destroyer has actually become somewhat jovial. It's an interesting foil to his own bluntness and while its easy to write him off as another comedic relief character, the underlying changes in the character spare him from that trope. On the other hand, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot didn't fare nearly as well. The former two got small helpings sure, although both were pretty forced (more on that in the next paragraph) and Gamora's were more in relation to other characters than any kind of personal growth. Groot was just downright shafted though. Trying to bank on the cuteness of 'Baby Groot', he's been reduced to a typical comedic relief character in the same vein as Olaf or the Minions. I'm not going to say he didn't have me laughing at times but he's still a full-fledged member of this group and I hate to see him given this treatment.

Despite how much I enjoyed the film, there's definitely a major problem running throughout the movie. It's just trying way too hard. It tries too hard to be funny; it tries too hard to be emotional. The first movie was funny but the humor came from the organic banter between our lovable group of misfits. While that's still here, the majority is a non-stop barrage of forced running gags. As soon as the set-up presents itself, you can instantly tell that the joke is coming. I'll admit that I did get a small chuckle out of some of them but I still recognized just how awkwardly they were jammed in there. The emotional moments are all just as ham-fisted. Sure, there's the obligatory "family" bonding between the Guardians themselves. It was a bit much but we all knew those moments were going to be there. However, there are plenty of one-on-one relationships who are also addressed. Gamora and Nebula get a particularly cliche one that undermines everything established about the blue character in the first movie. Speaking of blue characters, Yondu gets two such conversations. One the predictable father-role with Quill but he also gets one with Rocket that's completely out of nowhere. These relationships should definitely have formed the foundation for this sequel but you actually need to build them up first for them to have any impact.

Sure, this sequel has its problems but once again this little-known franchise is proving to be one of Marvel's biggest assets. While I hope Gunn doesn't try so hard with Vol. 3 and just lets the story happen organically, this is still a solid entry. 8.5/10.
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