Horror is in our blood, but some things, like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, are too geeking awesome for us not to review!
Three years ago, Marvel Studios took the biggest gamble by releasing Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie based on their most obscure comic book characters. Were the same people who loved seeing Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Hulk team up along with the other Avengers ready to see a film about a bunch of misfits — consisting of a human hybrid, a green skinned female warrior, a blue skinned destroyer who’s extremely literal, and a wise-cracking, talking raccoon accompanied by a giant walking tree that only says 3 words in outer space — written and directed by a guy who cut his teeth with Troma?
The answer was a resounding YES!
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 1 (now referred to by this title) took the world by surprise and grossed over $770 million worldwide. It was clear that the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) was expanding in ways that few thought possible. Audiences loved seeing a completely different set of heroes come to life and ate up every little bit of merchandise, including the appropriately named Awesome Mix Vol 1 soundtrack. Not surprisingly, a sequel was greenlit almost instantly.
Three years later and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 has finally arrived. Could the sequel live up to the standard set by the first film? Or would it suffer the unfortunate sophomore slump that most sequels suffer? Could James Gunn recapture the same magic that made Vol. 1 such an experience? And could Awesome Mix Vol.2 be just as good as its predecessor?
Not only is VOL.2 better than the original, it’s neck and neck with CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER for being the best MCU movie. Yes, it is that good! THE WINTER SOLDIER is my favorite of the MCU movies, but VOL.2 is really close to taking that spot. It’s tough to write a review for this movie without getting into spoiler territory (and I won’t do that here), so I will touch on the bases that make this a rousing success.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 picks up days after the events of the first film as the Guardians of the Galaxy are in the middle of a mission. The opening credits sequence is action packed, hysterical, and adorable all in one shot. Seriously, it’s one of the best opening credits scenes ever in a Marvel movie. “Star-Lord” Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccon (Voice of Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Voice of Vin Diesel) are more comfortable in their roles as heroes…until Rocket’s actions during their mission cause a chain reaction of events that set up things in more ways than they (and we the audience) could have imagined.
To go any further would truly spoil this amazing film. However, I will say this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Gunn does not shy away from the comic aspect of the comic book movie, and we are all better for it. Quill’s new Awesome Mix Vol. 2 works just as good if not better than his first mix tape. However, I’m really curious about Awesome Mix Vol. 3 now.
The main theme of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is Family. Whether it’s Gamora and Nebula’s (Karen Gillian) sibling rivalry finally being revealed, Quill being reunited with his father Ego (Kurt Russell), Yondu (Michael Rooker) and The Ravagers, or the Guardians raising Baby Groot…Family is prevalent throughout the movie. Kurt Russell is truly in the prime of his career as he can act out the phone book and I’d pay to see it.
Pom Klementieff is a welcome addition to the MCU as Mantis. She brings a true child-like innocence and wonderment to the proceedings. I’m looking forward to seeing her in future Marvel movies. Speaking of child-like innocence and wonderment…Baby Groot is absolutely adorable. Parents, allow me to apologize now for the amount of money you’re about to spend on Funko Pops, action figures, pajamas, clothing, etc. featuring the cute little guy. Baby Groot has some funny scenes in the movie.
Not to be outdone, Drax is even better in this movie than he was in the original. Drax has the funniest lines in the film. Bautista (Or Batista for my fellow WWE fans) is in his element, and while I’ve always been a big fan of The Rock, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than him playing this character. Rocket, Quill and Gamora get more substance this time out and are more than just laughs in this outing.
They still bring the funny, but they have more to do this time out. If anyone is the heart and soul of this film, it’s Yondu. This is absolutely Yondu’s movie and Rooker plays him with the right amount of swagger, bravado, and heart. I was blown away by Yondu. Rooker is excellent and while he won’t be recognized for it, needs to nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
This would not be a Marvel movie without Easter Eggs and cameos, and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 really delivers the goods. Stan Lee, of course, is involved in both a cameo and Easter Egg at the same time — one that had die hard Marvel fans freaking out in a good way, as it finally answers one of the biggest questions about Lee. Even the credits have Easter Eggs throughout them. Speaking of the end credits, while we usually get two after credits scenes with Marvel movies, this movie upped that to a whopping five extra scenes!
One of the after credits scenes has Marvel fans drooling (I geeked out hardcore for this particular scene) over what’s coming. As for cameos, there are some great ones — some you may already know about and likely a few you aren’t expecting. But they are all really fun once you see them…one in particular is hysterical. I was actually shocked about one cameo in particular when I found out about it, although I don’t want to spoil it here.
Marvel has once again delivered a winner.
This is one film I will be visiting again shortly just to see what else I may have missed. It is easily in the Top 3 of the best MCU films and Top 5 of of Comic Book Movies overall. Normally, 3D isn’t necessary for these films, but it’s an absolute necessity here (there is one scene alone involving Yondu that makes the 3D worth it). How truly great is it that we live in a time when both Marvel and DC are making movies based on our favorite heroes?
Official Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars