For just one minute imagine someone pitching the GOTG film: “It’s about a tree, a raccoon, a super assassin, a man with no grasp of metaphor and some guy who refers to himself as starlord”. It sounds beyond stupid, and yet Marvel pulled it off so well that I’m sat here reviewing the sequel. Films like Avengers Assemble, Antman, and Guardians of the Galaxy all have that perfect mix of humour, charisma, and a dash of the bizarre that makes for really fun films. GOTG 2 lives up to its predecessor, managing to combine a sense of lightheartedness – as the guardians basically become parents to a tiny tree – with all the action and special effects you expect from a superhero movie. Realistically, this isn’t some hard hitting film with a profound moral message that will revolutionise your view on the world. But, that’s far from a bad thing. GOTG 2 never feels like it’s taking itself too seriously which means that, unlike other marvel films that felt a little manufactured and over-angsty (including Age of Ultron), it manages to find balance between serious moments and humour.
Warning, from this point on there may be spoilers, so maybe go watch the film first.
One thing I loved about this film as a sequel is that it filled in the gaps that had been driving me crazy from GOTG 1. The explanation for how Quill could hold the infinity stone was only briefly touched upon but it was a massive improvement on the previous “Uh, through the power of hand holding?” explanation. There was also some much needed time spent on Nebula and Yondu, both of whom I felt were rounded out really well in this film. As someone who hasn’t read the GOTG comics, I was excited to find out about why Nebula had such a feud with Gamora, and about Yondu’s real personality and values. Having Yondu saving Quill from Ego rather than just being a guy who stole a child (for thievin’) added a sense of honour to him, making his death a lot more meaningful than it would otherwise have been.
Every single character in GOTG 2 falls somewhere between good and evil, making the whole thing so much more interesting. Mantis saves them in the end, but helped lure them onto the planet knowing what would happen to Quill. Nebula has no qualms about planning to hunt and kill her father, but she stood by her sister when it meant the most. Even Quill makes mistakes, turning on Gamora when she tries to tell him she’s worried and picking fights with Rocket. The characters act like people, rather than ridiculous caricatures of the model moral citizen.
As much as I enjoyed GOTG 2 I do have as couple of nitpicky criticisms. Ego was definitely more compelling as as villain than whoever that blue guy with smudgy eyeliner was in Vol. 1, but it still felt a little bit “eh”. To me, the Sovereign felt more like a distracting nuisance than a real threat, and the mutinous ravagers were all too stupid to be anything more than the butt of Rocket’s jokes. I feel like this is a criticism I have of Marvel in general, that lots of the time the villains are just plain boring. Most are the film equivalent of a cardboard cutout, with no explanation given for their motives and no real character development. Of course, there are a couple of exceptions (for example, Loki was more than just some walking pile of evil who could be defeated in about 5 minutes). Having Ego be Peter’s father added at least some dimension, but I’d still like to see just a little more. Seriously, the attack scenes with the Sovereign were just golden people going “pew pew pew” in their weird arcade of remotely controlled ships, I think there’s room for some improvement.
All in all, I really enjoyed GOTG 2 and am getting excited for all the upcoming Marvel releases (Thor, Black Panther, and Infinity War aren’t too long now). An added seal of approval for this film comes from the fact my mum didn’t fall asleep halfway through it (Trust me, most films don’t pass this test).
Eat some vegetables, moisturise, and message someone you haven’t spoken to for a while. Take care of yourself x