Set against the soundtrack backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2’, the second instalment of Guardians of the Galaxy expands the Marvel universe ever further and sees the team uncover the mysteries of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) parentage.
Our Kambole recently attended the UK premiere, and described this sequel as “hilarious, brimming with pathos, and real pretty to boot.” Now out in cinemas, the wider team have gathered together to discuss their thoughts on the latest offering from the Marvel universe.
James – 4/5
After a risky gamble became a smash, James Gunn indulges his licence to dial up the crazy. His sequel is funny and looks gorgeous, with spectacular cosmic visuals on par with Marvel’s psychedelic Doctor Strange, although there are moments when restraint in terms of wackiness would enhance the dramatic tension.
Adding more characters and plot lines also comes at the expense of developing the likes of Gamora and Rocket. There are plenty of Easter Eggs, but no forced ties with the wider MCU. The Guardians gate-crashing the Avengers universe is definitely the best way to keep the franchise fresh and engaging.
Bertie – 3/5
The difficult second album hits the Guardians as it did the Avengers. High expectations from the excellent first ‘Volume’ were replaced with disappointment at a lacklustre rerun of their greatest hits, albeit still incredibly funny at times. Frustratingly, many of the characters and performances are even better in this film – Drax is hilarious, Groot is great, Rocket, Gamora and Star-Lord have grown and developed – but the story they are stuck in hasn’t moved. How this entry takes them (or the Marvel universe as a whole) forward is unclear, and it seems a placeholder for Thor Ragnarok and Infinity War.
Sinead – 3/5
The first superhero film of 2017 to follow Logan, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – or ‘Vol. 2’ as audiences are supposed to call it – arrives in the middle of the reimagining of what superhero movies can be. Superhero films, after all, are a mere trend in the history of cinema, and will inevitably come to an end.
While it slightly lives up to the potential for more nuanced filmmaking with its dramatic space opera atmosphere and father/son relationship, Guardians, like its predecessor, remains a mostly overloaded visual affair. But Baby Groot is cute, so who cares?
David – 4/5
The second instalment of this lovable franchise is a big bowl of gooey fun. There’s (strong) jokes by the bucketful and the visuals are cranked up to 11. Your first impression will likely be a high one as the pure kineticism of the film is enthralling. The strength of Dave Bautista as Drax – hitting home runs with every line – and the long stretch of character development move this above your average flick.
There are issues, however, as the film hits a few too many bum notes: repeating jokes, odd pace, absent story. Fun, frolicking but far from fresh.
Jack – 4/5
I’m honestly surprised that this is the movie that Marvel and Disney let James Gunn make. It’s very light on plot, full of crude jokes, and the visuals are creepy and bizarre. For the most part, I loved all of the above choices, and though the humour can be forced at points, every character is excellently written and acted, and the trippy space-scapes that Gunn creates are wondrously original and colourful.
It was never going to quite live up to the original, and the soundtrack isn’t utilised as well this time out, but it’s a real blast of a sequel.
Phil – 4/5
After learning that too much studio interference makes for disappointing movies (see: Age of Ultron), one imagines Kevin Fiege sticking a Post-It, West Wing style, to the screenplay for Vol. 2 that simply read: “Let Gunn be Gunn.” From the instantly iconic opening credits this is every bit the sequel we were hoping for: more of the same but bigger, louder and more colourful. But it also feels smaller and more intimate than just about any Marvel movie: this is a film about families of all kinds, and Gunn’s screenplay gives just about everyone a hitherto unseen depth. Bring on Vol. 3!