By now you’ve watched Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have and millions of other people including a bunch of critics. There are several cool reveals in this film, including the one about Stan Lee and all his appearances in previous Marvel films not limited to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What I also forgot to tell you in my first impressions review is that this film not only ups the humor, it also has a lot of heart. Also, in all honesty, It’s not as fresh as the first as most sequels are, but still entertaining as hell. Now if you haven’t seen this film yet, we here at MTTG urge you to see it. That should go without saying as a true geek won’t be caught dead not having seen this film yet. You get a pass if you haven’t yet as work often gets in the way of geekery.
If you’re not convinced on how good this film is since I’m no Roger Ebert, here’s what some critics have to say about it.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s action-packed plot, dazzling visuals, and irreverent humor add up to a sequel that’s almost as fun—if not quite as thrillingly fresh—as its predecessor.”
— consensus, Rotten Tomatoes
“…Vol. 2 can’t match the sneak-attack surprise of its predecessor … [but] the followup, while taking on some CGI bloat and sequel slickness, hasn’t lost its love for inspired lunacy,“
— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Like many a sequel to a slam-bang, much-liked mega-hit, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 isn’t quite as much fun, not quite as clever, not quite as fresh as the original—but it still packs a bright and shiny and sweet punch…. even with all the silliness and all the snarkiness, the Guardians can put a lump in your throat when someone suffers a serious setback”
— Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
There’s plenty of humor in the film to go around from beginning to the end. Even from the first few minutes into the film, the audience hearts have already been captured by Baby Groot. Everyone’s anticipation for Groot since the end of the first film has paid off. When the gang said they’d be doing a bit of both (good and bad), they weren’t kidding. They save the genetically enhanced race called the Sovereign from an interdimensional monster but Rocket steals some energy batteries they were supposed to be protecting just because. In exchange for their services, they get Gamora’s sister Nebula.
To start off, Rocket is still struggling to fit in his new family, trying to be as much of an a-hole as possible. That’s basically his deal. The Sovereign catch on to Rocket’s felony and attack the gang in space where they almost get killed if not for a stranger that obliterates the Sovereign’s drones. Let’s just say no Sovereigns were harmed in the making of this film. Why? These guys are pretty silly. The Guardians crash on a planet and are met by the stranger who introduces himself as Ego, Peter’s dad. They also meet Mantis, Ego’s empathic muse.
Peter is at first hesitant but goes with his father along with Gamora and Drax to Ego’s planet. They leave Rocket, Groot and Nebula. The Sovereign hire Yondu’s ravagers to capture the Guardians. They capture Rocket and Groot but Yondu becomes hesitant in tracking down Quill. His lieutenant Taserface mutinies against Yondu with the help of Nebula and Kraglin, the ravager that asked why Yondu didn’t deliver Quill to Ego in the first film. Yondu and Rocket are imprisoned while the mutineers bully Baby Groot and execute Yondu’s loyalists. You’d feel sorry for those guys as if you fought with them on Xandar. Yondu and Rocket for a bond because of their similarities in attitude towards family. Yondu also tells Rocket some backstory of how he was in a similar group to Quill’s as a nod to the previous volumes of the Guardians comic book. You’ll see Sly Stallone in the film as Stakar Ogord aka Starhawk and the crystal humanoid Martinex.
Groot is allowed to roam freely and brings Yondu his prototype fin that controls his arrow. With the fin, he looks much more like the original comic book character. If you like action films where the main character swaggers towards the screen while stuff blows up and bad guys are dying all over the place, you’d probably appreciate Yondu’s massacre of everyone who wasn’t loyal to him. Yondu kills Taserface but before dying tells the Sovereign where Yondu was headed.
At Ego’s planet he tells Quill that he’s the entire planet himself and that he’s known as a Celestial. In Marvel lore, Celetstials are Cosmic beings that are described as giant armored humanoids. In the MCU, Celestial is the generic term for all Cosmic Beings. Knowhere itself being the head of a Celestial was quite out of scale to the one shown to use the Power stone in the past. Now it makes more sense. Ego tells Quill that he needed a fellow Celestial to propagate extensions of himself that he planted on other planets. Quill was so far the only successful Celestial hybrid, and that Ego’s powers are also at his disposal. He forgives his father and bonds with him not knowing Ego’s real plan.
Gamora, sensing something’s wrong tries to warn Quill who is still ecstatic about current events resulting in a misunderstanding. She explores the surroundings but gets attacked by Nebula. They fight and end up in an underground cavern where they finally talk and bond as sisters. Nebula’s hatred of Gamora was the result of her constant losses in fights held by Thanos. Each loss results in her losing more of her organic self while Gamora’s goal was only winning unaware of Thanos’ punishments on her sister. The two then discover a cavern full of skeletal remains of Ego’s children. Gamora was basically generic in the first film, but you’ll definitely feel sorry for her here.
Early on, the socially awkward Mantis bonds quite well with Drax and grow closer while on the planet. Because of that closeness, Mantis betrays Ego’s plan to Drax and Gamora. Ego meanwhile tries to convince Quill to help him with his planned expansion of the universe. This is where Ego’s plan is similar to how the Celestials are in the comic books. The Celestials, the armored guys, plant seeds into planets and when they grow, the planet is destroyed. The Celestial population however dwindled due to war and because of Galactus’ consumption of planets with life. Galactus basically keeps the Celestial population in check.
Ego tells Quill that he hired Yondu to bring Quill to him. Yondu, however, didn’t deliver Quill for the reason that Quill was small enough to get into tight places to steal things but growing up and recognizing Yondu as a father figure of sorts. Yondu has been delivering Ego’s children which resulted in him getting exiled by Stakar from the rest of the Ravager community.
Ego tells Quill that he killed Quill’s mother by planting a brain tumor because his love of her will interfere with his planned “expansion.” This enrages Quill and shoots Ego but is overpowered and forcefully made to bond with the planet. The seeds on other planets including Earth and Xandar grow quickly threatening to consume them. The Guardians manage to free Quill and journey to the center of the planet where Ego’s brain resides. This coincides with the arrival of the Sovereign fleet.
The Guardians including Yondu and Nebula fight the Sovereign while Quill battles Ego using his Celestial powers. Rocket rigs a bomb from the batteries they stole and has Groot plant it on Ego’s brain. Ego gets killed, and Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill and says a very touching quote that could come from a good adoptive father. Yondu dies which is the saddest part of the film.
Michael Rooker really did a great performance as Yondu and maybe I wasn’t alone in hoping that Yondu comes out alive at the end, waking up in the ship just like what happened in the first film with Quill and Gamora. It’s a terrible shame as the film set us up into feeling something for him. His act also redeems him to the Ravager community where they give Yondu a stellar light show as a salute.
At the end, Kraglin inherits Yondu’s arrow and fin. Stakar Ogord reunites with his team. Seeing Stallone in the MCU feels more surreal than the crystalline Martinex beside him. Not to mention Zardu Hasselfrau aka David Hasselhoff that really gave everyone in the theater some laughs. When are we ever going to take him seriously again? As a prelude to part 3, the Sovereign queen Ayesha creates a new being who will eventually become Adam Warlock. She calls him perfect which is how he was described in the comics when he was created. Groot begins to grow back to normal size since by now, Baby Groot has lost his novelty and lastly, Stan Lee is seen on a moon or asteroid in an astronaut suit talking to three watchers about his many adventures.
The music selection here fits well in the narrative, though not as obscure as the enjoyable selection of the first film. But the original end-credit track is amazing. It keeps bringing back memories of the cast doing disco. Even though Yondu is dead, it was fun seeing Michael Rooker doing the moves along with Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillian.
Marvel has proven time and again that they can balance an ensemble cast with enough subplots and screen times like they did with Avengers and Captain America: Civil War as well as this film’s first outing. They balanced out the cast as well as brought to life many aspects of Marvel’s cosmological side bringing nerdgasms everywhere. This film is fun and entertaining, and tugs slightly at your heartstrings, so it’s not to be missed. For the rare folks who stumbled here and haven’t seen the first, it’s recommended to see it to better appreciate this film.
Film Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’
Reviewed on April 17, 2017. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 135 MIN.
CREW: Director, writer: James Gunn. Camera (color, widescreen): Henry Braham. Editors: Fred Raskin, Craig Wood.
WITH: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Glenn Close, Karen Gillan, Sylvester Stallone, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, Nathan Fillion, Tommy Flanagan.