To say that my expectations were high for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2 is the understatement of the year. I'm just happy to report that the anticipated sequel did not let me down. At the time of writing this post my only complaint of the film is that it might be a little too long? A third viewing will determine if I'm for certain.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 takes place what seems like only a few months after the events from the first film. The rag-tag group of space mercenaries doing odd jobs to help the galaxy. Star-Lord and friends are helping a race called the Sovereign (who are too pretty to deal with matters that might make them dirty) fend off an alien creature that loves to feed off of the Sovereign's precious batteries.
This action sequence kicks off the movie, but director James Gunn does something brilliant. Much like the original film, the sequel opens with a music/dance number. But this time it's on a whole other level. While the Guardians are fighting the alien in the background, Baby Groot is dancing to music in the foreground. It's just the joyous thing ever! I have two theories/opinions about this opening. First, it's just a throwback to the opening of the first film? Or, it's the films mission statement letting the audience know that they are in for a fun-filled comic book movie ride, in true Marvel Studios fashion!
The battery-eating monster creature is defeated and the Guardians are rewarded, but Rocket takes some batteries for himself. The Sovereign are slighted by this and demand nothing less than death. Outnumbered, the Guardians face certain doom until a mysterious figure appears and saves them.
The mysterious savoir is a man named Ego, who claims to be Star-Lord's father. Peter decides to go with Ego, but brings along Gamora and Drax in case something bad goes down. Rocket, Groot, and prisoner Nebula stay with the ship while Rocket repairs it. So sticking with second movie tradition, the team splits up.
Meanwhile, Yondu and his Ravagers are having a good time at a interglatic brothel. The Sovereign show up and offer a reward for the death of the Guardians. Yondu accepts the offer in his typical fashion, and by that I mean you know he's not going to just straight up kill the Guardians of the Galaxy. He'll scheme another plan, you just know it.
Back on Ego, Peter is getting to know his father but nothing is as it seems and something sinister is afoot. Yondu's plans backfire when Nebula escapes and captures him and Rocket. Can they get free and reclaim their ship in time to help the other Guardians of the Galaxy?
Man, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 rocks! I still think the first film is better, but just barely. Until I saw WONDER WOMAN it was easily my favorite comic-book movie of the year. Taking a page from successful sequels like THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KAHN, director James Gunn gets it right!
He ups the ante without the film feeling too over-bloated. And he expounds on some character conflicts developed in the first film.
I love the sisterly rivalry between Gamora and Nebula. It's so fun and heartbreaking at the same time. Thanos better be careful of these two come AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR!
And of course I loved Kurt Russell as Ego! It was sad to see him play a bad guy (oops spoiler), but he's so damn fun playing a villain! Check out DEATH PROOF to see what I mean. Kurt has always been one of my favorite actors, so seeing him in the MCU puts a smile on my face.
But the best thing about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 was Yondu. He was my favorite character in the first film, so it was awesome that his role in VOL. 2 ended up being important and stealing the show!
As I mentioned earlier, my only complaint with the film might be the length? A third viewing is in order to see if I really feel this way or not. The second time we were on the front row of IMAX 3D. It was bad, but not quite terrible? So as you can tell, a third time is a charm. And here in a few weeks my town is getting a new movie theater, a Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to be exact! And you can bet your bottom dollar if they are showing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, I'll be in attendance with a pint of my favorite Stout!
In conclusion, if you haven't yet, see GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2! But if you love comic-book movies, then you probably already have!