‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’ Review: Is it as Good as the Original?

It’s not every day that a movie comes out of nowhere and takes audiences by surprise. Most films are over-hyped from the moment of their first day of production and only get worse as the picture makes its way to the theater. Guardians of the Galaxy was one of those rare exceptions that surprised viewers back in 2014. Co-writer and director James Gunn brought everyone a new Marvel franchise that appeared completely disconnected from the others, and for a lack of better words, was just plain fun.

It was easy to fall for relatively unknown front-man Chris Pratt, and his entertaining crew of Guardians with issues that included Bradley Cooper as “Rocket” the talking raccoon, Vin Diesel as a tree, and Zoe Saldana as a green goddess, as they made their way through the galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy had the top domestic opening weekend ever for an August release, bringing in $94.3 million on its way to a worldwide total gross of $773.3 million by the time it left theaters.

Baby Groot asks if he should hit the button. [Image by Disney/Marvel Studios]

The sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, has Gunn back as writer and director, and he’s added to his cast of galaxy explorers this time around as Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone have joined the mix. One thing this film is not lacking in is big-action and odd tangents scenes with humor. One such scene occurs at the beginning of the movie as baby Groot, the infant tree character voiced by Vin Diesel, dances around to music in the foreground, while his fellow Guardians battle the multi-dimensional being they have been hired to fight in the background. At one point Drax, played by Dave Bautista, is knocked down directly behind Groot, who immediately stops and gives a “that’s awkward” look, only to go right back to dancing once Drax goes back to fighting. Immediately following that, Rocket (the talking raccoon) flies in to tell baby Groot to spit out the bug he just swallowed. These types of scenes, that are scattered throughout the film, are the silly-smart glue that holds this highly successful franchise together.

Does Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 measure up to the original?

Guardians 2 falls into the trap that most all sequels fall victim to. The first movie had the distinction of something new and original that nobody was expecting. Now that we know the franchise, the excitement is still there but the second film is exactly that, the second film. The middle work stuck in between the introduction, and what is sure to be the climax and ultimate end of the franchise often times becomes filler content in sequels. In all honesty, this one is not as good as the original galaxy adventure, but it’s still very watchable.

The plot centers around Rocket stealing the hallowed batteries of The Sovereign, a gold-plated elitist civilization, and the subsequent chase and battles that occur once Rocket’s crime is known. It’s behind one such battle that Kurt Russell makes his entrance as Ego, Peter Quill’s (Pratt) long-lost father. Ego proves to be a dark character who has his own planet and a barrel of secrets to go with it.

Kurt Russell attends the European launch event of Marvel Studios’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.’ at the Eventim Apollo on April 24, 2017 in London, England. [Image by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Disney]

Much like the original, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 has a superb collection of music on the soundtrack including Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” and of course the 1972 hit “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass. The music has a unique way of intersecting itself into the storyline as it plays in the movie background. While some fight scenes seem a bit strange with seventies classic’s blaring while the Guardians slay alien beasts, other scenes use the music to connect Quill with his past. Of course, the dynamic behind that is the mixtape his mother made years ago lays the emotional groundwork for everything, including Quill’s memory of his mother.

One thing this film is sure to have more of than any other Marvel title is post-credit scenes. While each scene gives its own flavor, all five are worth sitting the extra few minutes to watch.

Rating: PG-13

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 — ★★★★☆ (four stars out of five)

Running time: 2:16

Opens: Friday

[Featured Image by Disney]

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