Sunday, May 7, 2017

Movie Review: "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (2017)

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Movie"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
Director: James Gunn
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 16 minutes

After the Guardians offend a race of aliens with a superiority complex, they are  pursued across the universe. This leads them to come face to face with Peter Quill's biological father Ego, who tells Peter about his true heritage and his intended purpose.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is once again written and directed by James Gunn. It is the sequel to the fabulous "Guardians of the Galaxy" and is the 15th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel all return to reprise their roles as Peter Quill aka Starlord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket, and Baby Groot, respectively, as the titular "Guardians of the Galaxy." Also returning are Michael Rooker and Karen Gillan, who reprise their roles as Yondu and Nebula.

The Guardians open this film fighting a battle for money against a gigantic intergalactic space slug with heinous sharp teeth and a nasty disposition, as they typically do. They wind up offending their latest employers, an elitist race of gold-tinted aliens known as the Sovereign, which results in them being attacked and endlessly pursued by their army of drone soldiers. The Guardians wind up crashing on a planet and splitting up after they are saved by a man named Ego, played by Kurt Russell, who turns out to be Peter Quill's biological father. From there, the pasts of Peter, the other Guardians, and a few newcomers are divulged in greater detail with a hefty dose of wit, a high body count, and brilliantly flashy colors.

Many sequels are simply about rehashing the original, just with 50% more of everything. To us, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" avoids feeling like a rehash as it truly does add much more depth to the characters we have now grown to love. It goes beyond surface level adventures and has ventured into a much more mature character building stage, sacrificing a big story in favor of learning about these personalities, though there are still jokes to be had at every possible turn. "Vol. 2" lets the audience know there is more to each of the individuals beyond what we may have already known and seen from them, and doubles down on bringing some previously secondary characters into the fold and closer to the forefront to the point where we as the audience finally realize why they are the way they are. We learn about Gamora and Nebula's sisterhood, Quill and Gamora's "unspoken thing," as well as Yondu's life and hardships. In addition to the standby crew, there are also a couple of very welcome new characters, one being Kurt Russell's Ego. Though his character is heavy on exposition, Russell feels like a welcome addition to this universe as Ego and his son get to know one another as Peter wrestles with figuring out why his father left his mother to die on Earth. Russell is just the right amount of cocksure and has the perfect touch of mysticism about him to guide the Guardians into all sorts of happiness and/or mischief. Another newcomer who we really enjoyed is Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff. Mantis is an empath, and her abilities allow for both comedic and kick ass moments. She and Drax share fantastic chemistry with one another and have some truly laugh-out-loud exchanges.

This installment is still a blast, though we admit it is not as perfect and wonderful as the surprisingly brilliant original. It is still insanely funny with many of the best moments coming from the overly literal Drax. This is the role Bautista was born to play and he acts the hell out of it. Of course, Baby Groot lays the cute on pretty thick, though he now has the mind of a child to go along with his tiny stature. One of our biggest critiques is that The Sovereign as villains are rather disposable, but they are really only secondary villains who serve as a catalyst to start their adventure, bring in the true villain, and give a little taste of what may be coming for their future.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" had a very high bar to try and reach. The original was like capturing lightning in a bottle, and though this sequel doesn't quite do that again, it is certainly still very electric, and we were not disappointing in the slightest. The tone of this movie isn't always light and fun as it brings a great insight into what it truly means to be a family. It also has a lot of unexpectedly moving moments in the third act, ones we were not prepared for in the slightest. It is amazingly fun, bright and colorful, and a great addition to the still strong MCU. An in-theater must see for fans of the original!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 9/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~82%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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