Another year, another Marvel movie.
Following the success of last year’s “Captain America Civil War” and “Doctor Strange,” Marvel kicked off 2017 with this month’s release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”
The sci-fi adventure is the 15th film in the Marvel cinematic universe and is the sequel to the hugely successful 2014 film “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The plot continues the story of the Guardians, who are led by Star-Lord, played again by Chris Pratt, as they struggle to keep their team together amongst constant bickering.
The first film, which garnered an approval rating of 91 percent among critics on the website Rotten Tomatoes, was a hit among audiences and raked in over $700 million at the global box office. Naturally, expectations are high for this sequel, but does it live up to the hype? “Vol 2.” isn’t a perfect film, but it’s an entertaining sequel nonetheless.
Visually, “Vol. 2” is a masterpiece. The color palette is vibrant with images popping off the screen. Mixed with mesmerising cinematography and excellent special effects, this film looks like it’s ripped straight from the pages of a comic. And the soundtrack, comprised of songs from the ‘60s to the ‘80s, compliment the visuals perfectly.
Instead of going for bigger and bolder, returning writer and director James Gunn opted for a more scaled down approach. Most of the film is dedicated to sticking the characters together and forcing them to talk out their differences.
This works heavily in the movie’s favor. The story feels more intimate and character driven than the last film, making the sequel surprisingly emotional, especially during climactic moments.
That’s not to say there’s no action in the film. There is plenty of thrills to be had and each sequence is memorable and highly creative. A sequence that involves escaping from an enemy ship set to “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay & The Americans is one of the film’s highlights.
A welcome addition to the series is Kurt Russell as Ego, Star-Lord’s estranged father. Russell and Pratt share great chemistry and it’s fun watching them work off each other. Their performances bring more emotional heft to the already personal story.
However, there are some issues with “Vol. 2,” particularly the editing. The earlier parts of the film feel choppy due the story jumping from one location to another resulting in scenes beginning and ending at random with no flow. Luckily it’s an issue that gets resolved as the film goes on.
And while the comedy is mostly well written and clever, it feels forced and out of place at moments. This is especially evident in the later parts of the film where a few serious moments lose their impact due to somebody cracking a one-liner. It doesn’t detract from the movie as a whole, but it’s a noticeable issue.
Despite these problems, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is one of Marvel’s best films to date. Stellar performances mixed with gorgeous visuals and a catchy soundtrack makes this adventure a blast for fans and newcomers alike.