Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 was released on DVD/Blu-Ray here in the UK today! I did manage to watch it at the cinema, but felt uninspired to write anything about it. Yes, the film was alright…but’s that about it. It contained flashy and entertaining action sequences and a surprisingly emotional ending. Kurt Russell as Ego portrayed one of the best MCU villains out there. But the majority of it felt like an exercise in box-ticking rather than an attempt to improve on the original. Just like the soundtrack, GOTG vol.2 felt like a tired retread of the original.
Maybe the original Guardians of the Galaxy was such a brilliant surprise that any sequel couldn’t live up to it. Certainly, GOTG vol.2 gives us more of what we loved in the original: over-the-top action scenes, unbelievable science fiction scenery, and comedy. The one-take opening action scene, set to the tune of ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky,’ is so incredible that everything after it seems a little dull. But I’m a sucker for a one shot-take. There’s also a notable Yondu action scene that follows his whistle-commanded arrow through a slaughter, but we’ve seen that in the first one, haven’t we? It’s just louder and longer, like much of GOTG vol.2.
“That was awesome!”
The CGI depicted here is stunning. Ego’s home planet is a feast for the eyes, looking so good that you could eat it. We don’t travel to as many planets as GOTG (in a strange reversal of the “more” tendency of sequels), but Ego’s planet has enough variety and wonder to satisfy a thousand planets. You can tell the $200 million dollar budget has been spent on some great set and alien design, from the golden Sovereigns to Mantis. There’s a particularly wild few scenes of Rocket and companions hurtling through a wormhole (or something, I can’t remember the specifics) in a mind-bending combination of visuals and sound.
I’d also be remiss to ignore Kurt Russell’s turn as Ego, Father of Star-Lord. Spoiler alert, but he’s a villain. Although his scenes are often full of exposition and slow the film down, Russell makes the most of them. He’s one of the more interesting MCU villains (apart from his generic plan to destroy the universe). But that’s probably not the character itself, but Russell’s acting abilities.
But, like I mentioned, his exposition feeds us the plot in dribs and drabs. For the second act, it feels like there is nothing happening. We follow Star-Lord and Ego and their talks about their relationship. That’s about it. There are side-plots, but that’s all they are: side-plots. They aren’t particularly interesting. By the time Ego’s plan is revealed, there’s barely enough time for the audience to process it before the finale happens. The finale is the usual CGI atrocity, poorly focused and all about blowing something up. Very, very uninspired.
“Did you create a penis?”
Very much like the comedy and the characters of GOTG vol.2. GOTG saw our heroes slowly realise they need each other to survive. GOTG vol.2 resets their character development and pits them against each other, for no other reason than to tell a similar story to the first one. They act horrible to each other, and not just a faux-horribleness that close friends act out with each other. The Guardians are genuinely mean to each other. For one, it’s unnecessary. For two, it’s off-putting. Why did we invest our time in these horrible people? Drax, for example, takes great pleasure in offending Mantis on several occasions. He laughs at his own jokes, so are we supposed to laugh at them? Well, no, not if they’re not funny.
And that’s the other major problem with GOTG vol.2 More often than not, the jokes fail to hit home. Sometimes it’s a case of trying too hard, sometimes it’s a case of the joke just not being funny. I won’t lie, I did laugh more than a few times. But some of the time I cringed at the joke, and other times I failed to raise a smile. Why should we laugh if we’re being told to laugh? I wouldn’t do something just because someone told me to do it (unless that person was my fiancée. Or boss). Drax and company beg us to laugh. When you beg for something, it usually means that you’re desperate.
Actually, that’s how I’d describe GOTG vol.2: desperate. It’s desperate for a forward-looking plot. It’s desperate to top the last one’s action scenes. And it’s desperate for laughs. This desperation fails. Yes, I was vaguely entertained throughout. But after the opening action scene, it’s downhill from there. Compared to, say, Iron Man 2 or Thor: The Dark World, it’s better than average. As MCU sequels go, it’s better than average. But that’s just not good enough, is it? GOTG was science fiction gold. GOTG vol.2 definitely is not.
VERDICT: 6/10. GOTG vol.2 opens in spectacular style, but it’s downhill from there. It’s desperate for laughs and a plot, but fails to execute both.
What do you think of Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2? (2017) Leave your thoughts/opinions below!
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