By: Mike Massotto
The first Guardians of the Galaxy came out of nowhere. No one had heard of this ragtag superhero group except for avid comic fans, and even then the Guardians of the Galaxy dwelled under the shadow of the likes of the Avengers, X-Men, and Fantastic Four. That being said, the first Guardians movie was certainly a success. With unique characters, a semi-spoofy tone, and a more vibrant and colorful approach than the cinematography from the Avengers, Guardians was a necessary change in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Due to everything the first one got right, I went into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with the same high expectations. While it wasn’t as bad as Batman vs. Superman or the newest Fantastic Four, this was definitely a disappointing sequel to one of my favorite superhero ensembles as of late.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2’s plot is near irrelevant, as all you need to know is the title: they are saving the galaxy. But instead of trying to protect the Infinity Stones, a set of artifacts that will soon be very important in the Marvel movies, they are saving the Galaxy from Ego (Kurt Russell). Ego, an obvious name for an antagonist, is a god-like figure that claims to be the long lost father of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s leader, Star Lord (Chris Pratt). The plot lacked complexity; however, this alone isn’t horrible, as the first movie was not plot heavy either.
The characters in Guardians 2 are simultaneously amazing and terrible. In the second film, some of the characters have revealed themselves to be one dimensional and narratively useless, while others have risen to the top and gained more development than even some of the Avengers. The biggest disappointment in regards to characters is Drax (Dave Bautista). I remember Drax being one of the funniest parts of the first Guardians movie, and the few times he interacted with the other characters were hilarious, as he didn’t fully understand human idioms, sayings, and other concepts. This praise must have gone to the scriptwriter’s head however, as Drax not only talks too much in Guardians 2, but isn’t funny at all. The humor is flat and is told almost exclusively in dialogue. There also seems to be a similar character in Mantis (Pom Klementieff), who has an identical archetype: too literal and unaware of human social concepts. It isn’t even clear as to what Mantis’ role is, as all she does in the entire movie is warn the protagonists of the main threat, repels Ego for about ten minutes, then is knocked unconscious for the last half hour of the movie. In all honesty, I feel that if she had been given time to shine in a way distinctly different from Drax’s brand of humor, she would have been a better character overall. The last character that finishes the trifecta of unsatisfactory roles is Nebula (Karen Gillan). She was a side villain in the first movie, a servant for Thanos and sister of Star Lord’s love interest, Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Nebula herself wasn’t a bad character, however, but her relevance to the plot was. She was supposed to be a misguided warrior attempting to kill Gamora, whom she blames for Thanos’ torture of her during her youth when he was training Nebula to become equal to Gamora in physical performance. Instead she was seen as a revenge-mongering psycho who appears out of nowhere to wreak havoc for 15 minutes, before she grudgingly decides to aid the Guardians when fighting Ego.
This begs the question: which characters were good? The first one that comes to mind is Yondu (Michael Rooker), a scoundrel who is Star Lord’s sketchy father figure. Although his character development would largely be a spoiler this early after the release, he is by far the best character in the entire movie. Yondu grew as a character tremendously, first with a tragic fall from power and then an awakening of moral righteousness. Honorable mentions go to Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), who in the narrative at first appeared to simply be a bully of a character and nothing more, but grew to be a better friend to the Guardians through interactions with Yondu.
In regards to the visuals, they were the same as any triple-A movie. Although the colorful style of Guardians was still there, I felt the colors had gotten stale. It might not be the visuals faults themselves, but the less likeable comedy combined with the visual presentation may have made Guardians 2 seem corny. In addition, the first Guardians is known for its stellar soundtrack and the integration of that soundtrack into the plot. Unfortunately the integration part wasn’t as well thought out, but the soundtrack itself was nice.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did not live up to its expectations. The comedy wasn’t as creative, but it had it’s moments. Some of the characters declined in quality, while others were greatly enhanced. Guardians 2 gives the feeling that this movie could have been so much better, but the bad content hinders and weighs down the great aspects of the movie. Under these grounds, I issue Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 a 6/10. That’s all folks!
Categories: Arts & Reviews