REVIEW – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets a spot on my year’s best playlist

You know the repeat button on your music player of choice? (Well, unless you’re still rocking a Walkman.) Yeah, this movie deserves you hitting it more than just once.

I still remember going to watch the first Guardians movie. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I hadn’t read the comics, only loved Zoe Saldana (ever since I’d seen her in Vantage Point, I knew she’d be a big deal one day) and didn’t know much about Chris Pratt aside from his stint in Parks and Recreation. Looking back, Guardians of the Galaxy was probably some of the most fun I’d had at a movie in a long time. The music was great, the writing was out of this world, and I – much like everyone else – was sold on Pratt as a leading man.

Fast forward to 2017, and tonight, I found myself in the same boat: most of the cast have returned for round two of one of Marvel’s most recognized and cherished franchises, and I was a bit concerned, because – really…can you capture the magic from the first film, and elevate it with the second? Keep reading for my thoughts!

The goods: Starlord/Peter Quill (Pratt) and his band of merry men (and one woman): Gamora (Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are constantly looking for jobs to take and money to make. When they piss off Sovereign high priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki – you may recognize her from The Great Gatsby with Leonardo di Caprio and Tobey Maguire) they end up crossing paths with a being named Ego (Kurt Russell). It turns out Ego is Quill’s father. Yondu (Michael Rooker) also gets wrapped up in the madness when he tries to go after the Guardians.

While I admit the magic of the first film didn’t completely make it to this one (all the gags and the like are very similar to the first one) the writing, acting and visuals of the sequel are as strong as the first. And, in a world where sequels don’t often hold a candle to predecessors, I think this film did just fine.

I like that they gave Bautista (Drax) a bit more time/script. He was right up there with Pratt in some scenes, and made for another great dimension of comic relief, especially when paired with Mantis (played by Quebecois actress Pom Klementieff). I was worried the writers were going to go the easy route and stick to Groot and Rocket for such relief (those two were so ridiculous – in a good way – in the first film, and it worked) but fortunately they didn’t, giving viewers a few options to enjoy throughout the film. Also – if you can figure out how to get Pac-Man into this film (hell yes they did!) then you get major bonus points from me.

Kurt Russell as Ego, while not top-notch impressive, was pretty good. I liked what he brought to the table, and in a couple of parts, he managed to surprise me. He was a great choice for Ego on various levels, and I’m glad he was a part of this film.

The opening credits are a fairly close second to the opening credits in Deadpool. I won’t spoil them for you, but if you are a fan of Baby Groot, you’ll love ’em. You’ll also see a couple of nuances from the post-credits scene of the first film in the opening, which was a nice tie-in. There are also a lot of cameos, and some really neat post-credits scenes – so stay for those! For those of you who are die-hard comic book fans,  you may enjoy a few of these more than the fair weather film watchers. 😉

In closing, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a solid time at the movies. I had a lot of fun, and that’s why I’m giving it 4.5 out of five. You’re there for the laughs, the action, the visuals, most of the acting, some pretty rough feels, and more! I’ve forgiven the lack of new execution – but had to dock points there. Go see this! I’m definitely going to catch it a few times more in theatres, and it’ll certainly find a home on my Blu Ray shelf once it’s out on home video.

Here’s the trailer!

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