Minor spoilers ahead!
Also, when discussing the film and story details, please be considerate of others who have yet to see the sequel via adding spoiler tags (e.g. <spoiler>spoiler</spoiler>) in the comment section down below.
After the huge box office success from yet another movie based on a fourth-tier marvel comic, Guardians of the Galaxy has return but like most first sequels, it’s more ambitious than the previous film. But is ambition good enough to surpass the 2014 blockbuster hit both critically and commercially?
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, the gang is back in town but this time, they are up against a new enemy Ayesha who is the leader of a race of gold skinned humanoids called the Sovereign (Hmm, “gold skinned”, sounds familiar…) thanks to Rocket resort back to his old ways despite being a “Guardian” steals valuable power source as in batteries. A pissed off and piss colored Ayesha, dispatches unmanned drones in a hilarious spoof on videogame culture, to ambush Rocket and his teammates only to have her attack diverted thanks to a mysterious stranger riding atop an egg-shaped vessel.
The “savior” revealed himself to be Peter Quill’s Father-Ego a god like celestial being as obviously hinted from the movie’s prologue invites Quill, Gamora and Drax to his planet. But what lie behinds Ego’s true intentions for this family reunion? Could it be to groom Starlord as an heir and succeeding protector of the universe or something sinister?
Despite my skepticism going in due to the first film’s screenwriter Nicole Perlman being ousted from the sequel, I really enjoyed Volume 2. It’s more of what you have seen from the first GOTG film however, the focus is primarily based on Peter Quill’s arc and there are some amazing revelations between him and his omnipotent daddy. Kurt Russell (Ego) delivers a fantastic performance and is a welcomed addition to the MCU. I was amazed at how convincing the CGI effects were implemented when creating a young Kurt during the prologues. This is way above what was seen in previous films such as X-Men3’s younger Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. Imagine a sequel to Escape from New York using these effects, instead of yet another unnecessary remake. But allow me to digress a bit.
The special effects and set pieces a twice as good as the first not because of explosions and ship battles but majestic scenery as in Ego’s landscape and his palace is a sight to behold. It’s as if they were referenced from legendary Writer and Artist; Jim Starlin’s designs. Brilliant trippy aesthetics regardless if you are watching it in 3D or that old undisputed format-Two Dimensional!
Russell makes Ego seem likable and trusting due to his grounded nature while reminiscing about Quill’s departed mother accompanied by dialogue like Patrick Bateman’s rather song trivia, then drops a bombshell which I cannot reveal to those who have yet to see Vol.2 and man, is it a jaw dropper!
Other notable appearances are Sylvester Stallone who also makes his debut within the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Starhawk, Yondu’s mentor and true leader of the Ravagers. There’s an abundance of Easter eggs thrown about and fans of the comic will experience a few goosebumps throughout.
When it comes to humor and there is a huge abundance of it, Drax is the scene stealer in this one. Sure, both Rocket and “Baby Groot” have their share of the spotlight but Dave Bautista’s Drax had us cackling it up thanks to his condescending nature especially between a potential romance between him and Ego’s empath and pet-Mantis. Practically, almost every major character got a chance to shine and that includes Yondu who is a real badass. At first, I wasn’t very happy with Michael Rooker as the Blue alien archer but this guy gave a more humanistic portrayal that outdoes anything I have read from the fictional hero during the comics. I laughed my ass off when that sneaky bastard Gunn, parodied the iconic scene from the Avengers when the group joined together when facing a major threat. XD
Here are a few critiques: Part of the narrative had the central protagonist splitting apart ala 1996’s cult classic Transformers: The Movie and like said animated feature, there are plenty of songs/mixtape from various recording artists thrown in but unlike Transformers, they weren’t that impressive and some like Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” was poorly implemented during action sequences. But I have to give props for both Brandy and especially Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr.Blue Sky” during the film’s quirky intro reminding me of GIJoe: The Movie’s spectacular opening sequence. Well played!
This sequel is not without other minor flaws such as borrowing scenarios from other films be it Empire Strikes Back, Blade or Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan well, if you’re gonna imitate, at least do it from the best and that, Gunn and co have!
I was a bit annoyed at the catharsis of Gamora and Nebula’s arc due to it resulting as an all-too familiar trope however, the overall context of GOTG Vol.2 is about family and redemption, so I can’t really chalk the narrative as being flawed.
If you like the first Guardians, you’ll like or even love the second film. With its quirkiness, heart tugging moments and cosmic retro vibes straight out of Jim Starlin’s 70’s and 90’s era, you’re in for a treat!
Warning: Unless you really have to go to the restroom during the credits, stick around to the very end because there is a total of five, yes FIVE post credit strings with one being the most important for fans who demanded the inclusion of a certain cosmic superhero! Praise be.
Wanna know what’s missing from the Mixtape vol 2’s Soundtrack??