Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★

Sometimes bigger isn't better

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the latest installment in the MCU and is again written and directed by James Gunn, the first Guardians is my favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe film, so when this was announced I was super excited for a majority of the lead up to its release. When I saw the first reviews saying this film was a mess I was a little bewildered as I expected the reviews to be mostly positive with a few minor problems. Hearing respected peers and film fans who went to the advanced screening the night before telling it was disappointing, this forced me to lower my expectations. Walking out I didn't lower them enough it seems as Guardians 2 is very disappointing for me at least. I still liked most of this film and the some stuff was done very well.

This story sees the Guardian's return to saving the galaxy when certain mysteries are unveiled about Star Lord`s parentage. The parts that are very strong in this movie are the emotional, character moments used to further explore the most of the characters upbringings, in fact the whole narratives main theme focuses is on family, whether it's the one you choose or the one you are born with. The comedy is stepped up in this film also making it, in parts, better than the first. The cast is very good as usual and all give their characters the great energy like the first film. A standout in the first film was the use of music and the soundtrack which was iconic. In Vol. 2 they have another great soundtrack however it wasn't as memorable as the first, I don't know if that is because the Awesome Mix this time around was kept secret, or that I have become attached to the first, I’m sure if with a few listens this soundtrack might become just as memorable.

The story is good too, however the way it folds out can end up not being as good or interesting as it seems, I feel that writer/director James Gunn (who I love as a social media presence and filmmaker) was ultimately overwhelmed with ideas for the sequel trying to make it bigger in every way, action, scope, comedy etc. but in reality it comes off as a movie jamming in cool elements without having a story that fits it all coherently. Comic books have no budget in what type of story they want to tell just the limit of imagination, and while Gunn is a massively creative force, I think he may have gone too big letting the ideas and visual style and aesthetic out do the budget he was given, nowhere is this more prevalent in the films final battle, which is a total CG clusterfuck like something out of a Transformers film. This leaves some of the visual effects looking spotty in places because of the amount of CG going on in every other frame. Certain visual effect sequences are spectacular leaving the film with a beautiful colour palette and stunning world/creature creation. Many people have taken issue with Marvel's villains throughout the franchise (with some exceptions), the villain in Vol.2 is no different while the character is played very well and up until a certain point the villain seemed to be a very interesting character until they are given the most cliche and convoluted plan, that kickstarts the pretty long and boring CG final battle.

And yet again Marvel fucks up the post credits scenes, 95% of the post credits from Iron Man 3 could have been put in the movie and no one would have noticed. This movie has five and one of them should have been there. I swear if Spiderman or Thor do this I'm going to be pissed.

Here are some quick Spoiler thoughts

The opening with a young CG Kurt Russell was fucking great, and the reason it worked was because they kept the face moving and always changing the camera angle so your brain never gets used to it and gets creeped out.
The way they handled Yondu`s death was great and I hope they don't bring him back, because that death works, and all the emotional stakes will be wasted if he comes back.
The amount of comic book references and cameos from Howard the Duck, The Watchers and the original Guardians has me excited for the 3rd installment despite this film not being the best.

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