Logan Thomson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Now that it’s not April Fool’s, I can talk about a movie without dialing the sarcasm to an eleven.
I rewatched the two Guardians of the Galaxy movies recently(and no, not as a part of an MCU marathon), and wow are they good. Shocker, I know, but watching them again, I really noticed how solid the the writing and characterization of the leads are. These movies, and this one especially, do such a good job of presenting these flawed, screwed up people and pushing them to their emotional breaking point.
Initially on first viewing, I wasn’t a fan of the pacing and thought things generally slowed down in the second act where a lot of it was really talky and not leading to anything meaningful. I realized how much of a dumbass I was rewatching this; there’s tons of fantastic character work here. When the film isn’t showcasing crazy visuals and fantastic action scenes set to these nostalgic pieces of 70s era music, there’s a genuine, successful attempt to make you care about what’s going on.
All of the characters have a fulfilling arc or narrative purpose. Whether it’s Peter accepting the Guardians as his new family, Gamora actually being able to open up to other people, Rocket realizing the consequences of his self-destructive behavior, or even Yondu coming into his own as the one true unsung hero of the film(he’s Marry Poppins, y’all!), the faith Marvel Studios and writer/director James Gunn have in these characters and stories shines about as bright as it can here.
Vol. 2 is basically the first film but more of it, and I mean that in the best way possible. While the first has a better structured and more focused script, the overall story and sense of thematic purpose is much stronger in the sequel. In my eyes, these two films are the best of what this series of Marvel movies have to offer, and probably won’t be topped anytime soon.
Unless it’s Vol. 3. Then, it’ll be as good.