Who would have thought Guardians of the Galaxy would work? Nobody even knew who James Gunn was. Not unless you are a serious horror fan. Knowing this makes me hopeful not only about bringing to the big screen, obscure Marvel characters, but also about unlikely director-superhero movie pairings. Jon Watts best known for the indie thriller Cop Car, and horror film Clown, is the director behind Spider-Man: Homecoming set to be released this July. Thor: Ragnarok will be helmed by Taika Waititi whose horror comedy What We Do In The Shadows is one of movies I cannot not talk about without grinning like a maniac. I was a little less enthused by his most recent work, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which nevertheless became among the top grossing films in his home country, New Zealand. But yeah, I acknowledge the charming quality of this particular movie of his. Anyway, I am excited to see how he’ll handle the hammer wielding son of Odin. So all I am saying is, there are other directors besides Zack Snyder. Haha. Okay, I am getting sidetracked. Back to The Guardians of the Galaxy. It was very well received, as far as I can remember. But was it so unusually good to the point that it’s just be a sophomore slump waiting to happen?
I am going to point blank say that NO. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is nowhere near any kind of slump. It still has the trappings of a sequel, that is, the explosions are bigger, the fight scenes louder, and color pallete, bolder. But it is far from just being an unfeeling display of special effects and choreography, and a money-grab. It is affectionate and warm, and made with a whole lot of passion and a heaping of nostalgia. And James Gunn managed to give more depth to each of the characters, however little they may have been for some of them. We learn more about Rocket’s self-destructive tendencies and how he tends to push people away the moment they start to feel like family. And perhaps the contentious relationship between Nebula and Gamora has already been explained in the first film, still we get a dramatic monologue and some bad-ass fight scenes as further explanation. Drax too reveals nothing that we do not already know of him. But still, he manages to tell a really sweet, funny story about his family that will make you love him more, if that’s even possible. And then there’s Yondu. Yondu’s story will tear your heart apart, almost like being pierced by one of his whistle-responding arrows. I cried, my sister cried, my nephew probobly cried but he just won’t admit it. And everybody just seems more at ease this time around too. The interaction between the cast is more relaxed, I can tell.
And as always the soundtrack is amazing. Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 2 is nothing short of well, “awesome”. There is a skillful use of both soundtrack and score because they don’t end up as mere background noise, but they enhance the scene. That and because I have always been in love with decade music and the genius that is Cat Stevens. And the visuals are stunning too. James Gunn’s retro stylings is just an absolute joy to look at. And then there are the jokes. They’re pretty much wall to wall this time around. And while some of them tend to be long playing, and sometimes delivered out-of-character, still, I say the majority of the jokes are a hit. As evidenced by my nephew who was reduced to hysterics for most the movie’s gags. Especially those involving baby groot. Because it is just impossible to resist baby groot. Trust me.
Spectacle is a superhero movie stapple. I expect that. I ooh and aahh, and just revel in the coolness of the swishing capes, and the crunching punches. But what I do not expect is that deep seated satisfaction of having seen a really good film, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gives both!
Rating: 5/5 Stars