Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
The Guardians of the Galaxy return, in this larger than life sequel to the 2014 breakout hit of the same name, with the team gaining new members and learning about themselves along the way. Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, finds himself at a turning point when he meets his estranged father after his team crash lands on an alien planet; this leads to a series of events separating the crew and sparking the film’s plot. While this may sound appealing, not all is well in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the fifteenth film in the MCU, and certainly feels like it, despite being a sequel to one of its most well-received films. The seemingly new and inventive feel introduced in the first Guardians film comes off as old and tired in its sequel.
The extravagant attempt to develop the film’s characters only ends up creating scenes that are merely excuses for large exposition dumps. As opposed to developing the characters over the course of the film gradually, multiple scenes try to reach for your heartstrings. These scenes consist of one long monologue from a character and then either a sullen response or a joke thrown in at the end, which not only kills the mood but tries to tell the audience—very blatantly—how they should feel.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’s sense of humor is yet another weak point, as it tries to win over the audience with a non-stop barrage of jokes throughout every scene—especially during scenes with emotional levity as with Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, and Star-Lord, when their romantic relationship is developed on Ego’s planetary surface. The emotional energy in this scene is abruptly squandered as they make small quips about misunderstanding human implications. This does not change either as the film progresses, with the tried and true—and yet increasingly stale—Marvel formula. Guardians of the Galaxy was able to break free from this formula, but in doing so it created a new formula for future films in the franchise.
The soundtrack here is also forced into every nook and cranny as if to remind the audience that it is there, and ultimately overtakes the actual scoring in the film to the point of being obnoxious. Comparing this to the first film, in which the soundtrack was an accessory to the story, makes it clear that in the sequel it is just blind, formulaic nostalgia. These songs also cover up the tone of multiple scenes with faux nostalgia as multiple identical shots of main characters walking in slow motion towards the camera play out to an old hit in the background.
As the credits roll on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it doesn’t actually seem to end as five post-credits scenes are thrown at the audience in rapid succession, mostly there only to build hype for future possibilities and take the audience’s focus off of the film they just saw. A prime example of this is the inclusion of the alien race, the Sovereign, in the film. Seemingly there to serve as the first act opener, they continue to show up in the film later on, and are only be truly relevant because of a post-credits scene.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is anything but a good sequel, as it tries to tread new ground with its predecessors’ same formula. This causes it to seemingly collapse under its own weight as it crams in far too many vacuous expositional scenes disguised as character building. On top of needless music cues, and stale comedy, the film offers nothing new to the table that wasn’t already present in the first film, and despite the imaginative world in which the Guardians franchise takes place, it is anything but in this failed follow up.