Benjamin Maio Mackay
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - 3.5 Stars
Despite a weak first act, the sequel to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is still a wonderful, eccentric superhero offering.
Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.
The first film was a surprise to everyone, it was an enjoyable romp that far exceeded anyone, including Marvel’s expectations. The sequel had a lot to live up to and while there are some great moments it isn’t quite as good. However, it certainly isn't bad - with the exception of The Incredible Hulk Marvel really haven’t made a bad film…yet.
The opening hour has a lot of pacing issues, after very quickly splitting the team up there is an uneven amount of cutting back and forth and diving from emotional scenes to comedic scenes - then you get an onslaught of just emotional scenes. The pacing doesn’t work and therefore any impact on the audience is lost, as they get thrown from one scene to the next.
As soon as the primary villain is revealed the pace evens out and I even shed a tear at the emotional and explosive conclusion. Michael Rooker is by far the best performer on screen, his character completely re-writes his first film history in the best possible way. Kurt Russell is also excellent as Ego, while Vin Diesel yet again surprises as the exceptionally cute Baby Groot.
Zoe Sadana and Karen Gillan aren’t given enough to work with and Dave Bautista steals every scene he’s in. Chris Pratt is the lead and I’m getting a little tired of him playing the same character in every role he takes. It’d be interesting to see him do something a little different, but I can’t fault him at being a goofy action here - that’s clearly his wheelhouse.The rest of the cast is fairly strong, with the exception of Sylvester Stallone, who really didn’t need to be there.
The soundtrack is perfect and the visuals are stunning - the new worlds James Gunn has created are exquisite and his ability to write comedic dialogue is excellent. The 5 post-credit scenes, do actually exist and there’s at least two that could’ve been left out. Howard the Duck also makes a return appearance, which I’m sure will once again divide fans.
Overall despite a messy start the film still delivers laughs, action and a surprising emotional touch.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Walt Disney Entertainment