DISCLAIMER: I have not read any of the Marvel comic books so everything in this post is based on the Marvel films or Google searching. I do not claim to be an expert or have a full understanding of the Marvel universe, this review is just my thoughts. This review will contain spoilers!!
I went to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy film last night and after discussing many aspects of it more in-depth on the walk home with my boyfriend; I decided to write a review of it. If you haven’t seen the film, then this review might not be for you as it will contain spoilers. Consider yourself warned. If you don’t mind spoilers, then read on!
I really enjoyed the first Guardians of the Galaxy, released 3 years ago. I thought Peter Quill aka Star Lord was a funny character, I loved Gamora’s kick-ass attitude, Drax’s literal understanding of life and Groot full stop. C’mon, who didn’t love Groot and his relationship with Rocket? I also liked the story line and general humour throughout (as I have come to expect with Marvel films). All of this translated well into the second film with the characters working well together while still maintaining the bickering nature of a family, something that people can relate to (albeit with a lot more violence…).
LAST CHANCE – SPOILERS AHEAD
The second movie sees Quill finally meeting his father, Ego, after wondering who he was all his life. Ego saves them from a fleet of angry and betrayed Sovereign and invites them to his planet to explain everything to Quill. After some doubts, Quill begins to trust his father and learns more about his matter manipulating capabilities as the son of a Celestial being. Unfortunately, Ego has grand ideas to take over all planets, as an extension of himself, and requires Quill to do this. After finding out that Ego killed his mother, he and the rest of the Guardians work to get rid of him to stop him from killing off the rest of the galaxy for his own gain. In amongst all of this, Yondu, Quill’s ‘surrogate father’ and a Ravager, is paid to collect the Guardians on behalf of the Sovereign but ends up helping them to fight against Ego, ultimately ending in his death.
As you can see, there is a lot going on and at times, it felt like there was too much going on. It’s not a case of struggling to keep up with the storylines but it just seemed too heavy and trying to throw too much into the one film. It also seemed like they were trying too hard with the comedy. Although I thought most of the jokes were really funny and that the cast delivered them well, it felt like it was all too much in the film overall and a bit forced. Was I the only one that didn’t think all the jokes about Taserface were that funny? I appreciated Rocket’s initial assessment and mocking but I thought it went on too long.
I also love Groot and I think Baby Groot is adorable but the opening scene with him dancing around while his teammates fight a huge beast in the background went on too long too. It was entertaining that they all kept checking in on him when they were thrown in his direction but it just seemed odd and a bit stretched.
There were also a few scenes throughout the film that seemed out of character in comparison to the first film. Rocket is very clever and good at picking up on nuances but suddenly he doesn’t understand Quill’s sarcasm and is incapable of making cheeky remarks without getting them all into trouble with his ‘winking’ with the wrong eye. And Drax, who was known for taking everything literally, seemed to be completely removed from that in some scenes, although he was clearly still ‘awkward’ and offensive. I’m not saying that people can’t change/adapt or can’t have the odd ‘stupid’ moment but to me, it just seemed like a stark difference from the first film.
And the Sovereign just seemed like a random added plot line to make things difficult for the heroes without seeming to add anything to the progression of the plot or the characters (other than helping Rocket realise he was an idiot for stealing the batteries in the first place and that he didn’t need to push away people he cared about). In the end, all of their ships are destroyed and nothing comes from it. I have since watched one of the five (yes, FIVE) after credits scenes and found out that there will be more to that in the future but it seemed an odd set up for this film to introduce them for a future plot line.
Now, that’s enough complaining. Here are some of the aspects of the film that I enjoyed.
I appreciated getting the back story for Yondu, his exile from the Ravagers, and his reasons for seemingly kidnapping Quill and not returning him to his father. I wasn’t really a fan of him in the first film but after learning more about him and seeing him open up to Rocket to almost try to stop him from making the same mistakes he had, I was quite emotionally attached. And how can you not love his arrow? Controlled by his heart and his whistle to cause so much damage. It was really sad when he sacrificed himself for Quill, despite it building up to that point, but I was really pleased that he was given a proper Ravager funeral.
I enjoyed seeing more of Drax too. Although he was quite horrible to Mantis, Ego’s ‘pet’, I thought that his character had developed quite well in the time that he had been with the other Guardians and appreciated his affection for his fellow teammates, even if he was often insulting towards them. It’s difficult to tell if he was brutally honest or just being a jerk sometimes but I did enjoy seeing more of him.
It was good to see the development of Quill’s character too. He was more vulnerable in this film, talking to Gamora about pretending David Hasselhoff was his father, having his crush on Gamora exposed and laughed at and opening up, to some extent, to Gamora about his feelings for her. He is still the usual funny, cheeky character who is stuck in past with his memories of Earth (a little bit like Captain America) but there seemed to be a bit more to him here. Particularly given the rollercoaster of finding his father, having to kill him, realising Yondu’s true status as his father, and then losing him too. He had a lot to deal with!
It was interesting to find out more about Gamora and Nebula’s relationship too. It was pretty awful to hear the brutality around their competition with each other forced on them by Thanos and the consequences of Nebula’s defeats. The rivalry and disgust for each other was obvious in the first film but to hear more about it like this in the second was horrible. For all their verbal desire to kill each other, they both knew they couldn’t do it, which is somewhat reminiscent of Thor and Loki’s relationship. Nebula’s confession of just wanting a sister was quite heart-wrenching and I was glad to see them move in a positive direction by the end of the film.
I appreciated all the Easter eggs (that I knew, there were ones that went over my head), references to Mary Poppins and Despicable Me and the overall vintage video gaming theme. I particularly liked that Quill manipulated the rocks to ‘turn himself into’ Pac Man in the final battle and that the Sovereign fought the Guardians remotely like in a video game, along with the noises and overall frustration at losing. Although it seemed somewhat odd to me, I also enjoyed Sylvester Stallone’s appearance as Stakar Ogord, captain of one of the Ravager clans. It was funny to see David Hasselhoff cameo too, given how often he was brought up throughout the film, and of course, there was Stan Lee, as per usual.
Although I think I preferred the first one because it seemed fresh and original, and different from the other Marvel movies, i.e. Iron Man and Captain America, albeit along the same lines, I liked Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It was funny and interesting, it gave back story that I wasn’t aware of and character development that I enjoyed and I can’t pretend that I wasn’t pretty enthralled the whole way through the film. I think it’s safe to say that I will be buying Volume 2 on DVD and watching it again.