I do enjoy the Marvel movies. I like them a lot, but I find they don’t really have much repeat value, meaning I’m basically one and done afterwards. But there is that one exception and that’s the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. I’ve watched that at least 5 times as of now. It’s so different from the other Marvel movies, I love that it feels like a standalone film. I liked the idea of having every Marvel film connected in some way. But it’s nice to get a break from that and just get something fresh.
Another thing that helps is they tapped James Gunn to write and direct. Kind of like Peter Jackson after his giant mainstream The Lord of the Rings films, I bet a lot of people checked out his later filmography, getting horrified by it.
James Gunn is kind of the same way. Before Guardians, he was working with Troma. I say working, but Troma doesn’t actually pay people. If you’re lucky you might get a Toxic Avenger t-shirt.
He really broke into the mainstream with his Scooby-Doo scripts. How much was actually used, I don’t know. They’re pretty terrible films, but if you’re a James Gunn fan, you’ll find a way to defend them.
Guardians wasn’t Gunn’s first venture into superheroes either. His first being The Specials and my personal favorite Super. A story about a mentally unstable man who beats people half to death with a wrench.
So clearly James Gunn was the right pick to do their family friendly comic book movie.
As much as I loved the first Guardians film, I did have some minor issues with it. Mostly with how it ended. Them holding hands, using the power of friendship to defeat the bad guy. But that was just a small blemish on an otherwise pretty flawless film.
So how does vol. 2 stand up to the first film?
When I first saw the film I had more issues with it. But now after thinking about it, letting the film really resonate a bit, I’m a bit more ok with what I thought were “issues”.
The weird thing about this sequel is… so the tropes to any sequel are, it has to be bigger. Everything must be bigger and louder! More action! Maybe character development takes a bit of a backseat this time around, we needed that in the first film, but this time let’s just give you more action. Thankfully a few of the Marvel films have really bucked that notion.
I really didn’t care for the first Captain America film. But damn, that sequel…
On the opposite side, the Thor films. I actually liked the first film. A great example of a one and done movie. The sequel on the other hand is kind of terrible. It might be the worst MCU film to date. Second being Ant-Man. Another film that bucks the sequel tradition is the Ironman films. Two being kind of terrible… actually, that one might be worse than Ant-Man , so I’ll move it down to the 3rd worst MCU film.
But the third Ironman sequel I think might be the best. It was about Tony discovering the Ironman suit wasn’t what made him a hero. Hell, he’s barely in the suit throughout most of it. Except for the end where he uses every suit he’s ever made…
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, James Gunn bucks tradition once again and really focuses on character development. Sure, there are a few things that have been amped up this go around, but you get to know these characters even more. And as a viewer, you’re going to need that, getting you invested emotionally is necessary. Even if it is just a CGI raccoon.
But this film isn’t all drama. They really seemed to have amped up the comedy as well. Drax essentially becoming nothing but comic relief. In the first film he has a kind of tragic backstory, but he could always get a laugh out of you. In vol. 2, all the big laughs came directly from him. Like at the beginning where he refuses to wear this jet suit Rocket made for the team because he has sensitive nipples. Which comes into play later when at the end he is forced to wear it, yelling “my nipples!” as he jets off into the sky.
Drax is fucking hilarious in this, he outshines everybody. Hell, I think the only time Star-Lord got a laugh out of me was when he called Rocket a trash panda.
Another great addition I thought was Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff. Who is beautiful. I bring that up because Drax finds her hideous and constantly tells her so to her face. Don’t worry, Mantis you are beautiful… on the inside.
Another surprising character is Yondu, played by James Gunn favorite Michael Rooker.
I guess I should get into the plot. Obviously this is going to have spoilers, so don’t bother complaining later. Here, I’ll make it easier for you.
WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
It’s been a few months since the events of the first film took place. The Guardians have taken a job defending batteries from a monster from an alternate dimension. These are really important batteries, guys.
This fight acts as our opening credits. Instead of focusing on the battle, we watch as Baby Groot dances around. Marvel must love James Gunn for coming up with Baby Groot. I mean, that has your kid’s new favorite toy written all over it.
I love the fact that Baby Groot kind of hates Drax. He’s always whipping him with his vines, which only makes Drax laugh.
When finally killing the monster, Rocket steals some of the batteries he was hired to protect. The race that hired them, a race of gold people, are quick to get offended. So when Rocket steals from them, they send their whole army after them.
The whole reason they took the job was so they could get their hands on Nebula, Gamora’s evil sister. They plan on collecting the bounty on her head.
Rocket screws the whole thing up for the team, now having to flee the planet with thousands of drone ships firing at them. Which sound like arcade games when being piloted. That was one gripe I had at the beginning. Why do they sound like an arcade at the mall from the 90’s?
Anyway, their ship is shot down, but not before crash landing on a nearby planet. Greeting them is Ego, Star-Lord’s father.
All this happens in the first 15 minutes of the film. Which had me worried. It felt like things were moving way too damn quickly.
The team splits up, Star-Lord being pissed at Rocket for starting this whole unnecessary mess. Star-Lord AKA Peter Quill goes with his dad, accompanying him is Gamora and Drax.
Rocket has to stay behind to try and get the ship working again so he can take Nebula in to collect her bounty. Baby Groot is there too, but he’s basically useless.
Because of Yondu’s connection with Star-Lord, the gold people make him the offer of collecting the batteries and bring them the heads of the guardians.
Yondu’s crew sees him going soft, not wanting to follow his orders anymore. We’re talking mutiny. The other Ravager groups, space pirates, look down on Yondu because he broke the golden rule. He trafficked kidnapped kids.
Yondu of course takes the job, finding Rocket almost immediately. Not before Rocket takes out a few of the Ravagers with a few booby-traps.
Yondu just wants to take the batteries and sell them, but the rest of his crew want to collect the full bounty, leading to a revolt and Yondu, Rocket and Baby Groot being captured.
Meanwhile, Peter is getting to know his dad. He shows the team his planet, which is him. The planet is Ego. He tells Peter that they’re basically gods. Little g.
Peter is ecstatic, he’s going to use his powers to make some weird shit, his words. The person talking in front of them is just a human representation. It isn’t real. In flashbacks, we get to see Ego with Peter’s mom. Ego has planted something on earth. A little piece of him. A sapling.
He’s been doing this to planets across the galaxy. He branched off from his planet to find other life in the galaxy, but found the life he discovered to be… disappointing.
So he came up with a plan to just make all life him. But he needs more energy to do this, that’s why he needs Peter. He’s basically a human battery. What is with this battery theme? Gunn must have been looking for batteries while writing this and somehow found a way to incorporate it into the script.
Back on the Ravagers ship, Rocket and Yondu are jailed by the new leader Taserface. A name that strikes fear in… mostly it just makes people snicker.
Baby Groot on the other hand is too cute to be sold off or jailed. So he gets free rein on the ship. Rocket and Yondu try to get him to set them free, but Baby Groot is too… well, dumb. He’s a baby! Babies are stupid.
Thankfully, James Gunn’s brother shows up, Sean Gunn. He went along with the mutiny but they killed all his friends, so fuck Taserface. He sets them all free and watches as Yondu kills everyone. He must take out at least 60 people with his psychic needle thing. Bodies drop everywhere. He murders EVERYONE!
Now it’s off to rescue Peter!
Turns out Yondu didn’t turn Peter over to Ego because he found out what was happening to the other kids he brought him. Ego has been spreading his seed everywhere, hoping a child would be born with his powers, none of them were. So they outlived their usefulness, killing them.
Ego of course doesn’t hide any of this. He’s a fucking planet, he named himself Ego for fucksake. He even tells Peter he was the one that put a tumor in his mom’s head. I mean, if you want your son’s cooperation, maybe don’t mention that. Seeing as he’s been hung up on it for many years now. Also don’t destroy the only memento he has of her, the cassette player. Don’t worry, he later upgrades to a Zune.
The teams come together, helping to defeat Ego, using the batteries Rocket stole to blow up the core of the planet, which is Ego’s brain. They’re on a ticking clock, the saplings Ego planted on the planets are blooming, covering the worlds…
The Guardians also have to fight off the gold people’s drones, so there’s a whole bunch of shit everyone has to deal with. And I’ll leave you there. You want to know how it ends, just go see the movie.
I did enjoy this film greatly. It was a blast. It did feel to me that Peter aka Star-Lord took a bit of a backseat this time around, letting others shine. The film also has like 4 different after credit scenes. Which felt really unnecessary.
The film ends with a close up of Rocket crying. And that’s all we really needed. Sure it was a bit somber, but they undercut that with Sean Gunn comically trying to use Yondu’s psychic needle, stabbing Drax in the process.
I also didn’t really get alot of the references this time around. It seemed to be really geared towards diehard fans of the comics. I caught Howard the Duck. I got that reference! But who were Sylvester Stallone and company playing? I looked it up, they’re meant to be the original Guardians I guess. Which doesn’t really make sense for the movie…
I also had to look up what the other last ambiguous ending meant. The gold queen makes Adam Warlock. Who I guess is really important, especially for the Infinity War saga. But all that just went over my head, like most of these stingers.
Stan Lee I think had maybe the best cameo. I won’t spoil it, but it’s pretty great. I could have used less David Hasselhoff. Yes, David Hasselhoff is in this. He’s Peter’s father figure. It’s a good think Peter left earth in the 80’s because I think he’d be pretty disappointed if he saw him eating a hamburger on the floor drunk.
I highly recommend this one. Check it out!
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