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REVIEW – ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is Totally Rad

When the first Guardians of the Galaxy film was announced, people were pretty skeptical.

The Guardians were definitely one of Marvel’s D-list superhero teams, and taking the (then fledgling) Marvel Cinematic Universe into the utterly trippy and bizarre Marvel Comics cosmos was definitely a risk. Would people buy that these far out characters existed in the same universe as the more grounded Avengers?

Thankfully, the first film delivered (thanks to the wacky genius of director James Gunn and a stellar cast) and ushered in a much, much larger Marvel Universe for Kevin Feige and company to play in. This will culminate in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, with that movie seeing every Marvel hero introduced in the MCU teaming up to battle Thanos for control of the known universe.

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The first film was a surprise hit, so naturally a sequel was announced. And it’s even more far out than its predecessor, pulling in some of the oddest characters in Marvel lore, and ramping up the 1980s aesthetic.

But you know what? It works. The movie is totally rad.

Spoilers ahead, so turn back now!

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The Plot (Cliff Notes Version)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 apparently takes place only a few months after the first film, as the prologue is set in 1980 and we jump ahead 34 years later… so it’s 2014. After a hilariously action-packed intro featuring a lot (a lot) of dancing Baby Groot, we find out that the Guardians were hired by a gold-skinned race called the Sovereign to guard… batteries. There’s a bit of an altercation, Rocket shoots off his mouth and subsequently steals some of those batteries from their clients.

This leads to an action-packed space chase, in which our heroes are saved by Kurt Russell’s Ego. (No, the character is named Ego.)

It turns out that Ego is actually Star Lord’s (Chris Pratt’s) long lost space daddy… but he’s also a planet. Like, a whole planet. He just uses a human body to travel around the cosmos looking for ladies to hook up with. (It runs in the family.)

Long story short, Ego is a bad hombre who wants to expand his consciousness across the entire galaxy using Star Lord’s newfound Celestial powers. And if it kills everybody in the process? Meh, they’re not really that important.

The Guardians of the Galaxy will be appearing in Infinity War next year, so I’m sure you can guess that Ego doesn’t obliterate them or the galaxy.

 

The Good

The film is just fun from start to finish. Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I’ve has this much fun at a movie. There’s a huge suspension of disbelief required for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as it is pretty out there compared to the more grounded Earth-based Marvel Studios movies. But if you just chill out and take it in, the trip is so, so worth it.

There’s much more character development this time around, now that we’ve gotten the introductions out of the way. I was surprised to see so much of Nebula and Yondu, both of which were tertiary villains in the first film. I was even more surprised that I cared about both of these characters, and didn’t think I’d actually want to see more of them in future films.

The 1980s aestetic is epic, and they play it up even more than in the first film. From the opening credits, to the end credits (which looked like a cross Topps playing cards, Capcom NES game inserts and Teen Beat magazine) and everything in-between (including cameos by David Hasselhoff and Pac-Man) this movie screams “I love the 80s!”

Baby Groot totally steals the movie from start to finish (including a mid-credits scene with Teen Groot!)

Mantis (Pom Klementieff) is a welcome addition to the team, and I look forward to seeing more of her in the future.

 

The Bad

There’s really not much I didn’t like about the movie.

One character death impacted more than I thought it would, as I was really looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.

The soundtrack, while good, wasn’t nearly as epic as the first Awesome Mix Tape. However, Starlord is given the “latest” in Earth technology — a Zune MP3 player — which holds a whopping 300 songs. So who knows what a third Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack will be like?

While a David Hasselhoff cameo was funny, I think having him sing the ending theme song was… overkill.

 

The Verdict

See it. See it now. See it on the big screen. Really, it’s everything you’d want in a summer movie.

Oh, and be sure to sit through the credits. There are four or five stingers featuring a lot of cosmic Marvel Universe goodness.

With Spiderman Homecoming and Thor Ragnorok both coming later this year, they’ll be hard pressed to top Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

 

Final Rating 9.5/10

 

 


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