When I heard that Marvel was putting out a comic book movie about aliens, a violent space-raccoon, and a talking tree, I thought they’d lost their minds. Out of all the potential stories they could have picked, why Guardians of the Galaxy?
That was my first thought. Now, I can say without hesitation that these guys are my favorite dysfunctional superheroes. And, yes, Mary Poppins is a pretty cool dude.
Guardians 2 picks up a little while after the first Guardians movie ends. Our favorite little rag-tag team of misfits-turned-good-guys are making a fairly decent living as heroes for hire, even with Groot in toddler form. Personalities still clash on the team and still get them all in trouble, which is how they end up on the run from a gold-plated race of supremacists called The Sovereign. But before The Sovereign can kill them, a strange alien being bursts on the scene and saves them. His name is Ego, and he is Star-Lord’s absent biological father, who was only hinted at in the first movie as something very ancient.
Behind the scenes, Star-Lord’s old buddies the Ravagers want him dead for betraying them. Also let’s not forget Gamora’s sister, Nebula, who is bound and determined to kill her sister and their father, Thanos. All the little subplots and side-stories twist and twine together to make a truly beautiful story about family, friendship, and the cost of doing the right thing.
Everyone from the first Guardians movie (2014) is back in Volume 2, including Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Karen Gillan, along with Michael Rooker. Plus we get a whole bunch of new faces like Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Kurt Russell as Ego (aka Star-Lord’s father), Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) as Ayesha, and even Sylvester Stallone!
Plus there are a few cameos from familiar faces like Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, David Hasselhoff, Jeff Goldblum, Seth Green, and Michael Rosenbaum! And those are just the ones I recognized. And, of course, Stan Lee.
What I Liked
I had high expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, and while I can’t honestly say I think it’s better than the first movie, it will certainly rank as one of the best movies of 2017. It’s rare for a story to make me cry, and Guardians 2 did that–twice. Once from laughing and again from the sheer emotion of the characters and their relationships with each other.
As expected, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord is an amazing element of the story, and I was really surprised by the depth and range of emotions he was able to portray. Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer also deepened his portrayal in this film as opposed to the first one, and so did Michael Rooker’s Yondu Udonta.
Yondu surprised me more than anyone else, mainly because we finally get a glimpse of his true self. And his true self is pretty awesome. Just saying.
But more than any other character, Karen Gillan’s Nebula was the highlight for me. Nebula was very much a side character in the first movie, but even with a few lines and a few minutes of screen time, she made the most of her performance. And in Volume 2, Nebula plays a far more important role, and the heart-wrenching scenes between her and her sister, Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, made me cry more than once. Tremendous, tremendous kudos to Karen Gillan.
And, of course, Baby Groot. Groot was my favorite in the first movie, and Baby Groot has stolen that spot for the second as well. He adds just the right amount of cute and sass without being corny, and he’s sort of the glue that holds all these crazy people together.
What I Didn’t
There’s very little I didn’t like about Guardians of the Galaxy 2. But I probably ought to mention the increased crudeness in case there are any families with young children out there who are thinking about going to see it. There was nothing horribly offensive, but everyone generally relaxed their standards on language in Volume 2, as compared to the first movie.
Again, nothing gratuitous. But they certainly pushed the envelope of acceptable as far as language and subject matter goes in some interactions, though none of it was out of character for anyone in the movie.
Should You See It
Are you kidding? Yes! Go see it!
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is a hilarious, out-of-this-world adventure that tackles some super heavy subjects like family and loss and abandonment and sacrifice, and it even touches on the concept of being a dad and what it looks like and what it means. But even though the topics are heavy, not once does the story feel heavy. There’s way too much laughter happening for this movie to be weighty.
And I promise, you’ll never look at Mary Poppins the same way again.