When Guardians of the Galaxy arrived in theaters nearly three years ago, people wondered if a movie about obscure Marvel characters, including a guy with a Walkman and a talking tree, would be as interesting as the Avengers.
Halfway through the movie, they didn’t wonder anymore. A rag-tag team of not-so-heroic people gathered together to repel a major threat was very appealing, and created some new stars.
This week, Volume 2 arrived, and people wondered if this Marvel sequel could pull off a story as good as the first. That’s a difficult task for anyone. Just ask Age of Ultron or Iron Man 2.
This time, James Gunn pulled it off again. Aside from the gang making the wrong people mad, the movie has an interesting story about the need for family and friends while throwing in a diabolical plot for intergalactic domination.
It starts with a guy and his girlfriend having a great time in Missouri in 1980. The guy shows the girl an strange plant that he says will soon bloom all over the universe. She’s also excited she’s in love with an alien. They are Peter Quill/Star-Lord’s parents, Meredith (Laura Haddock) and Ego (Kurt Russell). It all looks beautiful, but don’t be fooled.
Cut to the gang getting rid of a demon for a race called the Sovereign in exchange for getting Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillian), who they plan on taking back to Nova Core for the bounty. Before they leave, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) makes the mistake of stealing some valuable batteries, and the Sovereign starts attacking them. They prove to be a very advanced species, using attack drones instead of attack ships with pilots. Still, they fight like people who own Playstation 3’s.
As usual, they Guardians argue while fighting, especially Peter (Chris Pratt) and Rocket over who’s the better pilot while Gamora (Zoe Saldala) tells them to cut it out. As Drax (David Bautista) points out, they’re not friends, they’re family. He’s more right about that than he knows.
Meanwhile, Yondu (Michael Rooker) is shunned by the other Ravagers, especially Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) because of his . One of the Sovereign hires Yondu to get the the batteries back. How she approaches him is ridiculous, but understandable. You’ll see.
When all seems lost, the Guardians get help from a mysterious man, who is none other than Ego. With him is a strange empath named Mantis (Pom Klementieff). She’s able to learn a lot about the gang, but has some secrets of her own.
Ego invites Peter and Gamora to his planet, and it is a utopia. Ego invites them to stay. Peter, of course, is stunned and joyous over seeing his dad. Gamora suspects something is not right. After a sudden fight with Nebula, they both find out why Ego wants Peter. Let’s say it’s more horrifying than someone trying to dominate the universe…especially if someone wants to do that literally. His alien plants are also part of the plan. Then again, it makes sense for a super-alien named EGO!
Although the movie is getting great response from critics and fans, alike, though some it’s working a bit too hard on being better than the first movie. One example could be the opening credits, where Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is dancing to “Mr. Blue Sky” while the others are battling the beast. Actually, it’s cute and may start a petition to get it to Dancing With the Stars.
The main point is that everyone wants to belong somewhere. Peter wants to know more about his dad, until he learns too much. Nebula’s angry at Gamora because of their sibling rivalry, but really wants to kill Thanos (who we haven’t heard from lately). Their sudden battle at Ego’s Planet has an interesting outcome that could affect their future and that of the MCU. Even Yondu and Rocket learn they have a lot in common.
Everyone is great in this movie. Pratt plays Quill as the rascal he was before, but he feels sadness he never knew his dad. As a child, he even pretended his dad was David Hasslehoff. He’s excited to finally meet Ego, but that goes away when he sees the dark side of his dad. That’s a sign of maturity. Bautista’ Drax is still the strong but not-too-bright guy, but he has some good sensitive scenes with Quill and Mantis.
One great thing about the movie is how it uses the “awesome mix” to drive the story forward. We hear Sam Cooke as Peter tries to seduce Gamora through dancing. She denies there is this “unspoken thing” between them, but it’s more like she doesn’t want it right now. We all hope they can get together, but they’re at the right pace toward that. Also, Yondu gets control of his Whistling Arrow, and the sound of ‘Come A Little Bit Closer” makes the weapon look that much more deadly. Then, when Ego tells Peter too much about his plan, Peter’s decision to support his friends is symbolized by “The Chain.”
The movie has five “post-credit” scenes, but it could have gotten away with three. Still, one of them suggests the Sovereign will send a very unpleasant guy after the Guardians, while another shows Groot and Peter going through some growing pains.
Of course, there’s the Stan Lee cameo, and it’s the oddest one yet.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a great follow-up of the original, with great performances, action and music. It’ll be interesting what role the Guarians will play when they show up in Avengers: Infinity War next year.