Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the 15th film in the juggernaut that is the MCU. The first Guardians film was a massive surprise to all including me. Many people have it as their top MCU film. With that, it’s safe to say that Vol. 2 has a large expectation on it’s shoulders.
My thoughts on the film have swayed very back and forth in the 24 hours since I’ve seen it. When I walked out I was really high on it, however as the hours went on I was getting a little lower and lower, and then it changed again. Is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on the same level as the first film? No, but it didn’t need to be.
Guardians 2 is a different beast. Of all the MCU films, I thought that this one had the most heart of any of them and it was more of a personal story rather than the big galactic space battles we got in the first installment. Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t work without the level of characters that they have and they really understood that they were this franchises biggest asset. What I really liked about the characters was that you could tell time had passed since the last film. Their team dynamic was different, they had different interactions, each character had evolved in some way which felt natural.
While talking about characters, I need to point a few out. Personally I had 2 stand out characters. This however does not count Baby Groot because while I loved every scene with him, it was a given that he was going to be up there with everyone’s favourite characters. But the characters that stood out to me most was Drax and Yondu. They used Yondu so well in this film. Of all the character, he had the most moments of heart and when he was on the screen you could really feel that coming through. Moving onto Drax, I think he was my favourite. He was so perfectly written for in every way. He was the character you could see had evolved the most from the first film and they really took full advantage of him.
There was some really great relationships that took place and built over the movie but one I need to touch on is Gamoa and Nebula. I know a bit of their backstory from the Infinity Gauntlet comic so it is always cool to see them both on screen together. I really liked how they handled their relationship throughout the movie. You understood why they are the way they are towards each other and you got to see them understand each others point of view. By the look of it, their relationship is going to play a big part further down the track so it was really good to see if fleshed out.
Still into characters, I need to talk about the new introductions. Firstly, Sylvester Stallone had a great small role. I wasn’t expecting much from him but I really enjoyed what we did get from him when he was on screen.
Pom Klementieff as Mantis was a great addition to the cast. She played really well off Drax and I think her character was one of the main reasons I enjoyed Drax so much.
I really enjoyed Kurt Russell as Ego. As someone who has a little knowledge on Ego, I was interested to see how they managed to pull him off and I think they did a fairly good job at explaining how a plant is a human.
And finally, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign. Unforunatley this is where I get a bit into the negatives. While I thought Debicki was great as Ayesha and her and the Sovereign were a nice introduction, I felt that they misused the Sovereign a little bit. They were great first act villains however I thought they hung around a bit too long. By the looks of it we are getting more Sovereign in the third installment, which I’m okay with because I want to learn more about them however in this film, their presence felt very out of place in some moments.
Now I have to talk about what had me so unsure about this film. This is the Guardians last onscreen appearance before Infinity War (not counting any post credit scenes they might be in). Because of that I felt like I wanted to see more of a pathway formed as to why they will be present in the film. I know that the Thanos tie is strong however I felt like I needed that little bit more of a nod to what else is happening around the universe. However the more and more I thought about it, my feelings towards it changed. I view most Marvel movies now as chapter X in the MCU, therefore this was chapter 15 of the MCU. But this movie shouldn’t be viewed as that. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 shouldn’t be seen as chapter 15 of the MCU’s story, it should be seen as chapter 2 in the Guardians story. This film was the perfect sequel to Guardians 1 and I think in a few years time when you watch all Guardians films back to back without the context of the MCU, they are going to tell a story about a group of misfits coming together to save the galaxy.
Overall, while it didn’t quite reach the heights of the first film, it didn’t need to for me. I needed more of the characters I love and I got that. I got more humour then the first, I got a greater insight into who these characters are and I left the film feeling like I knew the Guardians more personally.