2017 was always set out to be a big year for everyone, not just in movies. 2016 seemed to be the “year to forget” with many beloved actors passing, and many terrible events taking place across the globe. When it comes to movies themselves though, I thought we had a tremendous year with Marvel movies. Captain America: Civil War and Doctor strange (< hyperlinked to the reviews of those movies.) were spectacular adaptations and additions to the Marvel universe.
So, Marvel promised us something pretty special with Guardians of the galaxy Vol 2. And sweet giblets did they deliver in Galaxy loads!
From the outset as I had expected, the opening scene was simply the full-length part of the trailer we have seen many times over and over leading up to the screening of the actual movie. Promptly we were re-introduced to the characters we know and love and treated to the beginning of a great soundtrack. Our ruggedly good looking Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) continues to show us why the guardians are loved by all. Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Dave Bautista returns as Drax, and continues to grow as a characters. Bautista’s performance actually surprised me a little as in the first film I found him quite annoying. But his banter with Mantis Pom Klementieff was actually refreshing and gave his character a little more humanity than simply the “smash and kill” attitude I felt he had in the first one.
Vin Diesel also returns as the voice of Groot, and even with his lines as easy as they are. You soon forget its actually Vin Diesel and just adore that little guy trying to learn how to be Groot.
Lastly, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket gives us another fowl mouthed attitude performance, but thankfully shows he’s more than just a failed experiment on the loose.
The Groot/ Rocket dynamic is something else entirely. In the first film, we saw Groot as the Eight-foot-tall protector of Rocket. This worked perfectly as Rocket was the brains of the operation and Groot was the Muscle. But after Groot’s selfless sacrifice at the end of the last film, Rocket takes on the caretaker role for his old friend. But Baby Groot is essentially a completely different “person” with none of his old memories, so Rocket, at even the most unsuitable times, like when they are getting shot at, has to teach him and explain the most basic things to him, which is pretty much all the time in one way or another.
Rocket, however takes this in his stride and accepts that Groot is his responsibility and still his friend, and awesome things happen (I’m not giving spoilers). The smiles, the looks, and the angry face all make a character like baby Groot such a lovable character even though his script was word for word the same as the first movie (and yes I understand that’s all he can say…. It was a joke)
With all of these diverse characters squished into one film and the absence of the need to tell us where they came from like so many of the Marvel movies (every movie in the franchise seems to start with an origin story that I always feels uses so much time and shortens on the actual main story) we were given what I would describe as a complex, fun, but thoroughly entertaining story that explains portions of other movies in the cinematic universe (namely the infinity stones) it also continues with some great character development of our main heroes and the introduction of some ”B side” characters who help push the story along in the perfect direction.
The soundtrack was exactly what we expected from the “Awesome Mixtape #2” we see in his 1980’s Sony Walkman right at the beginning. As someone who is mostly into metal but have a great appreciation for 18’s rock music, I found myself nodding along to the music (while holding my breath during some of the action scenes) of then exhaling when baby Groot started dancing, or breaking the tension in his adorable way.
It was even mentioned in an interview with Chris Pratt that they would sometimes have the music they were going to use in the final cut playing in the background while they were shooting , or in some cases they would use earwigs (small ear pieces with radio receivers) so they could hear the music. Apparently it helped maintain the rhythm of the scene to the music. It’s certainly the first time I’ve heard that actually being done but with a movie with such a great rhythm I can see what they did it.
Honestly, I think they have found an amazing formula for a movie. I was also told it scored 100% in the focus group for the movie…. The first Marvel movie to do so. Which is an amazing accomplishment.
Marvel take this particular section of the universe and make it so unique that I would be happy if they made another four or five more of these. I know there is more to come with the infinity wars happening soon but even as a stand alone franchise Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is our of this world good and for the first time ever…..
I’m giving a movie a 10/10
Maybe after watching it a few more times later I might spot a few things that may drop the score but this just hit every button for me. Made every point count and didn’t leave me thinking…. “Hmmmm where’s the rest of the film” but right now, i want to see it again as soon as possible.