Summary: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.
*Mild spoilers ahead but the movie has been out for like two weeks. I’m late but ya know.
Cast and Characters.
Chris Pratt as Peter “Star Lord” Quill. In this film, he’s still leading the group and actually seems to have grown up a bit. This is evident in the beginning of the film where Rocket is trying to put on music for the fight and he agrees with Drax that this isn’t a good idea right now. However, he’s not really succeeding. In all of the arguments, he meets a man who claims to be his father and at first he’s not really buying it but thanks to Gamora’s encouragement he listens to this mysterious man’s claims. It’s interesting watching him, because in the first film he was a bit cocky and a bit more sure of himself, in this one, he’s not as cocky nor as sure. He’s the leader of the group but he doesn’t seem to believe in himself like before. Once he meets Ego, who claims to be his father, he’s not sure but it’s something he’s always wanted so he’s willing to listen and it’s easy to tell that he wants it so badly. I like Chris Pratt, he’s very likable and he’s likable in this role and once again his Star Lord is a very fun and grounded character. He manages to put a bit more of a chilled performance compared to the first film. Peter wants this so badly to be true and when he starts to believe it, it’s almost kind of heartbreaking and definitely towards the end, Pratt’s performance is really emotional towards the end.
Zoe Saldana as Gamora. She’s always good in these particular roles, Gamora is more of an active role but this film allows her to do a bit more emotional things. She is the voice of reason and the only woman, so she has to really assert herself, not that she really has too, but she does. Not to mention, it’s adorable how she handles Baby Groot. She’s very detailed, and definitely the second in command because whenever Quill is on the receiving end of her rants, she is in charge. She also wants to believe for him that Ego is his father, she encourages him. But Gamora is also perceptive unless it comes to her own feelings towards Quill. Her relationship with Nebula is also interesting, it’s volatile but there might be some hope.
Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon. He was my favorite from the first film and that is the same here though I will admit there are some annoying things about him which I hope with how the film ended, they allow that to change in Vol 3. I think out of everyone from the first film, he had the least change as this film allows him to really think about his place in the group and whether or not he fits. In the first film, it was fun and easy because they had a common goal for the most part, and now it’s like he’s stuck with them. His relationship with Groot has also changed, Rocket has taken over being the protector, and while he still kind of talks to Groot the same, he’s a bit nicer about it as he’s a Baby lol. But you can also tell that the friendship is different as Groot is different, so he has to struggle with that. Bradley Cooper once again does a great voice over job for this character, I can’t think of a better actor. He really delivers when it comes to Rocket’s one liners, to his moments of humor and towards the end his moments of emotion, handled so very well. Also to his team of animators and the actor doing his motion capture, all great jobs.
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer. He has definitely changed a lot from the first film, he has much more fun and more driven by being with his new family than by revenge. He had to accept that in the first film and we see that come to a head in this film. Drax loves to fight, he’s a bit over the top in how loud his laughs are, or how certain lines are delivered but I think that’s just the charm of the character so I don’t count that against Dave Bautista who I think is even better here than he was in the first film. His scene in Ego’s ship was hilarious. He also gets a couple of emotional moments, which were also handled very well.
Vin Diesel as Baby Groot. So I didn’t really want to put Vin Diesel here but I kind of had to…but I loved Baby Groot, if he wasn’t the cutest thing. I read that he doesn’t have any previous memories, so he learns as he goes along, which that’s kind of easy to tell with how he approaches things. For the character, he’s smaller, so he can’t really do the things he did as Big Groot but it’s cute to watch him get upset and try. I had wanted to hold him when he and Rocket got caught by some Ravagers and they were being mean to him. Also towards the end there’s a little scene where it looked like he was crying and I was like “my baby!” I want one. Once again Vin Diesel did the voice over work, he did a higher register and then they of course knocked it even higher. I read that James Gunn had all of his lines “I am Groot” in English so Diesel knew how to speak the line and I think that helps because even though he’s saying the same words repeatedly it does sound like he’s saying something different each time. Also, stick around for the credits because there’s another scene with him.
Michael Rooker as Yondu. He is the leader of the Ravagers and he also raised Quill pretty much. In this film, he’s much more serious compared to the first film where he was just trying to get Quill back. He deals with his own demons, faces his own problems and I think not only was it handled well, it didn’t feel like it was just shoehorned in there, it was needed, especially to mirror other plot lines going on. It’s easy to tell that while he and Quill don’t always get along, he actually does care about him and the way the film ends, I thought was perfect. Michael Rooker still has that real country voice for the character, which fits, his look is great, his fin is a lot bigger and his arrow is still super cool… but I liked him a lot more here. He’s still intimidating but because of the extra bit of character development we get, Michael Rooker was able to find the balance between being big and large and being subdued. Also, those teeth lol.
Karen Gillan as Nebula. I liked her in the first film, she was interesting and a lot of her moments and lines were hilarious. We see her again from the beginning, the Guardians acquire her to turn her in for a bounty, but things happen and she has her own plans, mostly revenge against Gamora and Thanos. She is angry but there are cracks, there is pain and she reveals some of the things that were done to her, and how she felt about it. She has a couple of monologues that no one wants to listen to because she’s intimidating (which are funny) but the words are intense. Her runs in with Gamora lead to some great action scenes but their interactions are more than that and I think we’ll see their relationship begin to mend… maybe. Karen Gillan is fun, she gets to mean mug a lot and do a lot of angered whispering which works for the character and it makes me laugh. A bit exaggerated but it works for the character for the most part.
Kurt Russell as Ego. It’s told pretty early that he’s Quill’s dad which is really cool that the viewers learn more of his heritage. BUT outside of the last 30 minutes or so he mainly just talks a lot and gives a lot of exposition. However, when the climax happens, it’s pretty cool and scary in places. I like Kurt Russell, I think he’s a good actor and I thought his chemistry with Chris Pratt was good, but I think it’s kind of unfortunate that he spent a lot of time just talking.
The Opening Scene. In the opening scene, the Guardians are preparing to battle a monster while Rocket is trying to hook up speakers. The monster shows up and the battle has started and Baby Groot has managed to connect the speakers and the music starts. The first 30 seconds or so, have Baby Groot in focus while in the background you see the other Guardians fighting, then as it continues, BG is dancing to the music while the battle rages on. It’s the cutest thing and it made me smile like an idiot because I thought that was a very unique way to shoot the fight. The Guardians only come into focus if one of them is shouting at BG to get out of the way, or it they’re thrown in his direction. It’s a super fun opening.
The First Space Ship Scene. After the great opener, the Guardians are pursued by a fleet of ships and that scene was so much fun. Their pursuers aren’t even really flying their ships, it’s remote piloting, but they’re flying like their at an arcade. It was a great reveal and great to see them crowd around one pod cheering them on like a game. The chase itself was also great, watching Quill and Rocket maneuver the Milano through the ships and through the meteor field.
Rocket’s Forest Scene. AH MAN! He has this great scene where a group of people are approaching the area, Rocket is up in a tree and he’s set traps, he’s basically putting those people through the ringer and it was one of the best scenes. It was great seeing Rocket do something on his own, to really see him show his physical ability, we didn’t really get to see that in the first film and we really got see that in this film. He was so fast. I loved it. He’s my favorite, so the scene really allowed for him to do a lot.
The Music. The Awesome Mixtape #2 is awesome. The collection of songs they chose were selected very carefully, they really fit in the film. It also helps that a lot of times, someone is actively listening to the music so it doesn’t feel random and out of place, not that it would because the music always goes so well in the Guardians films.
The Humor. It’s really funny. The chemistry between the characters and the cast is so great that their humor and banter just seems so natural. It’s really funny. Especially when they’re not beating the dead joke horse. Drax’s laugh in itself is funny. Baby Groot got a lot of laughs from me, his reaction to people looking down on him because he’s so small. It was hilarious.
The Action/Fight Scenes. This is a superhero film, it definitely requires action and fight scenes. It delivers on that. From the first scene to the very last scene, there is always something happening, it’s pretty fast paced and even though there isn’t a fight scene in every moment, the pace doesn’t lag. It may slow down a bit to let you catch your breath but then something else is happening.
The Effects. Wow, it’s so beautiful. Ego’s planet alone was so beautiful, the attention to detail, especially in the little moving pictures he showed them of his history. It was so cool. Of course Baby Groot and Rocket’s animation was fantastic in how realistic they look in this world.
The Message. It actually is a pretty simple one, and the way it’s approached is the usual one, but the package is so big and grand that if you’re not paying attention, it might just pass you right on by. It’s definitely a message to live by. Don’t ignore what’s right in front of you because sometimes what you’ve been looking for has been there all this time.
The Emotion. I was actually a little surprised at how emotional it gets towards the end. I actually cried. I don’t want to spoil it, but definitely got emotional. The Message is a good one, and the relationships that some of the characters didn’t consider beforehand really get put in their faces in this film and makes them face it. It got way more emotional than I expected.
Doesn’t feel as fresh. I think the first one was so surprising, it was so different and it was fun. This one is the same but it just doesn’t feel the same as the first one, it doesn’t feel as fresh but in some areas a little stale. I know Drax has his things he says but sometimes it’s just *sighs* please. Even sometimes the characters can get a little grating, every family has it’s issues but sometimes it just got a little overdramatic.
A little disjointed. So there are times where this movie kind of has random things happen, or things happen right after other things and it’s kind of weird because it doesn’t feel like it fits. Mostly with the gold people, it gets some laughs, especially in the first scene where it makes sense that they show up but afterwards it kind of just feels out of place.
The Effects. They’re here because there are some times where it looks super fake. In the beginning we see a young Kurt Russell and my lord it was terrible. I don’t know if it was supposed to be due to what Ego was doing but still, it kind of freaked me out.
Mantis’ Importance. Pom Klementieff as Mantis was really cool. I liked her look and I thought she was cute and funny, but outside of being a plot device, and serving as exposition a couple of times, she really didn’t add anything to the film. It has nothing to do with her acting but the character’s importance.
Repeated Jokes. Sometimes, the jokes just feel like they’re hitting you over the head with them. There’s a joke with Rocket and a dude over his name and they just keep going on it for at least a whole minute and I was over it after the first time. Sometimes the jokes, or the ‘isms’ just aren’t as funny if they keep hitting on it multiple times.
Overall, I really enjoyed myself in this film. It’s really fun and while I pulled out some of the memorable action scenes, this film focuses mostly on the characters and their backstories, to give them a bit more character and to ground them in the world. It’s amazing. It’s definitely Star Lord’s story though. All of the characters, well most of them, Quill, Gamora and Rocket definitely have moments where they need to address their feelings, their pain and Yondu’s story was a very surprising addition. Baby Groot was adorable and it was fun. However, the humor definitely did not always hit and it got a little annoying, it felt choppy and disjointed and it doesn’t feel as fresh as the first one. It deals with new things. The ride is great, I think the characters are good and those are the standouts for the film were the characters and the performances.
Rating: 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2? Was it better than the first?