Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review (Minor Spoilers)
While every bit as colorful, action-packed and quirky as the first film, a lot of the genuine humor is lost. In it's place we find un-earned punch lines and one or two uneven performaces. This does not take away from the overal movie too much.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 begins with the cinematic eye-candy we've come to expect from director James Gunn. On the last adventure, cinematographer Ben Davis was at the helm, but this time around it is Henry Braham who takes the reins and his skills are on point. Speaking of eye-candy, one of the more surprising feats of the movie was also found during the opening scene: a young Kurt Russell. We've all seen digital de-aging before--the best example being RDJ in Captain America: Civil War--but this was miraculous. In an interview by the folks over at Slash Film, Kurt Russell explains that it was a combination of digital effects work as well as some practical magic done by Dennis Liddiard, who's been his make-up guy for 28 films. The combination is amazing. The visuals in this film are as much a part of the story as any character, so take it all in.
After the events of the last film, we find our heroes working as cosmic heroes for hire, so to speak, and their latest mission has them working for the Sovereign. The Sovereign are a race of genetically manufactured beings, bred to be intelligent, beautiful and gold (yea, gold). Old habits die hard, however, and after a a five-finger discount is taken on the Sovereign's prized possessions, the Guardians are chased by a fleet of Sovereign ships bent on destorying them. At the last moment, when Quill and crew find themselves surrounded, they're saved by a strange individual named "Ego". Here the audience learns that Ego is Peter Quill's estranged father and also, a Celestial. The Celestials are the oldest, and generally the most powerful beings in the universe. We came across the giant skull of a Celestial in the fist movie, being used as a mining facility. Peter begins to get to know his father and the rest of the team gets to know the newest face, "Mantis".
Mantis is an empath. This means she can sense what others are feeling. She also has the ability to overwite emotions with other emotions, though this ability is limited. Mantis and Drax immediately develop a friendship and their dialouge makes for some of the more memorable parts of the movie. Speaking of Drax, he has a far more substantial role in this film as far as delivering the yucks. I thought it would have gotten old by the end of the film, but to my surprise, only one or two of his jokes fell flat.
This movie seems to eschew the group dynamic for multiple pairings. Quill and Ego. Gamora and Nebula. Rocket and Yondu. Drax and Mantis. Baby Groot and...well...Groot needs no man. I did miss the team aspect of the movie but I enjoyed the character development that was able to come to the forefront individually.
I won't spoil anything further, for those who haven't seen it, but there's plenty of action, cameos, laughs and tears that make up the remainder of the film. While every bit as colorful, action-packed and quirky as the first film, a lot of the genuine humor is lost. In it's place we find un-earned punch lines and one or two uneven performaces. Music? Great. Acting? Decent over-all. Story? Interesting, if not contrived. Plot? Works well enough, despite some spots of decoherence. All in all, i recommend the movie with everything I have. The movie is fun. Plain and simple. It's not better than the first movie, but it's no Spider-Man 3 either. There are about 5 mid/post credit scenes. Seriously. One of them will get any Marvel fan excited.