Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might be a little long but the overall themes of found families and the humor remain as strong as ever.
This review will be SPOILER FREE
We live in a world where the most approachable Marvel series is the one that stars a baby version of a talking tree and a talking raccoon who loves giant guns. There was not a person in the world that could have predicted that Guardians of the Galaxy would be the series that would have the most mass appeal to people unfamiliar with the Marvel universe as a whole. The sequel has about as much mass appeal as the first one, though this time you should probably see the first one before moving onto the sequel. All of the things that made the first one great are present again, but there are also a few stumbling blocks along the way. There is no such thing as a perfect movie but this is yet again another solid entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is going to end up on a lot of top ten lists by the end of the year.
There is a worry that Baby Groot was going to take over the entire movie because he is the most marketable character and that isn't true. There is enough Baby Groot that we continue to love the character but not enough that he feels shoehorned into a bigger role. The best moments with Baby Groot are the moments when he is interacting with the rest of the cast. The quiet moments where they treat Baby Groot like the kid of the family are fantastic. In fact, the best moments of the entire movie are when they really embrace the idea of a found family whether it is Peter realizing how much he had before he found his father or Gamora realizing how much her relationship with Nebula means to both of them. In the midst of all of this are some great moments of comedy that sometimes walk the line of being a bit much but almost always feel genuine.
If there is a stumbling block it really comes down to pacing. While this movie is only fifteen minutes longer than the original, the second act makes it feel a lot longer. This is a movie that starts off huge and then slows down considerably in the middle. While this makes for some excellent character moments, and a little exposition, it does make everything feel sluggish toward the middle. The final battle once again puts the entire universe at stake which didn't feel right for a movie that felt much more grounded and personal. This was a movie that felt like it was just focusing on the stakes of a few and then suddenly focused on everyone and it made things feel a little disjointed. While the comedy is great this is also the first time it really felt like it was walking toward the edge of "too much". There were moments where the dialogue felt a little disjointed and felt like James Gunn needed to have a joke every X lines and realized he wasn't going to make the quota. The soundtrack is still fantastic but doesn't feel as good as the first time around, perhaps because we knew it was coming and we didn't know in the original.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might not be as good as the original but the first one was so different and such a huge risk that nothing can really top it. As a Marvel sequel it feels much more scaled down, personal (to a point) and really only stumbles when it tries to break away from that smaller vision. In a movie universe where Captain America: The Winter Soldier is really the only good direct sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of the better ones. The trailers have given almost none of the movie away so you will go in knowing as little as possible.
Also, stay through the credits; there are five mid to after-credit scenes this time.
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