Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doubles down on fun

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 promotional poster

Whenever a sequel to a movie as successful as Guardians of the Galaxy comes out, there’s always skepticism as to whether it can retain its predecessor’s quality.

The 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy surpassed expectations and proved once and for all that Marvel Studios could make an entertaining film out of anything. Adapted from an obscure comic book, the movie was turned into one of the year’s biggest hits, giving director James Gunn his fifteen minutes of fame in the process. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe in full swing, and the film’s massive box-office intake, there was no question on whether or not Guardians would get a sequel. The only uncertainty was if the sequel could hold on to the irreverent fun that made the original such a hit.

With that being said, Vol. 2 does rest on its laurels a bit. On one hand, some of the dialogue and jokes come off as hammy nods to the first film. On the other hand, the endearing characters that made the original entertaining continue to do so here. Gunn’s signature humor and playful banter is present in the moments between the central characters.

The freshest moments of the film all come from Gunn focusing on characters previously sidelined. Michael Rooker as Yondu becomes a central part of the narrative, providing new thrills, and further developing an already enjoyable character. Similarly, The Thanos sisters, Nebula and Gamora (Karen Gillan and Zoe Saldana), are given some much needed time together to reconcile differences caused by their brutal pasts.

One aspect that was expanded in a negative way was the special effects. While a big budget keeps the CGI looking crisp and glossy, an overabundance of computer-generated monsters and green-screen backgrounds gives some scenes the sense of an inauthentic backdrop.

The story also struggles to find effective footing between its three plot lines, leading to lukewarm results. While logical, the plot that focuses on Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father is executed in predictable fashion, making you wish they had spent more time with the plots for Yondu and Gamora.

It doesn’t dazzle or impress like the first, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 still delivers on laughter and summer block-buster fun. If you somehow missed it during the summer movie season, this is an entertaining flick that can more than serve as a two-hour study break.

Grade: B