When Guardians of the Galaxy first burst onto the scene back in 2014 no-one knew who this gang of misfits were and it surprised everyone with kick-ass action, gut busting humour, and tonnes of everlasting fun. It very quickly became my favourite Marvel movie and the franchise i had no expectations for suddenly became one of my most anticipated. James Gunn returns and largely delivers on more of what you love about the first film and he even does a couple things much better, but in the end it didn’t quite reach the height the first one did. The action is all there with some very big, fast, and impressive fight sequences, the humour is present with a few great running jokes and the occasional big laugh-out loud moment that hits a few times. The characters you all love are back and well, apart from Groot they thankfully haven’t changed. And the story, the story is where this film surpasses its predecessor as it is more interesting, engaging, and incorporates a villain who is much better than Ronan the Accuser.
The strongest part of this franchise is most definitely the team dynamic within the Guardians that is so rich and full of humour. The distinct personalities of Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot and how they all clash and interact back and forth throughout the film is just as fantastic as ever. It lends itself to plenty of humorous moments, some decent character building moments, but overall it allows you to remain invested in this team and all of the characters involved. The other characters such as Nebula, Mantis, and Yondu were also great with Yondu definitely being the biggest highlight of the three of them. Nebula was good although her place in the film was plentiful but not as involved in the film as a whole, rather she was there to serve a side plot that was executed pretty well throughout the film. The story i won’t go into because even with seeing all the trailers there is a lot about this film that is still very secret and it is best to experience everything in the moment. I was much more invested in this story than i was in the first Guardians film so in that respect i feel like it surpassed the story of Ronan’s flawed galaxy crushing plan.
Now where the story was fantastic the film does take a dip in the overall flow during the second act almost in its entirety. When the guardians get to a certain planet in the film the pacing pretty drastically slows down and what follows wasn’t particularly bad it just wasn’t as engaging and did feel kinda disconnected from the rest of the film, like it almost stopped. There is a lot of character building in this act, a lot of plot detailing, and overall it was moving at a really slow pace and dragging a good amount. Even though during this dip the action is taking a back seat at least the humour is still present and helps to get you through it easier. But despite this average at best second act the first and third acts of this film are damn-right fantastic. The action is big, plentiful, and at times beautifully chaotic, the third act especially is where shit goes down and it is i think the best stuff we have seen from the guardians yet, so look forward to that.
The humour was a big part of the first film and it is definitely a big part of this one. It’s integrated into the action sequences very well, especially the opening sequence (similar to the opening sequence of the first film). It does a good job at using running jokes to a good length and not running them into the ground, and the humour is pretty well spaced out. Where in the first film essentially none of the humour missed, there were a few misses here and there but it’s hardly anything worth criticising. There also weren’t as many big hilarious moments that catch you off-guard, there were a couple but overall i didn’t laugh as much as i guess i’d have hoped. And one thing to note, this isn’t really a flaw of the film but as you know, the soundtrack was a HUGE part of the first film and i listened to it for weeks even months following its release. Unfortunately though, despite the soundtrack here being fine with a couple of well integrated hits, i don’t have any urge to listen to it again which is just a shame because i was really looking forward to that aspect.
Despite the films flaws this is still a great movie with ample humour, enough action to thoroughly entertain you, and most importantly it is still a tonne of fun. The character dynamics explored are fantastic as you’d expect and the new additions to the cast are great characters with great performances backing them, that includes Kurt Russell’s introduction as Ego. I would love to praise this movie as highly as i did the first guardians film and give it the highest score but then i’d be lying as even though the first and last acts are incredible, the second act just isn’t too great. I shouldn’t have to tell you this by now but as this is a Marvel film there are sequences during and after the credits. This time though there are FIVE SCENES, so don’t leave after 1, 2, or 3, stay right to the end until you see all 5.