Directed By: James Gunn
Written By: James Gunn, Dan Abnett
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and more
Run Time: 2 Hours, 16 Minutes
Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Link to IMDb
It makes me sad to think that, at the rate we’re going, we’ll never get a Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. All because Disney is too stubborn to hire back James Gunn after they unjustly fired him. You’d think that they’d see the dollar signs, but apparently all they can see now is forced social justice.
Never before have I so desperately wanted a corporation to be greedy and hire the guy who would make them shit tons of money.
Drama aside, I have a controversial opinion on this movie. After watching both Guardians movies twice before this marathon, I reached a conclusion that apparently only I have reached. I like this movie more than I like the first Guardians.
This one makes a lot of improvements over the first that I really enjoy. I find the shot composition more interesting and creative than the first (and more than any other Marvel movie), the story is emotional and picks up well from where the first left off, the musical selection features some of my personal favorite songs, and best of all: it has an actually interesting villain! Yes, the MCU’s first interesting villain that isn’t played by Tom Hiddleston!
Let’s start off with the story. While the plot itself is just okay, it has tons of great emotional moments that elevate it to something great. For example, the scene where Drax tells Mantis about his home and family. Drax is completely stone faced, so Mantis touches his shoulder to see what he’s feeling.
And immediately breaks down into tears. In one character movement and one shot, we’ve learned more about the characters by seeing a new side of them and have now been kicked in the emotional dick. With the only dialogue being the set up for the silent reveal.
Holy shit, a movie that uses it’s visuals to tell it’s story just as much as it uses it’s dialogue! Finally, Marvel is learning!
It also gives development to two characters that were underused in the first one: Yondu and Nebula. In the first one, they served a weak antagonistic force. Here though? They’re both given an incredible amount of new depth that makes them far more interesting and likable! By the end of the movie, Yondu was my favorite character in the entire cast!
Gambled wrong there, didn’t I?
The villain, as stated earlier, is a really interesting character. Ego is charismatic, fun, intimidating, and best of all: you understand the motivations behind his actions. You can tell that he thinks what he’s doing is the right thing to do. He’s far from a truly great villain, as you can’t actually relate to him (as he’s a psychotic evil planet man) nor root for him. Still, compared to… well, basically every villain before him, he’s a great character.
The musical selection in this game is also a lot stronger than the first for me. Though it’s far from a fair competition. “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra is my favorite song, then we’ve got “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass, “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay & The Americans, and “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens. All of these are fantastic songs, and they come up very often on my music playlists during work.
Last but not least: the ending. No other ending in the Marvel series has hit me as hard as the ending of Guardians 2. When I first saw it in theaters, I was crying like a baby. Even stronger still: when I saw it a second time, I cried just as hard as the first. Very few endings have that kind of staying power for me.
Still, there is a reason that the popular opinion favors the first movie over the second. Many of the jokes don’t land, and many more of them are poorly placed. Several important, serious and emotional scenes are cut short by the humor. This makes the drama feel less important and powerful than they should be.
The pacing is also pretty rough. At some points, it’s incredibly fast and gives most things very little time to breath. At others, it’s incredibly slow and gives everything the time it needs. It can be pretty jarring at times, but it’s never so bad that it becomes unbearable. It’s not a big issue, but it is a step down from the first, which has some incredibly solid and consistent pacing.
Still, for it’s issues, I love this movie. It’s a fun ride, featuring some of the best visuals, music and storytelling in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a worthy follow up to the first, and it’s one of the finest movies in the series thus far.
Now if only Disney would pull their heads out of their ass and let James Gunn direct the third one.