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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
04.24.2017
7 10

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 movie review marvel chris pratt zoe saldana

PLOT: Now firmly established as forces to be reckoned with in the universe, the Guardians of the Galaxy enjoy a little success before finding themselves divided: Peter "Star Lord" Quill finally meets his father, a godlike entity known as Ego, while the rest of the gang must make unlikely allies in order to combat impending doom.

REVIEW: I really raved about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY in July of 2014, if you need a bit of reference for the forthcoming review. "The coolest thing about GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is that it feels like it has nothing to lose," I wrote then, and looking back it was an apt compliment. That movie kind of came out of nowhere (despite being from, you know, Marvel Studios) and it delighted and energized a fanbase, one that appreciated there was a different way this studio could do things in lieu of some of its standard superhero origin stories. That movie was fresh, exhilarating, a bit chaotic - but not always in a bad way. It had a lame villain, yes, but we loved the heroes so much that it didn't matter. Turns out the watchability factor of that movie was sky-high, too, because I've seen it roughly a dozen times since.

Expectations aren't so low now for this band of outsiders, now that people all over the world know their names. As with any sequel to a franchise-starter, we're eager to see more of the same while also seeing greater stakes at play, vivid new situations and villains, and intriguing growth from our characters. Writer-director James Gunn has doubled down on the "more of the same" quotient. At once a lightweight offering while longer and noisier than its predecessor, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is a perfectly fine follow-up that is still a bit disappointing when put up against the original. Not a bad movie by any stretch, it has several sequences charged with the kind of irreverent mania that marked the first film. However, our pals Peter (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) - make that "Baby Groot" - are certainly less unconventional this time around, and their adventures are colorful diversions with almost no sense of consequence at all. (That's even though this movie has yet another "save the galaxy from overwhelming destruction" plot.)

The movie's opening 15-20 minutes or so are its best. I won't spoil the prologue because it contains a great visual effect that you should see for yourself, but from there it moves on to one of those "in-progress" scenarios where we're thrust into the climax of our heroes' latest tribulation. No longer the callous rascals they once were, the Guardians of the Galaxy (as they are indeed known) are now helping other civilizations thwart certain doom. In this case, they're making sure a race of beings known as the Sovereign destroy a gigantic, toothy monster intent on eating some... space batteries? Whatever, the details aren't so important, but what's amusing is that the majority of this battle takes place around a clueless Baby Groot, who dances away to ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" while his comrades get flung about by the titanic beast. It's a really cleverly-produced sequence with some terrific visuals and it starts the movie off just right. And yes, you'll love Baby Groot. He's a joy to watch in action.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 movie review marvel chris pratt zoe saldana

From there, GUARDIANS VOL. 2 kind of moves around in a somewhat unbalanced fashion, not finding quite the right footing plot-wise. One major element introduced is a godlike character fittingly called Ego (Kurt Russell), who saves the gang at one point and introduces himself as the father of Peter Quill. Ego whisks Peter, Gamora and Drax away to his home planet - which is actually just an extension of himself - while Rocket and Groot are left behind to contend with Gamora's bitter half-sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Peter's former gang of space pirates known as the Ravagers led by Yondu (Michael Rooker). These threads come together eventually, but not in the most satisfying of ways. There's a lot of male bonding going on and Peter's daddy issues are twofold thanks to Ego and Yondu, but Quill barely gets to brandish the Star Lord persona; more than half of the movie basically gives him nothing to do other than chat with dad.

One could say the story isn't really that important, it's the characters that make us want to see GUARDIANS VOL.2, and while that's not necessarily incorrect, this is a much more clunky, meandering tale than the one that kept VOL. 1 moving along. While the villain story was hackneyed, he still gave the first film reason to bounce around different worlds quite a bit, which allowed us to see action in wonderful new landscapes each and every time, but VOL. 2 pretty much sticks to the same couple of places. Ego's colorful home planet is quite cool to gaze upon at first, but we spend an awful lot of running time there. Similarly, we're confined to a rusty spaceship during the Rocket portions of the film, and while the production design is impressive, this is not always the most enthralling of locales. Still, the film is well-shot and the 3D is expertly utilized, as was the case with the first one. When the screen is alive with eye-popping CGI madness, the result is often dazzling. I just wish Gunn, who has an entire universe at his disposal, had seen fit to show us a much greater array of exciting new planets.

Let's get to the Guardians themselves. It's reasonable for Gunn to expect we'd want to enjoy these misfits engaged in the same sort of exchanges as in the original, but the wacky charm of seeing them forced to care for and depend on one another has faded. No one has grown or evolved, they're maybe a little louder and their one-liners are lamer. I'm not asking for a ton of character development when it comes to a talking raccoon called Rocket, but there's no escaping the fact that much of the Guardians' bickering sessions have a "been there, done that" feel. Maybe because the jokes are a little flatter, the lowbrow humor is ramped up (lots of poo and pee and penis chat) and there are only so many different variations on "rat" or "ugly puppy" you can toss at Rocket. I still like these characters, but GUARDIANS VOL. 2 does not make them as sincerely lovable as they were the first time around.

I know, there's a lot of comparing to the original going on here. Sadly, that's unavoidable. And it sounds like I dislike this movie, and I don't. It has pockets of great fun, and Gunn easily amuses with too many throwaway gags to count. (There's a bizarre moment when several characters are physically tripping out because they're going through a time warp-thing and it's a wild thing to behold.) It's a psychedelic cartoon, and I'm glad there's enough weirdness in it to lift up some of the parts that come off as repetitive. The cast is more or less as enjoyable as they were the first time around, even if their material isn't quite as sharp; Bautista looks like he's having too much damn fun in his Drax persona, and his laugh is still infectious. Kurt Russell is terrific, a very welcome presence here as Ego, his carefree demeanor making him a perfect pop to Pratt's boyish Quill. Another neat new addition is Mantis (Pom Klementieff), a bug-eyed alien who acts as Ego's assistant of sorts. Michael Rooker's Yondu has much more to do this time around, and Gunn gives his longtime pal a few nice scenes of legit pathos - Yondu actually is the only character in the film with a genuine arc.

The truth of the matter is, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is going to have to live in the shadow of its superior predecessor; that's what happens when the original is just so original and the follow-up is just so... decent. It is not a total botch in the vein of IRON MAN 2, nor is it utterly disposable like THOR: THE DARK WORLD; there's no way you can consider it a failure of a movie. It's got plenty of zany sections of lunacy that made me smile, and I never felt like the movie didn't want to amuse me. I still appreciate such a hyper-strange effort from a major studio. It's possible that the next viewings will be better, since expectations will be out of the way, but after the initial experience I'll say GOTG2 is an underwhelming Marvel picture that only delivers some of the goods.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
4:19AM on 05/09/2017

No, no

Folks, skip this review, which is the only thing that really is lame. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. This is an awesome sequel which is non-stop fun, action and top of the line special effects. Underwhelming? What were you (not) on?
Folks, skip this review, which is the only thing that really is lame. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. This is an awesome sequel which is non-stop fun, action and top of the line special effects. Underwhelming? What were you (not) on?
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1:58PM on 04/29/2017
Having now seen the film, I completely stand by earlier comments before.

Only time, and repeat viewing will tell me how I rate it when compared to the first film (and others in the MCU) but I loved.

Having seen it in IMAX 3D, I honestly believe it to be one of the most beautifully stunning films I've seen. Most of the time I feel let down by 3D, some films only using it for gimmicks at given points, but this felt organic throughout.

As to the characters and substance of the film...
Having now seen the film, I completely stand by earlier comments before.

Only time, and repeat viewing will tell me how I rate it when compared to the first film (and others in the MCU) but I loved.

Having seen it in IMAX 3D, I honestly believe it to be one of the most beautifully stunning films I've seen. Most of the time I feel let down by 3D, some films only using it for gimmicks at given points, but this felt organic throughout.

As to the characters and substance of the film... whilst there were a few forced laughs, it's genuinely funny. It offers real emotion if you're invested in the characters. Baby Groot is a scene stealer. Rocket is as rounded a character as any other, all the new additions are great. Kurt Russell is the best person they could've cast as Quill's dad. Considering Peter is at the centre of the plot, I found this much more of an ensemble.

All in all I found this to be the perfect sequel. Building on the first, honouring what worked but offering something new.

For me it's an easy 9/10.
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1:56PM on 04/25/2017
should be excellent, I'm not one of the "Guardians 1 was the best movie ever" people, so I expect I'll enjoy it quite a bit
should be excellent, I'm not one of the "Guardians 1 was the best movie ever" people, so I expect I'll enjoy it quite a bit
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1:02PM on 04/25/2017
Regardless of the score, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Regardless of the score, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
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9:44AM on 04/25/2017
I'm in agreement with the people who usually add points to Eric's scores. I'm easy to please. Either way, 7 means it's entertaining and that's all I want. Marvel movies have gotten old for me but GOTG is my favorite. I found Civil War to be meh and have yet to even see Dr Strange. Hopefully this and Ragnarok can bring it back... Spidey looks alright too.
I'm in agreement with the people who usually add points to Eric's scores. I'm easy to please. Either way, 7 means it's entertaining and that's all I want. Marvel movies have gotten old for me but GOTG is my favorite. I found Civil War to be meh and have yet to even see Dr Strange. Hopefully this and Ragnarok can bring it back... Spidey looks alright too.
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2:20PM on 04/25/2017
Civil War should have been Avengers 3 IMO.

For me:
1) Winter Soldier
2) GOTG
3) Iron Man 1
Civil War should have been Avengers 3 IMO.

For me:
1) Winter Soldier
2) GOTG
3) Iron Man 1
7:21AM on 04/25/2017
Saw it today, it's great.
Eric just needs to be saved by Kevin Bacon.
Saw it today, it's great.
Eric just needs to be saved by Kevin Bacon.
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3:31AM on 04/25/2017

I agree (and I saw it)

I agree with this review. I saw it yesterday, loved the first one but this movie feels monotonous and sometimes uneven. However, there is plenty to love, and when it works, it does it wonderfully. Furthermore, I had no issues with the casting and the new additions were great, I think everyone did their job well. However, all the other issues the reviewer had, I had them too (actually told the same things to one of my friends after we watched it, before I even read this review). For example,
I agree with this review. I saw it yesterday, loved the first one but this movie feels monotonous and sometimes uneven. However, there is plenty to love, and when it works, it does it wonderfully. Furthermore, I had no issues with the casting and the new additions were great, I think everyone did their job well. However, all the other issues the reviewer had, I had them too (actually told the same things to one of my friends after we watched it, before I even read this review). For example, soundtrack for this one was great, but for the first one it was spectacular. This doesn't mean this soundtrack is bad, far from it, but it doesn't reach the level of the first one.
I've got to say, though, some imagery in this movie is much better than what we got the first time around. It is just that it is not as consistent as it was with the other movie.
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12:17AM on 04/25/2017
The first one is my personal favorite Marvel film, so if the things that made the first one so different, amazing, and unexpected are still there in this sequel, I'll be more than happy. I'm not expecting this new entry to surpass the original, but if it can just match it in terms of the emotion, comradery, and jokes amongst the group, then it did its job in my opinion.
The first one is my personal favorite Marvel film, so if the things that made the first one so different, amazing, and unexpected are still there in this sequel, I'll be more than happy. I'm not expecting this new entry to surpass the original, but if it can just match it in terms of the emotion, comradery, and jokes amongst the group, then it did its job in my opinion.
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11:45PM on 04/24/2017
Most Marvel series dip lower in their sequels. In fact, Captain America is the only franchise I can think of that got better with each sequel. So, I'll go in with those expectations.
Most Marvel series dip lower in their sequels. In fact, Captain America is the only franchise I can think of that got better with each sequel. So, I'll go in with those expectations.
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8:48PM on 04/24/2017
My heart sank when I saw this review - but only because I saw that Eric W was the reviewer. I find his reviews always negative and that he rates quite low.

It might just be that I have such different taste to him, or - as I sometimes feel - he thinks he has to be critical. He's a hard reviewer to please.

I'm basing this on every film I've seen that I know he's reviewed.

I haven't seen GOTG Vol 2 yet- I'm seeing it on Saturday - but I expect it to be better than this review suggests.
My heart sank when I saw this review - but only because I saw that Eric W was the reviewer. I find his reviews always negative and that he rates quite low.

It might just be that I have such different taste to him, or - as I sometimes feel - he thinks he has to be critical. He's a hard reviewer to please.

I'm basing this on every film I've seen that I know he's reviewed.

I haven't seen GOTG Vol 2 yet- I'm seeing it on Saturday - but I expect it to be better than this review suggests. I don't think I have unrealistic expectations. I'm actually not expecting it to be better than the original. But I am expecting it to me an 8 to 9 score.

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8:59PM on 04/24/2017
RT average is 7.2. I doubt you'll find it to be a legitimate 9.
RT average is 7.2. I doubt you'll find it to be a legitimate 9.
9:19PM on 04/24/2017
I guess I'll find out for myself on Saturday!
I guess I'll find out for myself on Saturday!
4:30AM on 04/25/2017
I agree., Zed
I agree., Zed
+1
8:20PM on 04/24/2017

Ah....crap!

I really didn't expect that. From the trailers I honestly thought this one would start where the last one left off, then be even better (now that the introductions were out of the way). I skipped much of the review because I don't want any spoilers, but everything you said rings true. Despite the fanboy love (and knee-jerk hatred for DC), Marvel has had a lot of mediocre films in this run of hit films. Honestly the only films that stand out as an unqualified homerun are GotG and Avengers.
I really didn't expect that. From the trailers I honestly thought this one would start where the last one left off, then be even better (now that the introductions were out of the way). I skipped much of the review because I don't want any spoilers, but everything you said rings true. Despite the fanboy love (and knee-jerk hatred for DC), Marvel has had a lot of mediocre films in this run of hit films. Honestly the only films that stand out as an unqualified homerun are GotG and Avengers. Iron Man was awesome until the end (which was 15 minutes of "blah" followed by universe building), but IM2 & IM3 were completely mediocre. Both Thor movies were enjoyable, but definitely not monster hits. I really have liked all the Cap movies, but 1 and 3 had way too many average moments (or just flat out crazy leaps of logic) to be among the best, and Dr Strange was really fun but hardly a genre-changer.

This sounds like more of the same which is good, but not great. That leaves Wonder Woman and JL to hopefully surprise us this year. Unfortunately DC's track record is even worse so here's hoping for a change.....
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8:23PM on 04/24/2017
BTW, I tried to add Winter Soldier (which I left off by mistake) but the web site still doesn't work right. That film definitely deserves to be in the discussion for best comic-book movies ever.
BTW, I tried to add Winter Soldier (which I left off by mistake) but the web site still doesn't work right. That film definitely deserves to be in the discussion for best comic-book movies ever.
8:37PM on 04/24/2017
You're pretty spot on. I've enjoyed all the Marvel movies to varying degrees save maybe Dark World and IM3. Winter Soldier and GOTG were without a doubt the best "Films" they've ever made. Both transcended the comic book genre the was TDK did for me personally.
You're pretty spot on. I've enjoyed all the Marvel movies to varying degrees save maybe Dark World and IM3. Winter Soldier and GOTG were without a doubt the best "Films" they've ever made. Both transcended the comic book genre the was TDK did for me personally.
11:42PM on 04/24/2017
Yeah man I agree with you on both counts.

1. Yeah, the site's whacked and hasn't let me edit my comments after I post them for the past few months.

2. I would add Iron Man 1 to that list, you're right that the last 10-15 minutes or much weaker, but the rest of the film is IMO still the best stuff has ever done. Aside from it though, yeah Avengers, Winter Soldier, GotG and Civil War (again minus the last 10-15 minutes) are the standouts of the MCU. There's very few that I would say are
Yeah man I agree with you on both counts.

1. Yeah, the site's whacked and hasn't let me edit my comments after I post them for the past few months.

2. I would add Iron Man 1 to that list, you're right that the last 10-15 minutes or much weaker, but the rest of the film is IMO still the best stuff has ever done. Aside from it though, yeah Avengers, Winter Soldier, GotG and Civil War (again minus the last 10-15 minutes) are the standouts of the MCU. There's very few that I would say are actively bad, but a lot that are mediocre. However, while the mediocre ones leave me varying degrees of disappointed, I will say that I tend to prefer Marvel's brand of mediocre to most other studios'.
8:20PM on 04/24/2017
Ugh that was a dick punch of a review. I don't doubt that I'll be entertained and love the movie. But then again, while I look forward to it greatly and was excited about it, I was never going in with expectations of it being so much better than the first. I just want a continuation of the story of the first, with the characters I've grown to love. So as long as it includes that with some insane visuals and an abundance of laughs its well worth my money.
Ugh that was a dick punch of a review. I don't doubt that I'll be entertained and love the movie. But then again, while I look forward to it greatly and was excited about it, I was never going in with expectations of it being so much better than the first. I just want a continuation of the story of the first, with the characters I've grown to love. So as long as it includes that with some insane visuals and an abundance of laughs its well worth my money.
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8:17PM on 04/24/2017
Remember the +2 factor when reading Eric W. reviews.
Remember the +2 factor when reading Eric W. reviews.
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8:50PM on 04/24/2017
Yep. He always rates low and reviews harshly in my opinion.
Yep. He always rates low and reviews harshly in my opinion.
8:56PM on 04/24/2017
Is that why IGN (a notoriously soft reviewing web site) gave it a 7.9 (and made the same criticisms he did)?

Seriously, if you are going to attack the reviewer, at least take a minute and check out other reviews to see if they agree in principle first. You'll sound like less of an angry fanboy.
Is that why IGN (a notoriously soft reviewing web site) gave it a 7.9 (and made the same criticisms he did)?

Seriously, if you are going to attack the reviewer, at least take a minute and check out other reviews to see if they agree in principle first. You'll sound like less of an angry fanboy.
8:58PM on 04/24/2017
BTW, after 50 reviews on RT the average score is 7.2. What was that about "Adding 2" to his 7?
BTW, after 50 reviews on RT the average score is 7.2. What was that about "Adding 2" to his 7?
9:26PM on 04/24/2017
Des1 - for RT to have an average of 7.2, that surely means that some reviewers have rated it higher?

Also, if the 'angry fanboy' comment was directed at me, I'd say you're the one coming across angry. I'm not angry. For it's worth, I don't bother with RT, I actually come to JoBlo for my reviews first. Some of the reviewers on the site are more in keeping with my own views and tastes.

Unfortunately, it increasingly seems that Eric is the one that reviews the films I want to see the
Des1 - for RT to have an average of 7.2, that surely means that some reviewers have rated it higher?

Also, if the 'angry fanboy' comment was directed at me, I'd say you're the one coming across angry. I'm not angry. For it's worth, I don't bother with RT, I actually come to JoBlo for my reviews first. Some of the reviewers on the site are more in keeping with my own views and tastes.

Unfortunately, it increasingly seems that Eric is the one that reviews the films I want to see the most. My "attack" is based on reading his reviews against my own on countless films. And saying he's harsh/low scorer isn't an attack. Calling him a crap reviewer would be - and I didn't say that.
10:04PM on 04/24/2017
Agreed with Zedlander, specifically re: Des1 being a pissy fanboy.

@Des1: Zedlander said 1 sentence here, and their other post was pretty inoffensive because they went out of their way to say that maybe they just don't see eye to eye with the reviewer.

The review doesn't really surprise me. I'm still eager to see it and form my own opinion, but most of Marvel's movies are usually fun but really safe.
Agreed with Zedlander, specifically re: Des1 being a pissy fanboy.

@Des1: Zedlander said 1 sentence here, and their other post was pretty inoffensive because they went out of their way to say that maybe they just don't see eye to eye with the reviewer.

The review doesn't really surprise me. I'm still eager to see it and form my own opinion, but most of Marvel's movies are usually fun but really safe.
10:24PM on 04/24/2017
FS, please explain how I sound like a "fanboy" for using the aggregate score of all reviewers to show that this review is in line with the common opinion?
FS, please explain how I sound like a "fanboy" for using the aggregate score of all reviewers to show that this review is in line with the common opinion?
10:29PM on 04/24/2017
No Zed, I thought your comment was completely rational and defensible. I've seen reviewers here (especially on the TV side) that I thought were consistently too easy or too tough. My comment was about the assumption that people need to "add 2" to any review done by Eric. That's a pointless comment since the most basic internet search shows that his review is dead in the middle of the critical reaction to the film. Instead of attacking the reviewer by saying he's "always wrong," it makes far
No Zed, I thought your comment was completely rational and defensible. I've seen reviewers here (especially on the TV side) that I thought were consistently too easy or too tough. My comment was about the assumption that people need to "add 2" to any review done by Eric. That's a pointless comment since the most basic internet search shows that his review is dead in the middle of the critical reaction to the film. Instead of attacking the reviewer by saying he's "always wrong," it makes far more sense to look around and see if his/her comment is out of line with the general consensus first (or heaven forbid actually seeing the film, then commenting about the reviewer's opinion).

11:32PM on 04/24/2017
@des1: You're right. I apologize. You're just being pissy.
@des1: You're right. I apologize. You're just being pissy.
8:52AM on 04/25/2017
Wow Des, I didn't know Eric was your bff. But seriously I've been coming to this site for years, and after seeing a movie Eric reviews I pretty much add 2 to his review. I'm not a Marvel fanboy, I think they have a cookie cutter system that works for them, so don't throw that at me.
Wow Des, I didn't know Eric was your bff. But seriously I've been coming to this site for years, and after seeing a movie Eric reviews I pretty much add 2 to his review. I'm not a Marvel fanboy, I think they have a cookie cutter system that works for them, so don't throw that at me.
8:06PM on 04/24/2017
7/10 prepare to be buried by angry fans.
But I can see it, if nothing else the surprise is gone, no one expected the first to be as great as it was.
I'm kinda mad that we will probably never see an adult Groot (unless the baby Groot toys stop selling) again, he was my favorite character in the first one.
7/10 prepare to be buried by angry fans.
But I can see it, if nothing else the surprise is gone, no one expected the first to be as great as it was.
I'm kinda mad that we will probably never see an adult Groot (unless the baby Groot toys stop selling) again, he was my favorite character in the first one.
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