Getting a new Star Wars film yearly is becoming the new normal. Rogue One has barely had its Blu-ray release and we’ve already got our eyes on The Last Jedi. If the year long wait is still too much for you though, Disney’s got a solution: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, the sequel to Marvel’s 2014 sleeper hit, is hitting theaters everywhere soon. The original’s flashy space battles, colourful scenes, amazing vfx and its healthy dose of humour certainly made the wait for The Force Awakens more bearable. But does the same formula still hold up now that Star Wars is back in business?
Father and Son
I’m actually glad I’m writing this review for a Star Wars site. There’s one obvious comparison I just can’t shake: the one with The Empire Strikes Back. With both trilogies, the first film introduced us to a new galaxy full of wonders, while the sequel can almost be seen as a character piece. The gang gets split up, the main character meets his father, there’s new additions to the team, the story gets more personal stakes. And the movie packs an emotional punch. In fact, Guardians Vol 2 might even have Empire beat on that front: By the end I was unabashedly weeping.
There’s a couple more stylistic decisions, story beats, and character moments that invoke the comparison, but those would be spoilers. Marvel has done a terrific job in sharing so much footage without actually giving anything away. Good on them, because the film really gets extra mileage out of some of its numerous surprises. I recommend caution on the internet before seeing Guardians Vol 2, you’ll want to go in unspoiled.
What shouldn’t be a surprise anymore is the sublime soundtrack. While Star Wars is blessed by the hymns of grandmaster John Williams, Guardians famously takes a different approach. Just like in the original film, key scenes are underscored by a selection of rock classics from the 70s/80s. Music is subjective of course, but even if you don’t like the tunes themselves, you’d have to admit they seemlessly fit what’s on screen. More than once these blasts from the past turn a good scene into a great one. And even the credits become more than just screen filler until the next post-credit scene. It’s not a coincidence that Awesome Mix Vol 2 is playing while I’m typing this.
Come a Little Bit Closer
Is James Gunn’s second Marvel project a perfect movie, then? Not quite. Every once in a while, it will hit a false note. The film is a comedy, and a dang funny one at that. However, some of the jokes overstay their welcome to the point where they’re messing with the flow of the movie. It’s not a big issue, and the next scene usually more than makes up for it, but it’s an issue nonetheless.
Bring It On Home to Me
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is what every sequel should be. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but this muscle car’s certainly had a tune-up. As such, it probably won’t be making many new fans. But if Guardians of the Galaxy was your jam, you owe it to yourself to rock up to the first Vol 2 screening you can find.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is the second part in writer/director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. It stars Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Groot, Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha, and Kurt Russell as Ego the Living Planet. It releases in theaters April 27th or May 5th, depending on your region.