Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2, Marvel ***1/2
Guardians of the Galaxy is not just the best Marvel movie, but one of the best sci-fi films of all time. The original gambled on unknown Marvel comic characters, placed them front and centre, in what became a hilarious, action packed romp through deep space.
The sequel, Vol. 2, had such impeccable standards to live up to that Marvel needed to pull a film of Empire Strikes Back proportions out of the hat to surpass it. Unfortunately, whilst GotGv2 remains at all times laugh-out-loud funny, and visually comic-book incredible, the lack of plot to drive the story forward hinders the enjoyment.
The villain is flat out awful: there is, at no point, any threat that they might succeed in their plot. There is not even a lingering menace or inherent evil, the whole second half of the film coming straight out of the Marvel play book.
In fact, the whole story seems to take place in roughly one day: literally, we are one day further ahead in the plot by the end credits. There are no crossovers (which aren’t essential, but would have driven the MCU plot), no Thanos, and no existentential threat to the Galaxy.
The viewer learns nothing new about the characters, although the Guardians continue to do their party tricks in hilarious fashion. The action is still brilliantly fun, and the big fight scene is interspered with more great comedy.
Guardians of the Galaxy, vol.2 was an extremely enjoyable instalment, but had it been the first in the series, the whole project would have been dead in the water. What set the original apart from other Marvel films was the novelty: new characters, new settings, new adventures – complete departure from Earth bound superheroes that you were already familiar with.
Fortunately, with the bar set so high by the original, and the charisma of Star-Lord, Drax and Rocket to fall back on, the lack of plot doesn’t compound what was another awesome space adventure.
The Guardians of the Galaxy will return: here’s hoping it’s bigger and even better than volume 2.