“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” brings new life to the Marvel franchise


Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

Alex Toth, Entertainment Editor

The Marvel movie franchise in the past few years have been more of the same, and haven’t really shaken things up as far as style goes. 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy was a nice change of pace for Marvel, and it brought me hope as far as variety goes.  So when I heard that a second “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie was coming out, I wasn’t expecting Marvel to outdo themselves, but surprisingly they did exactly that.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is easily my favorite Marvel movie so far, and while it has its flaws, none of them really took away from how fun the movie was as a whole. The film breaks away from the typical Marvel format by not taking itself too seriously. It has a serious plot and has its fair share of emotional scenes, but the meat of the film lies in its humor, and fun tone.

Since “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” wasn’t written by a panel of corporate big wigs like usual, and instead was written by director James Gunn, the whole movie feels much more concise and whole. Plus someone who’s actually passionate about making the film, is going to do a much better job than a corporation that just wants to make a profit. Now that’s not to say that Marvel didn’t have a hand in the film. There are plenty of product placements and franchise building that’s typical of any Marvel movie, although it didn’t bother me too much.

Speaking of James Gunn, a standout piece of the film was its direction. Gunn has a unique style that carries throughout all of his movies, and it really works well with the “Guardians” series. The opening scene, where the Guardians are fighting an alien, instead of focusing directly on the action, it follows baby Groot around the set, watching him dance around while mayhem occurs in the background. It was one of the most entertaining scenes in the film and it set up perfectly what the rest of it entails.

Gunn also knows how to get the most out of an actor. He plays to their strengths and made sure that the characters relationships and dynamics were as realistic as they could be. Every single character has an arc in this movie, and while a few were unnecessary, it was nice to see them all develop in one way or another.

The plot revolves around Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) meeting his mysterious father, Ego (Kurt Russell). They hit it off and immediately bond. The plot develops from there, but explaining any further would easily spoil the movie. The plot worked well to continue the story of the “Guardians” franchise, and it satisfyingly answered the question, who is Star-Lord’s father? While it was a bit predictable, it worked well and it was nice to see a villain that isn’t just a flat, boring character with no personality. 

The movie was structured perfectly, it didn’t feel too slow or dragging like other Marvel films, and the scenes were paced in a way to keep my attention, but at the same time didn’t go by too fast. Its fun tone plays well with its fast snappy editing and its natural pacing.

In terms of acting, all of the actors do their job well, and I certainly had no complaints, but nothing stuck out to me. Chris Pratt is charming and charismatic as always and Bradley Cooper does a good job of playing the foul mouthed, quick witted Rocket. What the actors do best though is bringing out the dynamic in all of the characters. All of the actors have a unique chemistry that’s brought out well by the writing, and each of their differing personalities play well off of each other.

Kurt Russel was great as Ego, Star-Lords dad, and played a great father figure. He had all the charm that he normally does while still being true to the character, and it’s amazing to me that Marvel went with him playing his younger self, rather than getting a look alike or a computer generated clone.

Marvel never disappoints when it comes to visual effects and “Guardians Vol. 2” is no exception. The planetary landscapes and design of the universe was expertly done and it shows, Sometimes having a studio behind everything helps out. Everything was created with such detail that it’s hard to imagine the hours the animators put into this film.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was a surprisingly good, fun summer movie that’s definitely worth seeing in theatres. From its visuals to its well written plot, it captures everything you’d want from a superhero movie, and I had a lot of fun watching it.