As much as you would expect, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is not as fun, fresh and original as its 2014 predecessor. You can’t go back to the same well twice just as successfully, especially if what you’re manufacturing is as dizzying and colourfully a confection as this, the 15th installment of Marvel’s cinematic universe.
It is what it is, which is a bright, shiny, noisy, silly roller coaster ride. Much like the original. And it could not possibly be more fun. It’s not as fun, it’s not as silly, it makes as little sense, and I swear it could not be more entertaining.
And as a man who makes lots of compilations, having a massively-budgeted superhero movie filled with AM-FM hits from the 70s… James Gunn, you are OK in my book. The original Guardians was this thing that should not have been the critical and commercial hit that it was. The plot itself (much as it was) is ludicrous; formed more for the confines of your local comic book store, for aficionados alone – not for mainstream acceptance. I mean, a guy named Star Lord, a green skinned alien girl, a tattooed muscleman, an anthropomorphic racoon and a walking, talking tree as a rag-tag group of galactic saviours. But it had heart, sound, colour and wit (so much wit) going for it that one could not help but be sold, if not smitten.
So a sequel comes along, for there is money to be made more so than there is a cultural imperative to continue the narrative arc, and the sequel follows all but the same formula, but this time throws in a new villain, a new supporting character, bigger effects, a new mix tape. And it’s much of the same, but more. More of what you liked, which is everything about the first one, and nothing that you didn’t, which is a curious notion given that the first one was so good on its own.
I can’t tell you what it’s about, firstly because that’s not really what I do (read the plot section on IMDB if you need to know), and also because it’s really not worth knowing. Like the first one, I don’t know, there’s a bad guy and a bunch of wild scenarios and shit blowing up. This time around, there’s conflict and villains and double crossing, and more shit blows up, and then you hear another 70s standard and more shit blows up. I love these movies, except when I kind of don’t.
We are again promised a third outing for the Guardians, and by the film’s conclusion I figured a third might actually be enough. Stretching the friendship into a multiple-episode franchise would probably do a major disservice to the ingenuity and fun on display. Some people go to the cinema for ‘films’ or ‘cinematic’ works. Some go for the movies. This is a movie, movie. Love it.