I wrote this as a sample piece for a potential article submission site, but they rejected it because I couldn’t physically format it to their spec, so screw it, I’ve written it, people can read it if they want. May expand it past the word limit they gave me at some point.
After breezing into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, director James Gunn set out to conquer the sophomore slump. With Vol. 2 he will have satisfied many, but some will be let down by the slightly bloated plot and very familiar third act.
The film centres around Chris Pratt’s leading man Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quill, and his relationship with his father Ego, an ancient, godlike played brilliantly by Kurt Russell. The original cast return, but we are treated to some new faces across the 136 minute runtime. Sylvester Stallone joins to lend his weight to a franchise famed for it’s levity. If you listen carefully enough, you’ll even hear Miley Cyrus lending her voice.
Vol. 2: Too much, or too little?
The main issue of the film – to me, at least – is that it doesn’t quite know what it wants to accomplish. There seems to be a slight discord between Gunn’s vision and Marvel Studios’ plan for their universe. The Ravagers and The Sovereign are both elements that were given a lot of time, seemingly with spinoffs in mind, which gave us less time with the guardians we fell in love with in the first place.
Splitting the team up for a large chunk of screen time helped to get a lot of character arcs in, Quill, Gomorrah and Rocket all progressed as characters over the course of the film, but Drax the Destroyer and Yondu were the standouts; Drax providing much of the comedic relief and Yondu capping off a rather mundane third act with the deepest emotional beat of the movie.
Managing people’s sky-high expectations on Guardians 2 was always going to be a tough task, but another stellar soundtrack and the same brilliant characters absolutely puts Vol.2 among the upper tier of Marvel movies.