James Gunn’s sophomore Marvel film is an out and out sequel which turns up the volume on almost every aspect of the original film, though occasionally to the sequel’s detriment.
Guardians 2’s story is best dissected as two parts of the same whole, The action plot and the emotional plot. The former side of the story is consistently enjoyable, with imaginative designs for weaponry and space ships making the set piece scenes visually engaging from start to finish. But the Latter is more inconsistent, it attempts to add great depth to almost every character on screen but it suffers from some massive pacing issues. This is furthered hampered by the fact that many of its core tensions and motivations are massively clichéd, which feels lazy and lacklustre in this, a franchise so known for its surprising nature.
The even bigger problem here is that both sides of the core narrative feel disconnected from each other. Where one reaches a high point the other is often at a low, or nowhere to be seen. Guardians 2 feels more like a collection of important scenes than a film that organically flows from one essential aspect to the next. The third act is by far the strongest part of the film, but with the first and second act being so tonally mismatched it serves merely as a functional pay off, to an equally functional build up.
A vital part of the film’s plot is it characters and most of the titular heroes benefit greatly from another entry in their franchise. We delve more in to their back story and get more of an understanding of their internal conflicts, though some benefit more than others. Gamora and Nebula, for example, whose sisterly issues are cleverly explored, leading to an aggressive, but eventually meaningful, dynamic between the two. Whereas Peter Quill’s, to put it lightly, daddy issues often feel lost under the weight of their own twists and turns.
The film’s construction is equal parts hit and miss. The music used in the film is excellent, as expected. Though some songs hit harder than others, leaving those others (mostly in the film’s second act) to feel a bit more filler-y this time around. Visually the film is notable for its vibrant use of colour, as rainbows saturate vital scenes throughout the film. This visual story telling often strengthens the best moments of the narrative. But where colour is a strength of the film it’s also a weakness, as an overuse of CGI creates a sense of disconnect between the action on screen and the back drop against which it happens.
Disconnected is in fact the best way to describe Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, it has two story lines that rarely come together to be anything better than functional, it’s got characters that both benefit from and struggle with their own development, whilst the team as a whole seems to make little progress. It’s got visuals that are as stunning and vibrant as they are fake and off putting. Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 is a film made up of very good parts, which don’t come together to elevate it to another level. Despite these issues, it’s a fun watch, if little more. It won’t stay with you in any meaningful way and you certainly won’t need to give it much thought. It fits Marvel perfectly in that it’s fun but it doesn’t have much more to offer.
Guardians Of The Galaxy: Volume 2 Scored: 7.0/10