Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

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Marvel scores a big one again. I wouldn’t say GotG Vol. 2 betters the original, but it is still winsomely zany, lined with passages of infectious lunacy and it still has the “there’s nothing to lose” vibe. But James Gunn’s template for making the sequel is the typical “double and triple-down everything that worked” approach, so in that sense it unfortunately doesn’t stray too much from the proven formula.

Set to the backdrop of ‘Awesome Mixtape #2,’ Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

I didn’t quite adore GotG Vol 1 when I first it. It was an interesting choice of adapting an obscure series of comics taken from the humongous Marvel pantheon of superheroes, but a rather kid-simple plot of chasing after a McGuffin didn’t engage me like the usual Marvel tentpole fares. However, that is precisely the reason why it worked, albeit in an unconventionally counter-clockwise way. It has oodles of charm and it is not afraid to risk anything. The second time I saw it in my HT my love for it blossomed.

Vol 2 thankfully abandons the simplistic McGuffin plot and delves deeper into the dynamics of the unlikely rag-tag team but with varying results. Everything is bigger, louder, noisier, vivider and longer. Everything that worked like a breath of fresh air is dialled up to the max. The characters don’t stray too much from their established origins but they do have moments to shine. IMHO the only character who has a genuine arc is Yondu. The storyline of Vol 2 feels like an extension of Vol 1, so in that sense it feels like the second act of a story that began in Vol 1. Same old bickering over the same situations; same old character tensions. I sound like I am complaining, I am not; it is just an observation.

As much as I detest this lazy formula for making sequels, there is still much to love here. The bickering and wise-ass jabs are killer. I laughed so hard at their antics and my stomach knotted when the jabs find their mark and hurt like hell. The action is definitely more vivid and busy. Don’t be late going into the theatre – the prologue is a sheer masterclass of juxtaposition between foreground and background, humour and mayhem with Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr Blue Sky being the icing on the cake. If the mix-tape soundtrack of Vol 1 is awesome, this new mix-tape of carefully curated songs is ear-gasmic and fits the subtext subliminally. The Sylvester Stallone cameo is cool, Baby Groot is a hoot and likewise with a few new characters. Kurt Russell as Peter Quill’s father is a great turn but my heart definitely goes out to the Mantis girl. The dialogue between Drax and her is killer!

Now that my expectations have been thrown out the airlock, I am sure when I see this a second time my love for it will grow. But right now, Vol 2 feels like not quite the scrumptious dish and I am still a little hungry.

 

3.5 / 5

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