Let’s not beat around the bush on this one: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is more of the same. It is nearly a carbon copy of the original film. Now, is that a bad thing? No. To me that is not a bad thing. I have seen so many sequels try and reinvent the wheel on their second go and fall flat in the process; I have no issue with a film taking an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of mentality.
Like the first Guardians film, Vol. 2 is all about the “moments” versus the overall plot. The overall plot here is fine, but it’s these moments that we all look back on and smile about. Except for the obvious one—Baby Groot—I think Rocket once again steals the show. Bradley Cooper just plays this character so freaking well. Pratt and Saldana are great together, and there’s some good interludes between Dave Bautista and newcomer Pom Klementieff as well. Once again Elizabeth Debicki is a great villain. Also, the effects are great! Mostly. There were a few times where the CGI was overwhelming, but for the most part they were great. Especially on Ego’s planet! That place is freaking beautiful and that’s thanks 100% to the effects.
Touching on Kurt Russell . . . well, I didn’t think he was all that good. Look, things start well enough with him, but as the film progresses and he’s asked to be more than just charming and charismatic, he really falters. And what happens to him in the final act? Please. Terrible casting choice. Almost as bad as asking us to believe a 61-year-old Ian McDiarmid could take on four Jedi, including Samuel L. Jackson, in Revenge of the Sith, no problem.
Then there’s the pacing. Holy crap, the pacing in this film is terrible. Seriously! Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 drags its way to the third act with some absolutely meaningless setup. I found myself just straight-up impatient and wanting this film to just get on with it! It comes in at 136 minutes, but it could’ve easily shaved 30 minutes off its run time. The pacing is really a product of another big problem with this film—the overall story is really not all that compelling. Like the original, this film is all about the moments (which are great), and in the process of this the overarching story suffers.
Oh! And can we please get other Marvel characters to acknowledge this crap? I mean, I know they’re going to an Infinity War, but there were, what, five post-credit scenes here and not one of them was like Iron Man or someone from the Avengers investigating the damage the Guardians did! C’mon! Five post-credit scenes and literally none of them added anything to the film.
You probably think I hated the film. I really didn’t! It’s fine and it’s fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just hate how a film like this gets a free pass. We groan about unnecessary sequels and reboots, but crowds flock to every Marvel film in existence and think they’re the best things ever, even when they do the exact things we always groan about. But all of this does not take away from the fact that this is a fun movie. It is the definition of a mindless popcorn flick. And that doesn’t change the fact that it is more of the same.