With the success of Deadpool and Logan, there’s been debate over whether or not superhero and comic book films should embrace an R rating. Modern superhero films, like Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and DC’s Justice League series (they don’t have a fancy name yet [Are you sure? – Ed.]), have been met with slight criticism over their PG-13 ratings, and there’s a belief that more blood, boobs, and bad words could improve them. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, on the other hand, loudly and proudly proves that there’s a lot you can do with PG-13.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 follows up an unspecified time after the first movie. The team is enjoying a modicum of space-fame and space-success after their win against Ronan, while still being scoundrels to the core. Without spoiling more than a trailer would, the team is met by Peter “Star-Lord” Quill’s long-lost father, and shenanigans ensue. While the stakes are still high, it tells a smaller, more personal story, but still manages to build the world and characters in a believable way.
Director James Gunn really deserves praise for the film. He seems to have mastered his style of comedic action, and the movie is entertaining throughout. Physical humour and jokes are delivered well, and the wide cast of characters all get their chances and have some great lines. It’s funnier than the first, and a particular scene between Rocket Raccoon and a space-pirate named Taserface is particularly memorable. This carries over to the dialogue as well. Awkward characters have awkward dialogue, it all just feels natural.
The action scenes are well executed, and work as well as the dialogue. The camera work gives the audience a clear mental picture of where everyone is in relation to each other. The humour extends into the fighting too, and the movie plays around with insane weaponry and creative kills to make battles funny and thrilling. The camerawork and cinematography shines through, and the film uses slow motion and the occasional wide shot to give the audience time to appreciate the scale of a battle.
If fault has to be found, it’s during its second act, which deals with two concurrent plots. One of them is well paced and thrilling, the other drags on too much before jumping into the third act with what feels like insufficient build-up. The writing and acting is still top-notch, it just feels as though the movie didn’t have enough time to flesh out the villain. Furthermore, the only complaint about the action is that Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista) doesn’t have any truly good fights. He makes up for it by being one of the funniest characters, but everyone else has at least one utter badass scene.
However, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just delightful. It tells a story that expands on the characters and places, has writing that is well delivered and flows naturally, and is just generally entertaining throughout. Arguably, the movie can be regarded as filler because it doesn’t contribute in a meaningful way to the looming Avengers 3, but that’s not really a problem here. Sometimes you don’t need a grand design, or tie-ins to other Marvel characters. Sometimes, you just need a group of space-badasses going about their business and having space-adventures.
94Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is well worth the price of admission, and an excellent expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It launches on 5 May, and make sure you stay seated for all the post-credits scenes.