Having seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I’m not compelled to review it. But since I mentioned Guardians 2 in my last post (“Life Rambles Ep. 3”), I might as well say something about it, and that is that Guardians 2 is a standard Marvel sequel, like Iron Man 2, Thor: The Dark World, and Age of Ultron, but it may be the most interesting of them.
While Guardians 1 begins these antiheroes’ paths towards nobility, Guardians 2 subverts this by ramping up the crassness and meanness. On the other hand, it also ramps up the emotions to the point where the film closes on a bold gut-punch. Of course, said ending is followed up by mid-credits scenes filled with gags and obligatory universe building (I actually got the first one’s Howard the Duck scene, but a couple of these left me scratching my head), but I’d be lying if I said the climax didn’t move me. The stakes of the third act (although, opposite X-Men: Apocalypse, the movie feels like a normal first act followed by a really long second act) are typically apocalyptic, but they’re given a bit more resonance than normal by a harrowing revelation for Peter Quill.
It may not lift the spirits in the end, or at least not for me, but there are plenty of moments of the original’s fun, especially the opening sequence where the Guardians are, while listening to “Mr. Blue Sky”, battling a giant creature that literally spits neon-rainbow clouds, and that’s only a taste of the film’s refreshingly striking color pallet.
Still, asking us to revel in antiheroism isn’t only mean but also a safe bet; what would have been bold, and would have helped me appreciate the somber denouement more, is if the story were about the Guardians’ further path toward true heroism, as long as it would have stood as well on its own as the version of this sequel we got. While Guardians 2 won’t be remembered as a classic like its predecessor, it’s a serviceable sequel of more of the same, if not always in a good way.