Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review Vol. 2 (CAUTION: Spoilers Ahead)

AJ Bloomfield

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I am a very dedicated Marvel fan and I am always in the first showing possible when a new flick is released. With the first installment of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn expertly wove an exciting plot, intimate characterization, excellent humor, and an incredible soundtrack. The movie was laugh out loud funny, the CGI was incredible, but, most importantly, it made as much sense as a movie about a magic rock can make. After so many loved the first installment, Guardians 2 was highly anticipated by super fans and casuals alike, myself included. But when the final end credit scene rolled, I was genuinely disappointed that my buttery treat was the best part of the entire movie excursion. In my opinion, Guardians 2 was a massive let down that cannot compare to any Marvel movie released in the last 6 years, except maybe Fant4stic. (I’m excluding X-men because that whole franchise is so confusing right now that I don’t know what to think. All I know is that Deadpool is a bad*ss.) Volume 2 had no plot, irrelevant characterization, and left the viewer confused and concerned about the future of Marvel as a whole.

At the end of Guardians Vol. I, the Quill-lead quintet battled Ronan, snatching the purple Infinity Stone and leaving it for protection with the Collector, a man who already controls the red Infinity Stone from the Asgardians. In Vol. 2, the Collector was never once mentioned, and the Infinity Stone only once. The Infinity Stones are the central crux of all Avengers Universe conflict in the build up to Avengers: Infinity Wars. We have seen the Space Stone (in the Tesseract), Mind Stone (in Vision’s head/Loki’s scepter), Reality Stone (Asgardians give to the Collector), Power Stone (Guardians give to the Collector), and the Time Stone (Doctor Strange’s amulet the Eye of Agamotto). We have not yet seen the Soul Stone, and no one has addressed the possibility of any new stone crisis. The only mention of the Infinity Stones came from Ego, a weak character who lacked substance. Ego came and went with very little emotion attached. It took a whole 15 seconds for his son to release that he was bad and then an absolutely adorable scene with Baby Groot saved the day. The plot attempted to follow the daddy issues with Nebula, Star-Lord’s reunion with his father, Rocket’s thieving consequences, the evolution of the Sovereign (who just kinda appeared and had no context whatsoever), and the movement of world conquering blue goo.

The movie accomplished nothing. It made Peter realize that he was a Celestial, only to take away that power. It made Rocket a little less of a jerk, but he would never admit it. It gave Gamora and Nebula a better sister bond, but it was irrelevant to the plot, as their new team had no bearing on Ego or the other characters.

Guardians of the Galaxy was a humorous movie with joke after joke, but the sequel had a few jokes that incited chuckles, most coming from Drax in the form of a bluntly stated remark. I admit to enjoying the occasional scene with Baby Groot, but partially because it was nostalgic and reminded me of the humor in original movie.

One of the most remarkable things about the first movie was the 70’s references that were both funny and enjoyable. The killer soundtrack has sold over 1.75 million, second best for a 2014 soundtrack, only behind Frozen. Featuring hits like Hooked on a Feeling, Spirit in the Sky, and Cherry Bomb, the audience was left humming it for days, if not weeks. Vol. 2’s soundtrack featured some heavy hitters, but it did not come close to earning the title “Awesome Mix Vol. 2”.

Volume 2 is a Marvel movie, and every Marvel movie has it’s iconic battle. Avenger’s had the fight against aliens from a wormhole. Captain America: Civil War had the airport battle. Even Ant-Man had an epic fight scene that was action packed and intense despite the presence of Thomas the Tank Engine. Guardian’s 2 had no such scene. I watched the movie just four days ago and the intricacies of the final showdown are already fading. I found it far-fetched, uninvolving for a team superhero movie, as no one other than Star-Lord could do anything, and generally boring. There was no action that stuck out to me in the entire movie.

In the end, I am genuinely concerned for the future of Marvel. Another flop like this could completely mess up the course that Marvel fans like myself have been waiting so patiently for. With Spiderman: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok in the not-so-distant future, I have no idea how the grand union of all heroes in Infinity Wars will play out. Everyone, from Iron Man to Groot to Doctor Strange to Black Widow is confirmed to be in it. With Guardians 2 being the last time we will see our intergalactic crime fighting team until this grand culmination, we are no closer to seeing how they will get to Earth or even be alerted that they are required. The Earthlings in Marvel are still in shock that aliens (Asgardians specifically) exist. They are nowhere close to contacting the Nova Corp or the Guardians of the Galaxy. I am very confused why the MCU was elected to remain in the uneasy spot it currently balances in with the last 3 movies in the franchises having nothing to do with each other; Civil War, Doctor Strange, and Vol. 2 all were the last time we are going to see these characters before Infinity War. Marvel is running along the fine line between suspense and hopelessness and they need Thor and Spiderman to start to build up to the climax that we fans are expecting.