There is a lot to learn from this for some of the other formulaic Marvel films
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has managed to take fringe comic book characters and turn them into fully fledged blockbusters. Guardians Of The Galaxy was the original but that was followed closely by Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, and Black Panther is due a release next February. Yet, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (GOTG2) is the first sequel to any of these heroes. It takes full advantage of the path set by the original film and tries to expand on the galaxy it created so well the first time round.
The Guardians have been hired by the Sovereign, a race of perfect beings, to protect highly valuable batteries from being stolen by an intergalactic monster. When Rocket decides to steal some of the batteries for himself on the way out, the Sovereign send their whole fleet to catch and destroy the Guardians. Just as their chances are looking bleak, they are saved by someone from deep in Star-Lord’s past.
GOTG2 manages to use the first film’s heroics and expand the lore. In just three years, the Guardians have gone from complete unknowns to huge comic book stars. This second film needed to move the characters on, and give the team a fresh dynamic to run from. Some of the characters really thrive from this moving on process, but just as many struggle to show their promise.
Drax is easily the most improved character with hilarious notions at every turn and really is the major joy in the film. Anytime he isn’t on screen there is a pine for him to return and his chemistry with new character Mantis is majestic. Bautista continues to bring the socially incorrect character into the realms of hilarity. Star Lord also profits with his origins explored and Groot becomes the most adorable creature in the galaxy as Baby Groot.Gamora and Rocket however don’t expand as well. Rocket simply isn’t given enough material, whereas Gamora’s material is some of the weakest seen between the two films. There is definitely a bit of a mismatch where the first film managed to produce a perfect equilibrium.
Visually, the film is fantastic and it’s off-piste style works beautifully again. These films are brilliant for changing the formulaic style Marvel is continually pushing out. However, GOTG2’s major flaw is its tiny plot. It is perfectly cohesive but it has such an underdeveloped storyline and it ends up overloading scenes and elongating elements that needed a reduced time frame in order to convey their worth. It continuously overuses scenes with the run time raising needlessly. A more concise film with a shorter run time would have worked better. There is much more gratuitous violence in these scenes but doesn’t manage the charm of the first. These longer scenes show it more vividly, in a way that doesn’t quite work.
However, without giving away any spoilers, the ending is very pertinent, especially for a marvel film and it does round off the film in an apt form. There is a definitely a progress feel to the whole picture and there is a lot to learn from this for some of the other formulaic Marvel films.
In reality though, this is two hours of hilarity and mishap, and if it weren’t for the insanely high bar set by the first film, GOTG2 would be looking even better than it does now. As far as sequels go, GOTG2 hasn’t done much wrong.