Remember the times when superhero movies would only come out once every few years? Those days are now long gone. This year alone, we’ve got three Marvel movies, one X-Men movie, and two DC movies. Basically, if you want to watch a movie starring comic book characters, you get to take your pick. This can make it difficult when deciding which one to watch (if you’re trying to save your money, that is).
The most recent of these films is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Continuing the story explored in the first movie, we get a much more in-depth look at the relationship between the Guardians as well as the mysterious parentage of Star-Lord. A powerful part of Marvel’s Phase 3, this flick, no doubt, excited and is exciting a lot of people, most especially after the massive success of the first movie.
However, the big question remains: is it worth your money? That largely depends on what you want out of a Guardians movie, but we’ve seen it and have some pros and cons to make you think critically about whether or not you should see it, too. From there, the decision is entirely yours. Despite whether you’re exhausted with superhero movies or not, there are some things to think about before dropping $20 at your local theater.
Here are 8 reasons why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 sucks and 7 reasons why it’s worth your money. Mild spoilers are ahead.
Very early in the film, it’s clear that Guardians 2 is thriving off of the success of the first movie. On top of that, James Gunn has many things to set up and resolve in just a few short hours. While the payoff is quite nice, it’s the first half of the film that takes the most hits altogether.
The film starts with an exhilarating opening sequence before moving right into its main plot. However, it’s not long before there are multiple threads to be followed. Frequently, the film cuts from one part of the story to another, which often leaves the audience hanging as a result. It almost got to the point where many of us questioned what the actual plot was, altogether.
There are also some scenes that overstay their welcome, as well as some important pieces of dialogue that are cut way too short. It might be one of those things that you won’t notice unless you’re looking for it, but either way, it does get better when the real conflict gets moving.
Each character had their own moment to shine in Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the same can’t be said for the sequel. Every character has his or her moments except for Drax. This isn’t just relegated to little standout scenes. Each member of the team has a purpose for being there as well as a small arc that gets resolved by the end of the film. Drax is the only exception to this. He doesn’t have anything to do in the movie, and it shows very early on. One minute he’s taking down monsters, and the next, he’s spouting random nuggets of wisdom.
Another problem with Drax is that he’s a huge source of comic relief in the film. What makes this a bit more jarring than usual is that his character in the first movie wasn’t very humorous. He took everything very seriously and didn’t find the humor in many things. It would’ve made more sense for him to behave so differently in the two movies had the gap between them been much longer, but considering that Guardians 2 takes place only three months after Guardians 1, there’s a bit of disconnect in the balance. Simply put, Drax the Destroyer didn’t have as much to do in this movie as he did in the first one.
13. The Jokes
Before I continue, I will say that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is much funnier than Guardians of the Galaxy. However, James Gunn takes a more opportunistic approach, and by that, I mean that he takes just about every opportunity to tell a joke as he can. Just about every scene in the film includes some kind of side joke or comment that’s meant to make the audience laugh. While many of them hit the mark, there are some that fall flat as well as take away from moments that are supposed to be serious.
Another poor aspect of these jokes is that many of them are a little risque. They seem to have more shock value as opposed to genuine hilarity. You’ll recognize these jokes as they come about, but know that if you’re worried about what your children are exposed to through the television, you may want to consider that before taking them with you to see this movie. Overall, the jokes are largely quite funny, but they’re almost constantly happening, which distracts from the plot of the movie and some emotional moments. If you like that sort of thing, then you’ll have no problem here.
12. The Sovereign
In the marketing for this movie, the villains were revealed to be the Sovereign. Without giving too much away, these characters are self-indulgent and technologically-advanced folk that see themselves as better than the rest of the universe. Yet, they come in contact with the Guardians, and after an unfortunate circumstance, want to kill the team. This leads to them going to various extremes to try and take down the Guardians.
However, they were, by far, one of the least interesting aspects of the film. It seems that they were only there to manufacture conflict in the movie. They were also integrated with the rapid-fire humor that was characteristic of the film. Many times, their behavior felt shoehorned in to coincide with the rest of the characters and the tone of the moment. When the climax of the movie happens, you’ll be left wondering why the Sovereign are actually there in the first place. It’s further explained in the end-credits scenes, but we’ll get to that in a minute. For now, understand that these yellow aliens aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and don’t offer any heavy amounts of tension. They’re there just for the visual extravaganza they provide.
11. Setup for Guardians 3
It’s no secret that Marvel movies love to set each other up, and we’ve come to accept that nowadays. With the looming conflict of Thanos in Infinity War next year, we’re expecting to see some kind of tease to that battle. However, no such tease was given in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Instead, the film focuses solely on setting up future installments to the Guardians franchise, particularly the third entry. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does raise some issues.
Without giving too much away, there are new characters introduced in this movie who will likely have much bigger roles when Vol. 3 releases sometime during Phase 4. The problem with this is that audiences don’t have anything to look forward to in the immediate future. By forcing moviegoers to look so far ahead, they might get overwhelmed with having to keep up with all of the Marvel movies. It might’ve been better for James Gunn to have a subtle tease of Infinity War considering how heavy Thanos’ influence was on both Nebula and Gamora. That being said, Guardians 3 is shaping to be an extraordinary film.
In the movie, another plotline is started with Yondu once some of the Ravagers feel that he’s starting to go soft. At that point, the Ravager Taserface decides that he’s going to dethrone Yondu and take over the crew (something that was never really touched on in the first movie apart from one line by Yondu himself). From then on, it seems that Taserface will be a pretty big player throughout the rest of the film. Nope. Instead of serving a greater purpose, Taserface is a one-and-done type of deal whom we will likely never see again.
To make matters worse, the character’s inclusion in the film only seemed to be grounds for telling more jokes. As a matter of fact, the same joke was made regarding this character several times, and it got old pretty quickly. Perhaps, it was better that he didn’t have more time in the movie, as it would’ve led to the same joke being told for the rest of the runtime. We’d be probably be doing a “Top 15 Reasons Guardians 2 Sucks” if that were the case. When it comes to antagonists, Taserface is one person you should just ignore.
This a problem with a lot of movies, but something that I personally noticed several times in Guardians 2. First of all, there’s a character who brings up Star-Lord’s father. Just a few minutes after that, his dad shows up to save his butt. Let’s talk about that for a minute. The Guardians were in a very tough spot and seemingly had no way to get out. Then Star-Lord’s father just showed up out of nowhere and saved their butts from certain destruction.
There are many moments in this film that feel awfully convenient, and it’s somewhat unfortunate as a result. The one person who knows how to calm down the main villain just so happens to be working with the Guardians. Someone offers Yondu a job at the same time some of his crew are questioning his leadership. Baby Groot just so happens to be competent when the situation demands him to be that way. I shouldn’t be too harsh, though. While there are plenty of plot conveniences in the film, it’s something that’s almost impossible to get away from and shouldn’t sway your interest in seeing it. If you’re the people behind Honest Trailers or CinemaSins, though, you might start running the other way.
8. Daddy Issues
It’s clear that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was going to deal with some daddy issues, as Peter Quill was meeting his real father for the very first time. From there, we got to see Quill coming to terms with a lot of pent-up rage over never having a father, as well as some hurt emotions when he asked his old man why he disappeared. At that point, it goes in the direction you might expect, and that’s the biggest problem with this.
The problem with all of these daddy issues is that we’ve seen all of this before. Many times, there has been a character who had a deadbeat dad and had to meet him in the future only to figure out that he wasn’t as great as the character was expecting. That’s essentially all you need to know about Star-Lord’s relationship with Ego. There’s also another character who takes on the role of Star-Lord’s de facto father, but this connection doesn’t feel very earned, especially considering the events of the first Guardians movie. It’s heartwarming, but it doesn’t feel quite streamlined with the previous outing.
7. The Color Palette
I’ve said many times before that the colors in most Marvel movies are very dull and uninspired. However, the studio has brought in a new camera to shoot their films, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was the first guinea pig to try it out. Allow me to be the first to say that the entire film looks absolutely gorgeous. The blacks are as deep as can be, and there are bright colors and warm tones in every shot.
What makes this color palette stand out more is the fact that James Gunn is not afraid to embrace all of the ridiculous and out-there aspects of comic books. This leads to beasts breathing out rainbow colors, fleets of yellow ships blasting powerful lasers, and an entire planet packed to the brim with beautiful greens and oranges. In short, you’re going to be in awe when you watch this movie, as well as wondering why Marvel hasn’t shot more of their movies in this manner. Each character has his or her own unique color and stands out against the backgrounds in each scene.
6. The Soundtrack
It’s no secret that of all of the Marvel soundtracks, Guardians of the Galaxy reigns supreme. In that respect, you’ll be pleased to know that James Gunn has outdone himself in this movie. Classic 70s hits are in full force, and each of them compliments what’s happening onscreen. However, what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does better than its predecessor is that the music is much more integrated into the story. Each tune’s tone and lyrics fit the scenes that they’re in. There are even moments in the movie where the songs actually play a heavy part through the characters mentioning them. Each character also makes direct mention of the songs, and they’re purposely added into each fight.
It’s clear that the music means a lot to Peter Quill, and his love for music makes it all extremely heartwarming. Furthermore, it serves as a method of bonding for him and his long lost father. That mutual love then feeds into how they interact with each other during the conflict of the film. No doubt that this soundtrack will be just as popular as the one from the first movie and will even be better remembered.
Rocket Raccoon was one of the most memorable characters of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, but he gets much more time to shine in the sequel. Rocket is given his own character arc in this movie, and it makes him much more lovable in the process. After struggling with some inner demons, Rocket learns in his own way what it means to be a part of a family. It not only functions with how he interacts with Baby Groot but even how he relates with other characters, especially Star-Lord and Yondu.
Another reason why Rocket is excellent in this movie is the kinds of jokes that he tells. As I stated before, this movie has a lot of jokes, and some of them don’t always land. That’s not the case for Rocket, though, as many of his snide comments and rude jokes are consistently funny. He tends to be very serious and brutally honest with how he feels, and that leads to some laugh-worthy moments. There are some particularly funny scenes where Rocket is trying to participate in sarcasm and doesn’t quite understand how it works.
4. The Easter Eggs
The first Guardians movie had a lot of easter eggs for us comic fans to dig into, but this movie takes easter eggs to a completely different level. From beginning to end, there are several nods to different characters from the comics as well as some objects from that world. Howard the Duck returns, but he was placed in the actual film as opposed to an end-credits scene.
In this aspect, where the film really shines are in its end-credits scenes. (There are five of them if you haven’t heard.) Sylvester Stallone gets a really good scene with a few other characters that bodes well for the future. We also got a tease of Adam Warlock and his inclusion in the MCU. Then, to finish things off with a bow, James Gunn ended the film with the Stan Lee cameo to end all Stan Lee cameos. I won’t spoil it here, but it essentially confirms a lot of theories as well as explains how we see this man in the many Marvel movies. If you get anything out of this entry, make it so that you stay all the way through the movie’s credits.
Perhaps one of the most annoying characters in Guardians of the Galaxy was Yondu. He was selfish and seemed to only use Peter Quill as a means of getting what he wanted. On top of that, all he ever did for the kid was make sure that nobody ate him. Believe it or not, the character of Yondu was completely turned on its head this time around. I was particularly blown away by what they did with the character.
First of all, we’re given Yondu’s true motivations for not delivering Peter to his father. This not only makes us love the character more but also gives us a look at how he operates and cares for other people. Secondly, as Yondu is integrated with the Guardians, he gets proper moments to shine as well as understand the good things he’s done to the world. In the end of it all, Yondu ends up redeeming himself and has a heart-wrenching moment with Star-Lord. By the time the film ends, the events surrounding Yondu feel earned. We feel connected with the character and want to see more of him in the future.
2. The Climax
As I stated earlier, the first half of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t have the best pacing, but those concerns go out the window by the time the second half comes around. Each set of characters is doing their own thing, but when the climax is ready to happen, they all come together and make the same revelation. From there, the tension skyrockets, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are ready to fight back and save the cosmos once more. After all, they’ll be able to jack up their rates in the end.
There are many reasons as to why the climax works so well, and one of them is that the jokes aren’t as frequent. Yes, they’re still there, but more care and thought was put into them, and they were genuinely funny. Another reason is that the visual work was so astounding. This movie benefits from having a more vibrant color palette, and coupled with some stellar visual effects, it’s a pure joy to look at. Perhaps the biggest reason why the climax works so well is because of how personal it is. We, as the audience, are rooting for Star-Lord and his team to take down the bad guy because we dislike him as much as they do.
1. Ego the Living Planet
If you want to avoid any major spoilers, skip this entry. I’m not going to be able to do it any justice without delving into specific reasoning.
We all know that Ego is Star-Lord’s father. He comes back for his son and takes him to his home planet. It’s revealed that he’s a Celestial and only has a human body because he created it so. He wanted to know the meaning of life and met Peter’s mom before disappearing into the cosmos once more.
However, there’s a twist to all of this. Ego slowly unravels his true intentions to Star-Lord. He had many children with many women because he wanted another person to help him expand his living empire to every corner of the planet. He only went back for Star-Lord because Peter was the only one who had the Celestial power inside. Then as the icing on the cake, Ego was the one who put the tumor in Peter’s mom. From that point on, he’s hated, and we want him dead. However, this is all done so well that Ego avoids the tendency of Marvel villains being quite terrible. He’ll be remembered for quite some time after this movie.