Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ a faithful sequel

Although the film has its issues, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” still holds much of the love and charm of its predecessor — the 2014 hit film, “Guardian of the Galaxy.” The sequel follows Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the guardians as they deal with a new threat to the galaxy. It also introduces new characters, such as Star-Lord’s long lost father, and overall focuses more on character relationships.

In almost all accounts, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” manages to recapture the allure of the previous film. Much of the original cast returns, including standouts such as the living tree, Groot (Vin Diesel), and the talking, trigger happy animal, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper). The comedic atmosphere and witty banter between these characters is still prevalent. The moments between Raccoon and Groot are among the best — especially the scenes in which Raccoon has to explain to the child-minded Groot what he has to do. These scenes highlight the friendship between these two and show just how well they know each other.

Surprisingly, the supporting character Yondu (Michael Rooker) made the most impact, stealing the spotlight whenever on screen. Throughout the film, Rooker gave an impressive performance and had great chemistry with the other actors. In fact, Yondu’s interactions with other characters (especially Star-Lord) were amongst the most memorable in the movie.

However, it is not flawless. Though some of the characters make impactful performances, not all characters leave lasting impressions. Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) performance is not that impressive. Gamora just doesn’t leave a noticeable mark compared to the other characters such as Raccoon and Yondu, and just disappears in the background. Even worse is her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillian), who is the weakest amongst the characters. Her sole goal is to kill Gamora for the pain she caused her, which Nebula describes at length. Her dialogue performance is also rather lackluster — her tone never shifts or evolves. She always delivers her lines in a brooding and sheathing way. There is no break up in Nebula emotional presentation, which leaves her one-dimensional.

The plot takes a backseat in the film. Much of the movie revolves around developing the relationships with its characters. For example, a large portion of the film is focused on Star-Lord and his now discovered Father, Ego (Kurt Russell). Because of the lack of plot, when things do happen, they often feel forced or misplaced. One example of this is the villain Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). She does occasionally appear in the movie. However, when present, things quickly begin to escalate — such as her starting a giant space battle. Once Ayesha exits the scene, things calm down. Her appearances in the movie offset the tone of the film, and end up convoluting the plot with incoherent writing.

Bottom line, I would recommend this film. It manages to live up to most of the expectations set by fans of the previous film and those who enjoyed the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” will without a doubt like this addition to the franchise. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” holds much of the same humor as the previous, and the character interactions are the best part by far.

COURTESY OF WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES

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