The band is back together AND then some.
"Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2" is the sequel that I was most anticipating this summer. All the original gang is back with Peter Quill, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Nebula, Yondu and Groot (in baby form).
The movie picks up right into a battle with the team trying to defeat this large creature to protect some valuable batteries for the Sovereign alien race. The producers of the previous film noticed how popular dancing Groot was so much that they lean on that by having Groot dance throughout the entire battle and opening credits. It was very cute and a fun way to showcase the tone of the film you are about to see.
Kurt Russell is introduced in this film as Ego the Living Planet and Peter Quill's father. His role was very well done. I latched on to him in every scene and it made me think of the previous films of Kurt Russell like "Big Trouble in Little China" and "Overboard." I know "Overboard" is a stretch but when I think Kurt Russell — I can't help but think about that movie. Anyways, this film was a very fun ride. The characters continue with their gags, puns and insults — especially Drax and Rocket Raccoon.
Most of the viewing audience have been falling in love with Baby Groot, but Yondu was the standout character in this film for me. His character arc is very well told by Michael Rooker and he plays a very pivotal role in the overall meaning of the film.
The film overall was very rinse and repeat from the first. It was almost as if James Gunn said: "Hey — you like it when Drax is very blunt and obvious with his jokes. Let's give him more lines like that." "Hey you like it when Groot is dancing and cute, let's give you more that."
I was a huge fan of the original film. It was fresh. We had never seen these characters portrayed before on the big screen or TV. It had a great team origin story and cohesiveness. This film didn't really have all those elements. While I enjoyed the humor and action scenes I wasn't a fan of the plot or so called "villain" of the film. The plot lacked depth for me and used the troupe of family to tell the story. As other reviewers have stated it, was very much like hearing Vin Diesel talk about family in the "Fast and Furious" franchise. I understand the point and understand if the director wants to use it as part of driving the narrative but not the main focus. So much so that it's the "villain" of the film? Come on.
One of the other issues I had with the film was the soundtrack. In volume one, the soundtrack was basically a character of the film. It played a pivotal role in telling the story. Each song was iconic and was used properly. This volume had maybe like 3 songs that I knew and the rest were filler to just play during battle scenes. Maybe it's just a generational thing but I didn't like the selections. I would equate these two film soundtracks as such, the first was Michael Jackson's Thriller album with hit after hit after hit and the second being Michael Jackson's Dangerous album with a couple of good songs.
Overall, the movie is good but it just felt like it was being a little forceful in trying to capture the same feeling of the first. I would have preferred it if the director gave us a proper villain, a better plot and a little less of the same gags as before.
I still recommend "Volume 2" if you a fan of volume one, but just know that the popcorn might get a little stale halfway through. Regardless of it's flaws that i have with it, I'm giving it a Smash.