“There are two types of beings in the universe: those who dance, and those who do not…”
In my review for the first Guardians movie, I wrote about how much a risk Marvel were taking. While on paper a film featuring a talking raccoon and a monosyllabic tree shouldn’t work, it became one of the most successful movies of 2014. On reflection, director James Gunn offset the wacky premise by making the film as broad and populist as possible. Vol. 2 picks up where the first film left off with a cute dance routine from Baby Groot while chaos explodes around him in a sequence that is closer to the Minions movie that to anything else in the Marvel canon. With most other directors this would be a criticism but what are the Indiana Jones films if not broad? What is the Back to the Future franchise if not populist?
Elsewhere in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers juggernaut rumbles on with films that all look the same and follow the same pattern. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is better than anything the Avengers franchise has ever produced. It is almost the perfect blockbuster. It has heart and emotional impact without ever taking itself too seriously. It appeals to children and adults alike, much like a live action Pixar film.
The thing that sets Guardians apart from its peers is how much each character is fleshed out. A talking raccoon has more emotional depth in one scene here than Captain America has managed over numerous films. This is not a take down of the Avengers however, it is just a testament to how good a film Guardians Vol. 2 actually is. Everything from the first movie is improved upon. Chris Pratt seems much more at home in the starring role, Drax (Dave Bautista) goes from being the worst thing about the first film to possibly the best in this and no film franchise has ever been weakened by the addition of Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell. The only criticism I can muster is in their quest to do each character justice, the plot is sometimes a little overcomplicated and the conclusion goes on for too long.
Those minor gripes aside though, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the perfect comic book adaptation. It has loads of entertaining Easter eggs (Howard the Duck?!) and it packs an emotional punch while still being entertaining. In an age when comic book films are striving to be ever darker it is so refreshing to see a film franchise that is purely fun escapism. Simply put, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of the best films of 2017.