Yesterday, I went with my friends to the movie theater to see Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. I had came in already seeing the first installment of the series, albeit a long time ago. Guardians of the Galaxy has been by favorite installment of the ever-expanding Marvel superhero universe, not only because of the fun characters, engaging setting, and rocking soundtrack (it was one of the few soundtracks I knew that other people bought, even people who did not normally seek out and buy movie soundtracks), but because of the fact that it felt different from every other superhero movie. Rather than the cool and sleek realism of The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy brought something warmer and cartoonish to the table. When I went to see the sequel, I came in with medium expectations. I realized that it would be difficult to live up to the greatness of the original, so I hoped for a decently well-made work that at least held a candle to the original. The sequel actually surpassed my expectations to become a fun summer movie that I would recommend to anyone who is (or isn’t) a fan of the Marvel Universe already.
To start, it is not completely necessary to have seen the original to understand the events of the sequel. While it would be helpful to have background to understand the characters’ established dynamic, it is not necessarily paramount. I could not remember a bit of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, but I felt just fine jumping back in. I suspect that this was a planned aspect of Guardians of the Galaxy, so that it may also possibly drag in new viewers. If the original deals with the formation of the guardians, then the sequel deals with some of the pasts of the guardians. This is a pretty logical step for the series to go; now that the group is together, the characters can be fleshed out by bringing aspects of their pasts back for them to deal with, with most of them dealing with a uniting theme of bonds and family. While the movie does feature its share of supervillan-y antagonists, I found the plots themselves relatively refreshing. The movie focused more on character interactions than a constant need to defeat the next impending threat, which I could appreciate in a superhero movie. Will it bring the viewer into a discussion of deep philosophical ideas? No, but it didn’t have to.
If anything, one of the most substantial reasons to watch Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 is its visuals. The sequel did well in taking the great visuals of the original and then developing upon them. The planet designs were especially engaging, between lush landscapes, surreal greenery, or futuristic acropoles. The makeup effects on the different alien races also deserve a mention. The sheer effort put into the visuals made the movie all the more immersive and enjoyable. The soundtrack of the movie was likely the hardest aspect to live up to the original, as the original worked in 1970s classics that were familiar to the ear and catchy enough to bring in viewers that did not know the music; however, the music was likely the most disappointing aspect of the movie. While it was a good soundtrack, it was not necessarily a great soundtrack, let alone able to live up the original’s music. I understand that is to be expected, as it would be understandable that it would be harder to find a whole soundtrack of 1970s music that created the same effect as the prequel.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 was a suitably satisfying sequel to the original movie with a refreshing plot and stunning visuals. The soundtrack still works well (though it does not live up to the original), and it is the perfect summer blockbuster to watch with friends and family. I will be sure to look out for the next installment of the series whenever it comes around.