RATING: 4 out 5
Before anything else, let me just confess that out of all the movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” is by far my favorite. I’m not saying that it’s the best among the bunch (and with 15 movies already in the MCU, it’s really hard to decide which one takes the cake). But it’s definitely the one I like the most. Bakit? Well my knowledge of the Marvel comics is modest (mahal ang comic books nung bata ako at maliit lang ang allowance ko nun) and I know almost nothing about the characters and the story of GotG. So unlike Iron Man or Captain America where you already had certain expectations going in, everything about “Guardians of the Galaxy” was new to me. And I presume that this was the case for most moviegoers as well.
So needless to say, I was hyped when I first saw the trailer for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”. If the sequel was going to offer more of the same things I liked about the first one (irreverent humor, witty one-liners, a dancing Baby Groot and great music) then I was all for it. I’ve already seen GotG twice, and my opinion about it has changed since the first time I saw it about a week ago during a special screening. One thing I’m sure about it though, is that GotG Vol. 2 might be hands down the funniest Marvel so far.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” starts with our favorite heroes slash mercenaries doing some dirty work for a race called the Sovereign. (Actually it starts with Baby Groot dancing to the song Mr. Blue Sky while the rest of the team battles it out with an inter-dimensional monster which just might be one of the most enjoyable things you’ll see in cinemas this year) They soon find themselves at odds with the Sovereign thanks to Rocket, and crash lands unto a desolate planet. That’s when they meet Ego (Kurt Russell) who just so happens to be Peter Quill’s long lost dad. (That’s all I’m going to say about the plot for the benefit of those of you who haven’t seen it yet.)
Since we already know the backgrounds of these characters, the film doesn’t need to spend time to introduce them to us and gets right to the meat of the story. Alam na natin na kupal at insecure si Rocket Racoon at may sayad pero malambot si Drax. Peter and Gamora have this “unspoken thing” going on between them na parang kayo at nung kaibigan mong hindi mo maamin na matagal mo nang type dahil abangers ka. The relationship and the chemistry of the characters are already there and you actually get the impression that these guys, despite their constant bickering which much of the humor comes from, already consider each other as family. You could actually make the argument that these guys like each other more than the Avengers do. MCU movies are never boring but for me, this might be one of the more better paced films.
Vol. 2 doubles down on the humor in this film in a way that you might consider as self-assured. And in my opinion, it works. Sa ibang Marvel movies, humor can become an awkward thing. It’s hard to make light of the situation when half of New York City is a rubble. Naaalala ko may isang eksena sa “Thor: The Dark World” where Thor, instead of flying back to where the action is takes the subway instead. It’s supposed to be funny sure pero that’s also one of the most “what the f*ck” moments from the MCU.
Humor works well for “Guardians of the Galaxy” because of the setting. Nasa sa space sila e! May makakapagsabi ba sa atin on how space should be and how aliens conduct themselves? Wala naman diba? And since we already have a talking tree that says nothing but “I am Groot” and a cybernetically enhanced racoon with a hard-on for explosives and huge weapons, “Guardians of the Galaxy” can be as quirky and absurd as it likes.
All members of the Guardians gets ample screen-time but the story revolves around Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill so he’s the one who gets it the most. What I like about it is how Drax and Rocket are given more to do this time around. I actually think Drax is the funniest member of the group and is now actually one of my favorite characters from the MCU. Credit to James Gunn and the writers because most of the jokes in the movie work. Some might not make you laugh out loud, but you’ll acknowledge with a snigger that it’s still funny to a degree. And the movie is also surprisingly emotional especially when it focuses on Peter’s dysfunctional relationship with Yondu.
Now that being said, I don’t think it’s better than the first one. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not terrible and it’s not a huge departure from the original so it gets a pass. Most of us might see it as a bit inferior but almost at par with the original while a lot might even consider it to be better. In my case, I don’t consider it better simply because the “newness” that the first one had going for it is no longer there.
When “GoTG” first came out, it was perhaps the first of it’s kind. It was the first superhero movie to make extensive use of pop songs as a story-telling device. It’s still the best one to do it, pero marami nang gumaya e. Judging from the trailer of “Thor: Ragnarok” alone, parang maski sariling movies ni Marvel ginagaya na rin yung isa’t isa e. The trailer quickly became the most watch movie trailer on YouTube. It’s a formula that works and “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a testament to that fact.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” might not be the best Marvel movie but it’s a great addition to the ever-growing MCU and hands down one of the funniest (if not the funniest) superhero movie to come out in cinemas. And the ending was surprisingly emotional and featured one of the more poignant scenes in the Marvel Universe. All told, it’s simply a fun movie. It’s something you watch when you want to have a good time. We’ll probably be rewatching it over and over again til the next one comes out.
Images courtesy of MARVEL STUDIOS.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now out in cinemas.