With commencement just around the corner and families gathering together for celebration, it seems fitting that Marvel’s newest film also features another gathering of celebrated characters. Following on the heels of the much-lauded first entry, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017) attempts to recapture the magic that made the original movie so successful.
Ultimately, while it falls short of reaching this level of success, the film is still incredibly enjoyable and the perfect destination for families of all kinds.
The movie picks up a few years after the first film left off, and this time around, Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. After getting attacked by drones, however, the Guardians are rescued by a mysterious figure, who turns out to be Star-Lord’s long-lost father. Unfortunately, the Guardians soon face challenges on all sides as they attempt to rescue Star-Lord from his father’s nefarious plans.
Following the first entry in the series, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” manages to succeed in some of the same ways that the first film did, especially with regard to its soundtrack. Like the first movie, it is composed of a variety of hits, although this time around, it features some more obscure music as well. Everything from Glen Campbell’s “Southern Nights” (1975) to George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” (1970) are featured on the track, creating waves of feel-good nostalgia. Additionally, the inclusion of lesser-known songs like “Flash Light” (1978) by Parliament also fit well into the movie, and the music works well to create the perfect ambience for a return to the franchise.
The cast is another relatively high point of the film, with veritable talent that manages to come through at just the right times. Pratt fits with ease back into his role as Star-Lord, and his attempts to reconcile and understand his relationship with his father provide some moments of real tenderness in the film. The other Guardians are equally fun to watch, whether it’s Gamora’s unapologetic level-headedness, Drax’s unrestrained bluntness or Baby Groot’s undeniable cuteness. There are moments that miss the mark, but with performances from the cast that range from mildly humorous to laugh-out-loud hilarious, the film’s dynamic is generally a positive experience.
Indeed, one would not be remiss for thinking of the first film as they watch this entry — and that’s where the film’s problems lie. While certainly enjoyable, the movie feels stale, and it panders to what people loved about the first movie. There is nothing here that the audience hasn’t seen before. Besides the plot, there really isn’t that much that is truly different from the first movie, and this sequel feels a bit too strained to be considered a true hit.
That being said, taken at face value, the film is by no means unsuccessful. It does everything right; the effects, soundtrack and cast all work together to draw audiences back into the world of the Guardians. And for the most part, this works, even if it feels a bit rehashed at times.
For Tufts students and families who are celebrating the end of an era, this is the perfect film to bond over as many begin their final farewells to campus. Everyone will love the hilarity of the characters, the smart music choices and, most of all, another adventure featuring the galaxy’s favorite gang of misfits.