Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Rated PG-13: For Violence and Language

Running Time: 136 minutes (2 hours and 16 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction, Superhero

Released on April 26, 2017 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Based on 2008's "Guardians of the Galaxy" written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Writer and Director: James Gunn

  • Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord
  • Zoe Saldana as Gamora
  • Dave Bautista as Drax
  • Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot
  • Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket
  • Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta
  • Karen Gillan as Nebula
  • Pom Klementieff as Mantis
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha
  • Chris Sullivan as Taserface
  • Sean Gunn as Kraglin Obfonteri
  • Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord
  • Kurt Russell as Ego

Missed us? After finally moving-up from junior high school, I was forced to be confined for about half a month for appendicitis, and yes, it is hellish, as how people claim it to be. Aside from that, I was busy with a vanity project. It is a movie script, if anyone is asking. Finally, we are back in business, and we still have a lot of movies to review, as I said before. However, we will move away from what was initially prepared before I was hospitalized for now, and instead we head on to review Marvel's latest cosmic adventure, which I was going to watch with my "Suicide Squad-mates" on its premiere, but nothing says "post-appendectomy rest and relaxation" like watching the movie with your family. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is our movie review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a sequel to one of Marvel's funniest and unexpected hits, that will leave you in tears? Wow. I did not see that one coming. Since it is now showing, spoiler alert!

What is the movie about?

Months after saving the galaxy from complete and total annihilation, the Guardians of the Galaxy are now famous, and are lauded for their valiant efforts.

While the team, specifically Gamora, played by Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness), are on the trail for her stepsister Nebula, played by Gillan (The Circle), after she escaped captivity during their last battle, Peter Quill, played by Pratt (The Lego Movie), continues to solve the age-old mystery with regards to his parentage. Fortunately for him, when trouble follows the group yet again, in the forms of Sovereign ruler Ayesha, played by Debicki (The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), and mutinous Ravager Taserface, played by Sullivan (This is Us), as well as Quill's former mentor Yondu Udonta, played by Rooker, who with his crew, and second-in-command Kraglin Obfonteri, played by Gunn (The Belko Experiment) has been exiled from the rest of the Ravagers by Stakar Ogord, played by Stallone (Stallone and Rooker appeared together in Cliffhanger in 1993), Peter discovers the identity of his father, Ego, played by Russell (Stallone and Russell appeared in Tango and Cash in 1989).

They must now unravel the secrets behind Peter's mystery father, but along the way, Rocket, voiced by Cooper (American Sniper) must watch over his slowly regrowing best friend Baby Groot, voiced by Diesel (The Fate of the Furious), and do battle against, ironically, his own ego, and Drax, played by Bautista (Spectre) encounters an unlikely friend in Mantis, played by Klementieff (Old Boy Remake).

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What we think of the movie?

Acting = (5/5)

This time around, I am updating my writing style, and I have since made a vow to keep each section extremely brief, with about only two, three or probably somewhere not more than fifteen short paragraphs as the maximum limit.

At this point, it is safe to say that Marvel knows what to do when it comes to casting actors and actresses to portray their heroes and villains, and so far this movie just proves that. For a movie that has much more comedy and action than an average soap opera level drama, the cast members' respective performances will certainly leave impressions.

Once again, Chris Pratt effortlessly embodies the definition of the description "awesome cosmic superhero with wit and charm", and while you will no doubt laugh as much as you did the first time with his jokes and one-liners, you will also cry a whole lot more than you anticipated, as he struggles with his family problems. We may not get to see him dance, but we do get to see Chris Pratt's Star-Lord at his most down to Earth moment, a performance that is both hyper kinetic and emotional.


Zoe Saldana is lovely as ever as the deadliest green-colored assassin in the galaxy, and alongside her on-screen half-sister, the menacing presence of Karen Gillan's Nebula, deliver some of the film's most pivotal moments during their battle on Ego's planet, and their performances will surely tear you up a little. You can certainly feel the on-screen sibling chemistry between the two.

While we never got to see them physically, Bradley Cooper brings in the sarcastic banter that we are all too familiar with, but adds a dash of a human side, for a talking raccoon, that would see Rocket more than just a conniving and wise-cracking know-it-all, and Vin Diesel, who is more or less deserving  of his really expensive paycheck, despite his character's limited vocabulary, delivers the cuteness overload that fans are clamoring for. Yeah, I know it is just CGI, but my goodness, is it not the most adorable computer-generated creation that I have ever laid my eyes on.

A Guardians of the Galaxy would never be complete without Dave Bautista's Drax being, well, Drax. Here he is again, our lovable, muscular, and warm-hearted juggernaut with a score to settle with the Mad Titan who placed the order to murder his entire family. Bautista's funny side is equally matched by newcomer Pom Klementieff's performance as Mantis, who is just as socially awkward as he is. Okay, I will admit that much of the jokes that surround these two's potential romantic connection was sort-of the weakest part of the movie, even if it will make you smile or laugh at times, but you have got to love that humorous chemistry.

The standout of the movie would have to be Michael Rooker's Yondu Udonta, who after the first movie, we all assumed was pretty much just a thief and mercenary at heart, but in reality, is Peter's true father. (We will get to that later.) Here, we see him engaging on a quest for redemption, and learning that he cares for Peter like a father would, and with Rooker's acting chops, he pulls it off effectively. Let us not forget his surprisingly powerful moments with Rocket, who shares his pain of being abandoned, which clearly cements Yondu as one of the most memorable characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Lastly, we head on to the villains. While Yondu and Nebula are, or were, technically villains, they all turned a new leaf eventually. For this movie, we have three villains, Ayesha, Taserface, and ... spoiler alert ... Ego. Both Ayesha and Taserface had minor roles here, but Elizabeth Debicki still gives Ayesha a much needed no-non-sense and easily offended personality to make her a formidable foe for the Guardians, and poor, poor Chris Sullivan's Taserface ended up becoming the butt of Rocket's bombardment of insults, to huge comedic effect. Kurt Russell's Ego, on the other hand, well, that is a different story. Let us just say that cliches aside, this is the first time that I actually hated a fictional supervillain. That is simply how good his delivery was!

Also, Sylvester Stallone appeared here for only a mere handful of minutes, and really not in a major role, but it would be interesting to see how his character, Stakar Ogord, would be involved in future Marvel installments. Sean Gunn also makes use of his expanded role as Kraglin Obfonteri, and I hope we get to see more of him real soon.

Direction and Quality = (5/5)

James Gunn not only brings to the table the sense of outer space fun and wonder that the intellectual property has since been remembered for, he also brings, and doubles down, on the clearly expensive, state-of-the-art and gorgeously done scenery, and costume design. Under Gunn's responsible and always upbeat direction, we see the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe bloom and explode in all of its eye-popping grandeur. A certain gimmick that we recently saw at one of its finest in last year's Doctor Strange. However, the visual effects here as just as lively as ever.

Some of the best examples include the overall design of Ego's planet. It is colorful. It is polished. It is wonderfully done. It is alive, despite everything being ironically artificially made through computers in studios. I simply enjoy the fact that everything is just lifelike, and yes, you can easily say that it is digitally rendered, similar to the sets of Pandora in James Cameron's Avatar, but it takes a lot of effort and patience to pull this off, and it is simply amazing!

Gunn's impressive camerawork matches the eighties soundtrack that gives the movie its unique atmosphere. From the amazing and jaw-dropping space fight sequences, including the entertaining introductory scene with the Guardians fighting the Abilisk, the giant monster with tentacles, the team's escape from the offended Sovereign, Yondu, Rocket, Baby Groot and Kraglin's escape from his mutinous teammates, Gamora and Nebula's sisterly battle, to the climactic battle on Ego's planet, everything was just dazzling!

Of course, more than ninety percent of us are probably anticipating for the sweet, sweet nostalgic beats that the official soundtrack of the movie would be featuring. As expected, it was joyful and blends perfectly with all of the intergalactic madness that happens on-screen. Three songs personally that made specific scenes much more enjoyable, and those are "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra, featured in the Baby Groot-centric intro sequence, "Come A Little Bit Closer" by Jay & The Americans, during the Ravagers battle, and "Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang" by Silver, in the climactic battle. These three and the rest of the songs make for an effectively wild cosmic ride. Also, the inclusion of "Brandy  (You're A Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass was awesome, and it makes for an epic analogy with regards to our predictable twist villain's evil motives.

Tyler Bates, himself, is not far behind, as his scores just give the audiences the feeling of excitement.

By the way, I love David Hasselhoff's involvement in the movie's only original song, "Guardian Inferno" with The Sneepers. It is a fun collaboration, which is even made more electric when you realize that the vocalist of the song makes a cameo in the movie.

Story, Dialogue and Flow = (4/5)

As usual, this section contains spoilers, so be warned!

I loved how the movie decided to stay away for awhile from the world-building antiques of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's major players' solo adventures, which is one of the many great elements that the first movie carried. Although it is disappointing only the slightest, given that the penultimate chapter of the current Infinity Stones saga is fast and approaching, the movie manages to be entertaining as a self-contained story.

The best thing about this story is how it tackled the theme of family really well, and just for gags and giggles. It was done with smarts and heart. From the concept of the relationship between a father and a child (The arc pertaining to Peter Quill and Ego), abandonment (Yondu and Rocket's own childhoods), redemption (Yondu's central conflict), to sibling rivalry gone horribly wrong (Gamora and Nebula's main conflict), I would agree with other reviewers that there is enough for everyone to relate to. With this central theme as its driving force, we get much better character development compared to the first one, and in the end, we see some of the most relatable characters, heroes and villains alike, that are more than just a couple of superpowered or enhanced being who know how to kick butt, but realistic characters with realistic issues.

Ego is a particularly interesting addition to the rogues gallery of the movie franchise. Compared to the other villains that we have experienced so far, from greedy businessmen who are obsessed with their rivals powers, or anyone that is associated with the nefarious organization HYDRA, or anyone else that is alive and is not Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston (I Saw The Light), Ego has an intriguing motive, which is his search for purpose, and that purpose if for everyone and everything to be like him. It is an incredibly human motivation, in par with Colonel Helmut Zemo's, the main antagonist for Captain America: Civil War, played by Daniel BrΓΌhl (The Fifth Estate), and Alexander Pierce's, the villain in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, played by Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) own motivations. While it is basically world domination in a nut shell, and in a universal scale, his personal connection with Peter makes him a completely despicable being capable of even more insidious means to achieve his goals, and thus cementing his status as one of the few good villains that Marvel has adapted to the big screen so far.

Once more, the humor is spot on. Filled with eighties pop culture references, be it music or Night Rider, Rocket's condescending side, and the ever-adoring presence of Baby Groot, there is never a dull moment watching the movie. The funniest scene would have to be the part that showed that captured Yondu and Rocket trying tirelessly to have Baby Groot reclaim Yondu's prototype arrow-controlling fin, with hilarious results. Yondu, Kraglin, Rocket and Baby Groot attempting to jump more than a hundred locations to rescue Star-Lord, resulting in them experiencing weird side-effects, similar to that of a Snapchat filter, is a huge laugh fest as well. Rocket insulting Taserface because of his terrible name, and Rocket doing an incorrect wink, well those are highlights too. Basically, if that scene has Rocket in it, it is a funny scene, except for the more dramatic parts.

One downside to the story is probably the moments with Drax and Mantis, which may be funny on occasion, but after listening to another slightly altered joke or two, it gets tiring. Also, I once read from another reviewer's take on the movie that Drax suddenly forgot, a little bit, his vendetta against Thanos, as here, he is jolly, and in only one scene, the part showing Mantis discovering Drax's origins, ever mentioned of it. With that in mind, we could have shed some more light with regards to his past, but that is just probably me.

Overall, the story of the movie is a blast!

Also, here is a shout-out to arguably Stan Lee's best cameo yet, wherein we learned that, through Rocket, Yondu, Kraglin, and Baby Groot interstellar trip, he is actually playing the same character in all of his appearances, which is based on a popular fan theory that surfaced in the Internet. Who knows? We might see him as a godlike figure.

Ending, Originality and Story Fulfillment = (4/5)

Cliches ahoy! As expected, although not so much in my case because I decided, for once, to not make any predictions while watching the movie, and since the Internet ruined the twist for me anyway, Ego is revealed to be a totally malevolent figure, who plans to rule the world by using Peter as a sort-of power battery to transform the entire universe in his literal likeness!

After the team finally reunites, Taserface and Yondu's traitorous crew mates dead, with Taserface alerting Ayesha to the group's location, and about half of everyone's family issues have been resolved, it's an all-out battle brawl in Ego's planet, and with a ticking clock, it is now a race against time! During that, we have a superpowered free-for-all between a psychotic father and his torn son, who just realized that his father killed his mother, fearing that returning to Earth would sway him from his goals. It is a pulse-pounding thrill ride, especially when there are actual personal stakes to acknowledge.

However, once the smoke clears, none can prepare you for the heartbreaking demise of Yondu, who sacrificed himself for Peter, with Peter realizing that Yondu is the real father that he has been looking for all along, which is made more heart-wrenching when you realize that Yondu intentionally did not deliver Peter to Ego because he is afraid that he will suffer the same fate as the other children Ego tried to use as power conduits. With one space suit and one jet pack in hands, we cannot help but watch, and probably cry, at the sight of Yondu freezing to death due to the coldness of space, as Peter watches himself, safe in the comfort of the space suit Yondu gave him. See Avengers: Age of Ultron? That is how you make an ally's death meaningful, and not just turn a speedster into a human shield when he is literally faster than bullets.

Overall, much like the climactic battle in Captain America: Civil War, we end in a surprisingly meaningful and poignant note, and seriously, this has got to be the most depressing ending in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ever!

But hold your horses, Dateliners! Don't forget about those post-credit scenes, as this time around, we get, not one, not two, but five scenes, which are funny, yet hollow and disappointing. None of that really matters, slightly, except for the tease featuring ... spoiler alert ... Adam Warlock, who is being created by a vengeful Ayesha, teasing that he might be the villain for the third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and the character's evil version, Magus, set to appear in Avengers: Infinity War.

Also, Stakar Ogord, Stallone's character, reunites with his other teammates, which are actually the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics! So, we will see a Guardians versus Guardians story soon?

Overall Evaluation = (4/5)

An endless set of colorful and massive space battles, an anarchic sense of humor, and a nostalgic soundtrack to set the mood, the film has everything that you would come to expect from a modern Marvel movie, and so much more!

TOTAL = 22/25 (Awesome!)

While Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 mixes a lot of the same old elements from the previous movie, an irresistible and charming cast, and a surprising emotional warmth makes this one of the best flicks Marvel has to offer!

Man, it was really worth it. Fun fact, I constantly told my parents that I wanted to see the movie once I got out, as a consolation price for a new video game or a laptop. I would like to thank my family for taking care of me in the hospital, and to my friends at the medical facility, thanks for curing me! This serves as a reminder for me that juggling school work, personal affections, and all the average teenager's responsibilities without breaks is indeed a killer. And with that, our review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and we now return to our other movies that we still have not reviewed during my lengthy absence. Please enjoy "Guardians Inferno", which is the song I told you about. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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