Review: Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2

I’ve been awaiting the release of Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 with bated breath ever since the first one ended and announced we’d be getting a sequel in 2017. I went to go see it yesterday – one of the perks of living in Europe; you get to see the MCU movies earlier than most.

The Guardians have been banking on their reputation as savers of the universe and are getting jobs left and right. When, after finishing one of their more dangerous jobs, Rocket steals what they were paid to protect (“Because I wanted to!”), they anger their former employer, Ayesha, who sends ships after them and hires the Ravagers to bring the Guardians to her. Yet the biggest shock comes when Peter Quill finally meets his father. A Celestial called Ego, who can do things unimaginable.

I expected vol. 2 to be on par with vol. 1, but my expectations were completely shattered: vol. 2 is both bigger and better, and yet also manages to be more personal and touching. I laughed a lot, but I also found myself crying, and trying very hard to wipe my tears away so no one in the theatre could see me crying.

Now, let me tell you, Baby Groot – or, as I like to call him Toddler Groot – steals every scene he’s in (Drax comes in as a close second). He’s hilarious, adorable, and sometimes a little scary. But only a little. His childlike behaviour is so very different from the Groot we came to know and love in vol. 1, but his relationships with the rest of the Guardians tell us he’s still our Groot. Just a little different.

Relationships is what this superhero sci-fi spectacle is all about; and you wouldn’t really think so if you saw the trailer. You would expect some good clean (well, clean-ish) fun and much fighting and explosions. And there’s plenty of that. There’s also a lot of bickering, as we’re used to when it comes to MCU movies, sisterly fighting between Gamora and Nebula whom they’ve taken prisoner, a lot of “Earth” references that only Star-Lord understands, which leads to some very funny misunderstandings (like Yondu thinking Mary Poppins is a cool swashbuckling guy) and some great cameos.

Yet, what makes this movie better than its predecessor, is its ‘heart’. The Guardians get to grow as characters, get to dig deep and find their flaws, and learn what they want, or what they fear. They re-evaluate behaviour, their pasts, and their relationships with certain people. Most of all this movie examines what it means to be, or have, a family. The Guardians of the Galaxy are a family I like to see more of. And my wish will be granted, because it’s been confirmed vol. 3 is a go.

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