Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Length: 136 minutes / 2.27 hours
I sometimes wonder if the strength of the first film in a series dooms the following films to a condition I refer to as “the trilogy conundrum.” If a single film is original and has a strong story that stands by itself, it almost requires the following films to be weaker in comparison, each sequel needing another sequel to tell a complete story. Films like Back to the Future (1985), The Matrix (1999), and Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) are fantastic films that defined their generation, but their sequels were highly dependent on a follow-on sequel, thus making the trilogy complete, but lacking the strength of the initial film.
I hate to say it, but Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) falls into this “trilogy conundrum.” The original Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) was a fun and meaningful departure from its Marvel comic book brethren. This sequel, however, lacks a few things that made the original as good and as singular as it was. First off, there were almost too many antagonists in this movie. The Sovereign were essentially a “joke” antagonist, were it not for the mid-credits scene that sets up the opponent for the third installment, and the actual antagonist of the film (whose name is a little too on the nose) was revealed so late that the final battle almost seemed rushed.
I will give Vol. 2 some credit, though. The opening credits sequence had a catchy song and an amusing “background action” sequence the likes of which I haven’t seen since The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). The character development in this sequel was fantastic, helping bridge the gap between this film and its predecessor, while also setting up the characters for the 3rd Guardians installment as well as Avengers: Infinity War (2018). As was the case with the original Guardians of the Galaxy, the dialogue and nostalgia included in Vol. 2 were fun and lighthearted. Finally, Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) slow-motion sequence was just as entertaining as Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) sequences in the latest X-Men films.
Another victim to the trilogy conundrum, I give Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 3.5 stars out of 5.