In 2014, Marvel created a surprise with Guardians of the Galaxy. Brought to the screen by James Gunn, who comes from Series B, the film brought a breath of fresh air to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moving the action into space and relying on excellently well-written dialogue. In 2017, he returns to deliver the sequel. A sequel always in the same tone, but which today emerges a little less from the mold designed by Marvel Studios in recent years.
We thus find our fine team in a new adventure modeled on the first one, with its crazy situations, its lines bursting like plasma rays, its catchy music, its alliances which are created, unmade, are renewed … No big surprises in the unfolding of a story that can be followed, but which would have deserved a little more freshness. Gunn and Marvel never take great risks during the two hours of the film, contenting themselves with giving the viewer back what he liked so much in the first part, but bigger, stronger, funnier … a little as Joss Whedon had wanted to do with Avengers Age of Ultron . A classic situation in a sequel, of course, but Gunn could have given us hope for better.
We thus find this design still so shimmering of the first part, drawing strongly its inspiration from the broke SF films of the 80s (like the future Thor Ragnarok ). A design, however, less dark than in the 2014 film, but more inspired. We feel the hard work on the side of the artists to offer landscapes as varied as they are impressive, which would take a trip to the planets of the Star Wars prelogy for a stroll in the suburbs of Montargis.
An artistic direction all the more to salute as it is full of small details and often uses excellent ideas which serve the scenario, especially in the many (and exhilarating) action scenes, and which make you forget the effects a little weird at times, like on Rocket’s fur which doesn’t seem to be finished in some shots.
The characters to the detriment of the scenario
Written by a James Gunn more attached to his characters than to his stories, the script is not stingy in revelations, but it nevertheless represents the big weak point of the film. If the first film served us a story certainly classic, but fluid, things get complicated for this second part. Starting off on the hats, the adventure of our heroes experiences a major slowdown towards the third of the film before recognizing a saving boost in the last part. A soft belly which serves above all to distill revelations and to carry the story on several fronts, without necessarily advancing it.
In return, Gunn searches his characters, gives them a new depth. A colossal task, on paper, there are so many of them. Nevertheless, the writer / director manages to do it in a fluid way, enriching the story of our heroes and deepening their ties, offering an interesting past to the new ones and even succeeding in highlighting the secondary characters of the first part. This same care is taken for the villain of the film (which we will not reveal to avoid spoiling ). If he does not show himself fantastic either, he has the merit of bringing a certain comfort in a Marvel Cinematic Universe that has accustomed us to using villains as bogus as each other.
The Big Disappointment of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes from the fact that it doesn’t represent, like the first episode, an exception in a Marvel Cinematic Universe that tends to design all of its films on the same model.
The 2014 film brought some craziness, an uninhibited tone, and insane characters to an MCU that was quick to absorb that new tone and distill it into the films that followed. A maneuver that serves this Vol. 2 , which definitely leaves the effect of surprise in the closet. That Marvel uses the same mold for its productions is no wonder, especially when three monstrous blockbusters are planned each year. But this smoothing, as useful as it is for the studio, tends to remove any roughness a creator might bring, as Gunn did with Guardians of the Galaxy 1 .
We hope one of them will make us lie in the future. Maybe Jon Watts with his Spider-Man , Taika Waititi with Thor Ragnarok or even Ryan Coogler with Black Panther ?
But at least we have to recognize the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 one thing: the film lives by itself and avoids the pitfall of certain Marvel productions: to turn into a giant teasing for a next production.
Below the first installment on many points, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will still give you a good time with its well-executed action scenes and its always well-written dialogues. Unfortunately, the poorly mastered pace and lack of freshness will not help put the film in golden letters in Marvel history, unlike the first episode.
And rest assured, you will find Star-Lord and all his team from next year in Avengers Infinity War !