Funny and visually spectacular, much like the first film, “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2” gave me a pleasant evening out. It was another space-cowboy fantasy starring the same cast as its predecessor. The film is also action-packed, occasionally funny, and featured an even more eclectic mix of music than the first did.
However, elements added onto those of the first film were poorly constructed, if ambitious. Star-Lord (Peter Quill) encounters a god-like figure who can build planets and has nearly enough power to extend his sentience onto other planets. He finds Star-Lord to possess similar powers and the ability to comprehend those like himself. However, what exactly that extension constitutes and how it benefits this god, or “Little G” as he describes himself, is never made clear.
What is clear is that he wants to consume certain elements of planets extending himself, and that doing so would end humanity. He also requires Star-Lord’s complimentary powers to accomplish this extension. Star-Lord’s friends try to keep him from helping “God” consume too many planets and end humanity in the process.
In almost every fifth of the film, there is a tremendous battle of “Star Wars” magnitude and style. Within these scenes, pithy dialogue between the “guardians of the galaxy” are exchanged in homage to the first film installment. But the banter is less witty — less pithy, if you will — than that in the first film. The dynamic between Groot and Rocket seems forced, as does that between Star-Lord and Gamora.
Throughout the tumultuous picture, you often find yourself fixated on subplots or aspects of the center-plot that go unresolved, unexplained, or are poorly explained. In addition, Sylvester Stallone is in the movie, but his character is totally undeveloped and nearly superfluous. Because Stallone, an actor of international fame, plays such a tertiary role, one wonders whether his character has some hidden significance later to be revealed. This turns out to not be the case. Instead, one mainly wonders why Stallone was cast in the role.
This leads one into the general subject of character development, or a lack thereof. Nearly every returning character remains no more interesting or developed than in the first film. Particularly disappointing is the relative dullness of Star-Lord. He is less charismatic than in the first film. He’s also less funny and creative. Star-Lord is a more boring lead, perhaps because so much happens throughout the second that there isn’t much focus on him.
However, the relatively poor writing, development, and editing of the movie belies what is essentially a fun, blockbuster flick. The selection of music is superb and complements the scenes it’s played in quite well. Perhaps most superb was the inclusion of George Harrison’s 1970 classic “My Sweet Lord,” which is played while Star-Lord and company gaze in awe over the god’s home planet.
Overall, the movie isn’t breaking new ground, and tries, unsuccessfully, to repeat some of the most pleasing aspects of the first. But it’s a fun enough movie, and is worth seeing.