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Collective Consciousness: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

by Hussein Wasiti on May 07, 2017

Hey guys! We've decided to expand the topics of choice when it comes to our Collective Consciousness reviews. We normally all give our thoughts on a certain comic of the week, but we're adding comic book movies to that list. Expect the same thing for Wonder Woman and Justice League, among others this year.

SYNOPSIS: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mix Vol. 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage. 
Stephen Gervais: I still remember going into the original Guardians with low expectations thinking what the heck is Marvel doing making a movie with these lesser known characters. I also fondly remember leaving the movie having been blown away from what I had just witnessed! The original was funny, action-packed, and had a killer soundtrack! My experience this time around was almost identical. I went into the movie thinking they're just going to rehash the same gags, try and sell a ton of Baby Groots, and there's no way they can replicate the soundtrack. Once again director James Gunn and the entire cast proved me wrong! I left wanting to re-watch it right away! I know it's early in the blockbuster season but I have a feeling this will be my pick for movie of the summer.
There's so much I enjoyed about this film. The actors have really grown into their roles and in many cases have just generally improved in their profession. I'm looking at you Batista! I loved the character development for the entire team. It must be hard with such a huge ensemble of characters to give everyone their due but Gunn manages to deliver with some fantastic backstories and one heck of a script. The dialogue was fantastic and the entire theatre was laughing throughout the movie. One of my worries was that Baby Groot was just going to be one giant toy marketing plot but besides the odd time he was fantastic and had a pivotal role throughout. I may be in the minority here but I was not a huge fan of the opening scene. That is the one time Baby Groot started to annoy me. I found his shtick went on a little too long there.
I thought the pacing of the entire movie was bang on perfect. I was captivated right from the beginning. I also really liked the supporting cast and baddies. I thought that was an improvement over the original. Thinking about it afterwards they fit so much into this sequel plot-wise and especially character-wise. It really is quite remarkable.
Now the question you've all been waiting for. Does the soundtrack match the original? I have to say… no. It is a fantastic soundtrack and I have purchased it but the original blew me away. I think because it was so unexpected and such an amazing surprise to me. Now please don't get me wrong, it's still an awesome mixtape. The original was pretty much flawless.
Again, it is only May but I think it'll be hard for any of the summer blockbusters to be better than this! It was loads of fun equally for those who only follow the MCU and those who are invested in the characters' rich comic book history. The movie features a ton of fan service moments I didn't touch on for fear of spoiling it so early in its theatrical release. So grab a ticket, sit back and enjoy, then we can have a spoiler-filled talk!
Hussein Al-Wasiti: I'm generally a fan of the MCU, but one of the franchises I don't like very much is the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Sure, we're only two movies into it, but it's amassed such a fanbase in the few short years it's been active. I didn't like the first film for a number of reasons. I thought the plot was very by-the-book and it didn't interest me at all. Its overall connectiveness to the MCU was what interested me, such as the inclusion of the Collector and Thanos' scenes. Ronan fell completely flat to me as a villain, but the banter between the characters was what made the film somewhat enjoyable to me.
What about the sequel? I think it's slightly inferior than the first film. The characters feel more settled-in and the story is a little bit fresher. The sequel's third act completely trounces the original's third act, though. Without spoiling anything, it felt epic, emotional, and more earned. The villains were less generic and had graspable motivations, although they were still on the flimsy side in terms of actual character. While they may play a part in the MCU going forward, they didn't deliver in this film.
So much of the film's humour fell flat to me. In fact, most of it did. Since Drax doesn't change as a character at all in this film, writer/director James Gunn thought it best to delegate most of the jokes to him. He was my personal favourite character from the first film because of his weird sense of honour and stoic nature. Here he's laughing at everything every few seconds and throwing jokes around left and right. His desire to kill Thanos is not mentioned in the slightest, with that motivation given to Nebula. The film was a series of starts and stops, with some genuine moments of humour and heart acting as starts and excessive humour and bad dialogue acting as stops. I found it funny  where the film thought it best to dump some character exposition. I absolutely hate it when a screenwriter decides to stop the momentum and has a typical, "When I was a kid…" moment. This film is filled with these. They clearly tell characters what's wrong with their past. "I've always wanted a father!" "I just wanted a sister!" Nobody talks like this and these moments just zoomed me out of the film.
I have to praise the film's visuals and soundtrack. While the soundtrack wasn't as strong as the previous film's, it was still greatly effective and lent a lot of energy to the film's action scenes. Since I felt the characters were so well established in the previous film, and the opening scenes of the sequel, I wanted Gunn to embrace more of the cosmic, whacky side of these characters and the action they could get into. My favourite bits of the action were when Star Lord puts on his awesome-looking helmet and used his jetpack to fly around, shooting baddies with his awesome guns. These moments were few and far between, which made it very satisfying when they actually happened, but I could have used more.
All in all, despite the problems I've had, I do recommend the film. I recognise the fun that people can have watching it. There were some laughs here and there, with most of the jokes falling flat for me due to Gunn stretching out every joke and reoccurring gag as much as he could. The visuals are strong and the soundtrack is sure to sell.
Jennifer Lund: As a contributor to the ridiculous haul of money this movie made on its opening weekend (seriously, 85% of Friday's ticket revenue went to Guardians!), I'm left feeling like a bit of a lemming. I didn't grow up loving all things superhero the way my husband did. Comic books were an expensive, frivolous luxury in my house, so I never got the exposure. But the minute I saw the first Iron Man flick, I was intrigued. The Avengers really hooked me, and the original Guardians of the Galaxy made me a fangirl for life. That's why I've been counting the days until the premiere the moment I saw the first trailer with Rocket and Baby Groot with a soundtrack to die for.
If you loved the first adventure featuring Star Lord and his motley band of merry Marvel misfits, you're pretty much guaranteed to enjoy this one too. It doesn't have to waste expositional time telling the audience who these characters are, since we know and love them already. Instead, we can spend a bit more time getting to know them on a bit of a deeper level. The only complaint I have about this is that writers so often think it's necessary to break up a group in order to learn more about its members. I would've liked to see more interactions between Peter and the rest of the Guardians crew. That being said, I also loved seeing him carry the emotional heft of the story. I have many of the same issues he has with a parental figure, so his story arc really hit home with me. I won't spoil anything, but anyone who's tender-hearted may want to bring a small packet of tissues for the ending. And don't forget to wait through ALL the ending credits; your patience will be rewarded. This has been one of my favorite Marvel outings, and it just makes me look forward even more to the Guardians' eventual introduction to the Avengers.
Travis Williams: I love the Guardians comics from the late 2000s, and I also loved the first film, so my expectations were pretty high. I can accept liberties being taken in the film adaptations, such as the nature of Ego and his relation to Star-Lord. On some level, I just feel like not very much happened in the overall story. I don't remember Star-Lord's daddy issues being a plot point in the first film, but it's clearly the emotional focus of the film, and I actually teared up at the end. Similarly, the interactions between Nebula and Gamora were compelling, but they don't move the story a ton. There are so many amazing characters and settings at their disposal that I wish they had done a bit more world-building in this chapter. Ultimately they kept the scope more limited and focused on the characters already in play, and that probably helps the appeal for the mainstream audience. That being said, one of the post-credits scenes got me super stoked. Drax and Yondu were my favorite part, and Kurt Russell is always great.

Our Score:


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