Director James Gunn and Marvel Studios hit big with the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Many were skeptical and eager when the first film came out and when it was released, it became a golden gem for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Marvel Studios allowed for Gunn to craft a visually captivating movie accompanied with a booming soundtrack, and a charismatic cast of characters that have cemented their status in pop culture. Who knew that Z-listers, a talking raccoon, and a talking tree would become as iconic as The Avengers, let alone Spider-Man?  James Gunn decided to return for the second installment along with the rest of the cast.  With the sequel near release, the question is, is it good and as different as the first film? Does it stand on its own and maintain the spirit that made the first film so enjoyable?

Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper return as the titular team of space heroes and this time, they’ve expanded their roster.  The Guardians are known to the galaxy as heroes after the battle of Xandar in the first film. All things go well until the Guardians enter into conflict with other parties that have a vendetta against them. To add more fuel to the fire, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Pratt) discovers that his father is alive and well, which complicates matters for the angsty heroes of the space ways.

James Gunn pulled a Jon Favreau in regards to taking lesser known Marvel characters and making them into household staples to the public eye. But unlike his contemporaries, Gunn actually delivers in sequel territory in the same way that the Russo Brothers did for The Winter Soldier installment if the Captain America franchise.


Cast:  The Mainstays of the iconic group,  Chris Pratt (Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Bautista (Drax), Bradley Cooper (Rocket), Vin Diesel (Groot), are back and they’re just as fantastic as they were in the first film.

There is tons of character development for Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket. Although Star-Lord, Drax, and Rocket have the most funniest lines within the film, they along with Gamora have some of the strongest arcs within the movie. One would think after a good first film that the sequel would suffer the curse that is usually associated with these kinds of franchises. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. There are plenty of moments that are action packed, visually stunning hilarious to hear and see. Some of the strongest parts of the film is the heartfelt moments between characters that hit home  The film may cause some waterworks, or a tear or two.. or three, maybe more depending on the viewer.

Kurt Russell plays Star Lord’s father in this movie, and when he steps on the scene, he executed in performance. There are some truly solid moments within the film between Russell and Pratt’s characters that were strong focal points to the narrative of this film.  Russell’s character (who shall not be named in order to not spoil his role in the film) is probably one of the most charismatic and one of the most terrifying villains that have left an impression aside from Loki and Thanks within the MCU as a whole (so far that is).

Other characters such as Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and even Sean Gunn have more extensive roles to play this time around.  Mantis (Pom Klementieff), among some other characters, are welcome additions to the cast and the world that they inhabit. The are tons of solid moments that add another layer of character and dimension to this expanding roster that is as impactful as the first film.

In regards to quipping and comedy, Guardians of the king of that and rightfully so since it’s more suited for them than it is for The Avengers. It fits perfectly in the genetic, cinematic makeup of the team. Despite the humor which is just as funny as the first film, the heart of this movie still shines through. There are some pretty dark moments in the film, that really test the Guardians, most especially Star-Lord, but each of these moments are balanced out, preserving the tone but expanding on what was developed in the first film.

If there is anything that people should understand, it’s this, The Guardians don’t really need The Avengers, but The Avengers most definitely need The Guardians. James Gunn has once again managed to expand the Marvel cosmology that make the Marvel Universe feel much larger than what tends to happen on earth.  The events that unfold on earth prove to be much larger than what The Avengers have yet to face. Obviously, when Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel comes to pass, both teams will have a lot to deal with. But to compare the threats that the Guardians face in contrast with the Avengers, it’s acceptable to say that The Avengers earth bound problems are minuscule to the overall universe that they reside in.

There are some truly gold Easter eggs in the film that anyone who is a hardcore Marvel fan, or a Hardcore Marvel Cosmic fan in addition to being  Jim Starlin/ Dan Abnett fans will spot. Stan Lee has a cameo that will leave the internet and fans buzzing. Just like the Memes on the internet, one must not walk out of the theater until they witness the after credits scenes. There are five of them throughout the credits, that will be enjoyable for audiences.

In regards to special effects, it’s nothing short of amazing. The visuals, the designs, the landscapes are all solid and have a unique aesthetic and vibes that leave much to be desired for the earth bound MCU films. Tons of great space dog fights and great imagery throughout the entirety of this film. The costumes and character designs are top notch and feel very Fifth Element in a good fashion, making the visuals distinct.


At times the movie depends a little too much in the humor at times, suspending the gravity of the situations that occur in the film. Although Drax has more development within this film, there was a definite need to see more into his back story that didn’t get enough exploration after hearing a bit of his back story from the first film.  While the soundtrack is great to listen to, at times throughout the film, it felt like it was relied on a bit too heavily at times. While Awesome Mix 2 is not as solid as Awesome Mix 1, it’s still strong. It’s just that it doesn’t have the same kind of impression as the first soundtrack.

James Gunn has delivered a worthy sequel that actually goes above and beyond the first movie. It manages to preserve all of the elements of the first film, without warning out it’s welcome. The cinematography and direction that was applied in the first film pleasingly carries over into the second film. The biggest and most important factor of making this movie as a solid product is the amount of heart put into the development of this movie. Hopefully, Gunn will manage to pull the same kind of miracle for the third film in the same way that the Russo’s did for Captain America: Civil War. Is this movie the “Best Marvel Studios movie of all time? Or ever?!” No. Simply no. It’s absurd and ridiculous to say that. But is it in a list of top five in regards to the ever evolving list of MCU films? Most definitely. Much more solid than most MCU sequels. It’s definitely next to Guardians 1, Civil War, and Winter Solider in regards to character development and expanding the MCU as a whole.

If you’re looking for a refreshing space adventure to kick off the summer blockbuster experience, this is the one to start. Definitely, see it with friends, family, loved ones,( or with a special someone), it’s got all the things a summer blockbuster delivers in.

By Anthony Andujar Jr.

Anthony Andujar Jr. is an NYC cartoonist and lover of comics and music. So much so that it led him to writing comic book reviews in between it all.

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