By Brent Ramirez
Blog Content Contributor
Ladies and gentlemen, it is nearly the end of the semester. We are more than halfway through April and less than two weeks away from this year’s next superhero film: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (GOTG2). Now the Guardians sure aren’t the most well known heroes to very casual moviegoers. The ragtag team of misfits consists of space pirate Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord, a green assassin named Gamora, Rocket, a raccoon and thief, Drax, a thug with the worst sense of sarcasm and figurative speech, and last but not least, Groot, a talking tree. By no means are they your familiar Marvel staples like Spider-Man or Captain America, but they have very well made a name for themselves thanks to their first film back in 2014, and have since broken into the pop culture atmosphere.
It’s been almost three years since the first Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) film, and this time around it looks like the gang is back to the usual mixture of a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. GOTG surprised audiences when it was first mentioned to be a upcoming film project for Marvel. A Marvel property that was a relative no-name in the public eye seemed like it wouldn’t be their most financially successful venture, but the film went on to become Marvel’s third highest grossing film at the time, making over $770 million worldwide, only behind The Avengers and Iron Man 3. The film was also the third highest grossing film of 2014 and the highest grossing superhero film of 2014. GOTG was also a critical success, praised for its humor, action, soundtrack, visual effects, directing and acting among many other things.
Thanks to the success of the first film, the Guardians have not only justified their place among Marvel’s Avengers, but they’ve also warranted themselves a sequel that has been long awaited by fans and critics alike. Many people have been speculating the details of the sequel since 2014 and now that we’re only days away from the release of the film, we’ve been treated to several trailers, TV spots, and other statements form the team behind it. While there’s tons of promotional material to get excited about, here are just a few more reasons why you should be excited for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
The family is back and bigger.
The dynamic between the title characters was arguably the crux of the first GOTG. It was the strangers-turned-family aspect that really gave the film its heart and established the Guardians to really fill that super-family gap that Marvel’s lacked due to the film rights of Marvel’s first super-family, the Fantastic Four, being in the hands of 20th Century Fox. Despite this, Marvel managed to make something truly special with characters that have remained relatively unknown to the public up until the past few years.
Audiences have fallen in love with space’s second favorite scoundrel, Star-Lord, a character that owes its popularity to Chris Pratt’s seemingly effortless performance. The witty and down-to-earth (or up-to-the-galaxy) space pirate plays dad to his merry group of rascals. Zoe Saldana brings a fierceness and mystery to Gamora, a badass alien assassin and the no-nonsense matriarch of the group. Drax, played by former wrestler Dave Bautista, is like that weird uncle who’s not quite familiar with normal social cues and conversation, but you still love him anyway because he’d beat the crap out of anyone who’d lay a finger on you. Last but not least are Rocket and Groot, voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively. A talking raccoon and a talking tree, the duo may seem like a strange combo on paper, but it’s hard to imagine the movie being the success it was without the two.
In addition to original team, the sequel is looking to introduce some new teammates, both familiar and new. Michael Rooker’s Yondu is back and so is Karen Gillan’s Nebula, both playing somewhat antagonists in the first film. It seems that this time around, the two will be joining the roster, becoming full-fledged guardians. GOTG2 will also introduce us to new character and team member Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff. The character is known in the comics as a grandmaster martial artist who can also manipulate plants. Aside from new teammates, GOTG2 will also include actor Kurt Russell as a character who’s set to shed some light on some questions that were left unanswered in the first film.
The soundtrack looks to be another banger.
One of the things that made the first GOTG so enjoyable was the music. The soundtrack featured hit songs from the past like Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love”, Blue Suede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”, The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” and more. The songs may seem non-diegetic (not within the world of the movie), but they actually come from Star-Lord’s “Awesome Mix,” a mixtape that he plays on his Walkman, which serves to be one of his last remaining ties to the life he left back on Earth. While the soundtrack is great to listen to on its own, it’s great that it’s actually a part of the narrative. It makes sense in the context of the story, and it doesn’t feel shoehorned in for people to just say, “Hey, remember that song?”
Thanks to Peter Quill’s mom, we will once again be treated to a kick ass soundtrack in GOTG2. The soundtrack will feature music from Electric Light Orchestra, George Harrison, Jay and the Americans and Silver, just to name a few. A look at one of the trailers features the song “Chains” by Fleetwood Mac and if that isn’t reason enough to see the film then I don’t know what is. Seriously, the bass line is immaculate.
More out-of-this-world visual effects.
Before the acid trip that was last year’s Doctor Strange and after the visual beauty that was Asgard in Thor was Marvel’s take on a space adventure in GOTG. Not only was introducing obscure Marvel characters daunting, but introducing a new side of the cosmic MCU and executing it visually was yet another challenge for the team behind the first film. Luckily, we were treated to a beautiful, galactic spectacle and based on the promotional material so far, it seems that there is still a ton of beautiful galaxy left for us to discover.
On a side note, Marvel films have relied on a relatively dull and muted color correction palate. Yes, there are colors present, but if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that colors are much more muted than you’d think. Sure it’s not a big deal, but imagine the difference if the films featured much bolder colors that popped out, similar to the pages of a comic book. To me, GOTG seemed to be the exception to that rule. Maybe I’m wrong and it was just nice to see a change with all the space visuals, but it seemed like GOTG took a risk to be something visually and aesthetically different and it paid off for Marvel. Like its predecessor, GOTG2 looks to follow the trend of bringing those bright colors and that much welcomed vibrancy just based on the footage from the trailers. Here’s to hoping.
With a new story, new villains and new stakes, the latest Guardians film is looking to be a promising outing for Marvel. It’s hard to go wrong with Kurt Russell, Fleetwood Mac and Baby Groot, but only time will truly tell when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters on May 5th, 2017. GOTG2 will be Marvel’s first film of 2017 and will set the tone for their upcoming 2017 films Spider-Man: Homecoming in July and Thor: Ragnarok in November. Until then, we’ll be able to feast our eyes on another interstellar adventure with our favorite group of a-holes.
Featured image via comicbookmovie.com.