There is nothing in this world like family. Some people have this thought process that you cant choose your family and, while that might be true, it is at the same time not true at all. The people that you have in your life can become family. Some of us do not know our parents or if we have siblings. Some may say they don’t have any family at all. But, at the same time, the friends we keep can be closer to family than the family we’re born into.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 deals with the idea of family in every aspect. Everything from what it means to choose your own family and trying to push them away to absentee parents. In the original Guardians of the Galaxy, we saw Groot protecting Rocket like he was an older brother. And in Vol 2, not only do we see Rocket protecting Groot, but now we have the whole team protecting him.
The core team from Guardians returns with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper as Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Baby Groot, and Rocket, respectively. Also returning are Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, Karen Gillan as Nebula, and Sean Gunn as Kraglin.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sequel that has not added new characters and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is no different. Pom Klementieff is added as Mantis, the caretaker of Kurt Russell’s Ego. Elizabeth Debicki and Chris Sullivan are the antagonists Ayesha and Taserface, respectfully, and Sylvester Stallone is Yondu’s old friend Stakar Ogord.
The family started to be built in the first film and it expands in this one. Not only in size but it grows in its history, as well. The relationship between Gamora and Nebula is expanded on, as is the relationship with Yondu and the Ravengers. Kraglin, Taserface, and Stakar are all members of the Ravegers and its within those relationships that we learn more about Yondu and why he is the way he is. The biggest movement of the story comes with a look into Peter’s relationships with his friends and the family that he barely knew.
If there were two things that made Guardians of the Galaxy work for me it was the music and the comedic aspects. Unfortunately for me, these two aspects did not land with me as well in Vol 2 as they did with the first one.
The jokes felt like they were targeted to a younger age. There were a lot of jokes at the expense of Baby Groot not understanding what things mean, with one specifically involving a pair of underwear. While I’m not against humor targeted to different age groups, there just wasn’t enough targeted to the older audience for my liking, especially for this being a PG-13 film.
The music, while part of the story in its own right, wasn’t something that stuck with me like the first soundtrack did. With Guardians of the Galaxy, I knew just about every song on the soundtrack, so much so that one of them was played as the first dance with my wife at our wedding in 2014.
With Vol. 2’s soundtrack, there is only one song that I knew and none of them really stuck with me after the movie was over.
What does family mean? This is the central story of not only Guardians of the Galaxy but of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. They both show what it means to be family even if the people are not blood. Showing that family can be what you make it and not necessarily what is given to you hits hard and repeatably.
While I thought Guardians of the Galaxy was a great film, Vol 2 does not live up to what the first one was. By all means, it is not a bad film — I just had higher expectations. With a little too much humor that didn’t agree with me and a soundtrack that I forgot as soon as the film was over, Vol 2 is a story centered around family and what that truly means. I do recommend seeing this film to anyone who really enjoyed the first just to keep up with the story of these characters. Just remember that it feels geared to a younger audience. For everyone else, I would not recommend this as an entry point for Guardians of the Galaxy or for the MCU as a whole.