Many musicians have been known to struggle with second album syndrome, or a "sophomore slump," as it is sometimes labelled. The first album, created with no expectation, is often the embodiment of a life's work. Any relative success then puts pressure on a follow-up, and the slump refers to the subsequent product that fails to deliver.
In many ways, James Gunn had his first album experience with Guardians of the Galaxy. A relatively obscure entity in the comic book world, Gunn admitted his pitch to the juggernaut of Marvel Studios was risky, yet they saw his vision and ran with the quirky cosmic feature, and the result was one of the MCU's most adored productions.
The perfect mix of cast-chemistry, aesthetics and an unforgettable soundtrack produced an on point, chart-topping rhythm. With Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Gunn would be forgiven for fearing a sophomore slump. The secret is out, the world of the Guardians is no longer unexplored and the expectation couldn't be higher. Yet those involved in production seem confident of not only matching the success, but bettering it.
In a recent interview with the Toronto Sun, leading man Chris Pratt — whose portrayal of the charismatically wisecracking Star-Lord helped elevate Guardians to such lofty heights — couldn't have been more enthused about the quality of the film. He said:
"It’s a fabulous script. I think it’s going to be — I’m not using hyperbole, here – I think it’s going to be the biggest spectacle movie of all time."
Yep, that's right: The biggest spectacle movie of all time. This is also a sentiment shared by Gunn, who in his extended Facebook Q&A, claimed that he and Marvel were working together to also create "the biggest spectacle movie of all time." It looks like the sophomore slump couldn't be further from the minds of those involved.
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Can Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 Be Even Better Than The First?
The question is, can Guardians of the Galaxy 2 really become as lauded as Gunn and Pratt feel it could be? In short, the answer is yes, and the signs that they can deliver in that promise lie in:
- Keeping the core, plus strengthening the cast.
- Playing to the likeability of the characters.
- Giving Gunn freedom to roam.
- Remaining intertwined yet independent of the MCU.
The casting for Guardians of the Galaxy was inspired, especially Chris Pratt's recruitment as leader of the group, Star-Lord. A large part of the film's success is rooted in the quality, and chemistry of the leading characters, and fortunately the core will return. Pratt will again be joined by Zoe Salanda, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper.
As well as the likes of Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Sean Gunn and Glen Close making their return, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone and Pom Klementieff make astute additions to the team. Something that's bound to add an interesting dynamic to an already established cast.
Being able to keep the main cast together has also helped in allowing Gunn to stay true to the tone of the original. Adding Kurt Russell as Peter Quill's father, Ego, and adding Gamora's sister Nebula to the team will provide the platform to take an even closer look at the Guardians. It's clear Gunn values the dynamic of the characters.
A Passion Project For Director Gunn
It's also evident that for Gunn, Guardians is a passion project, and the director fully understands both the desires of the fans, but also how to finely craft a successful blockbuster. The fact he has been given a free reign by Marvel (a rarity in their shared universe) points toward their belief he can deliver for a second time; in fact, Gunn has also confirmed the plot and character story arc are his creation.
That belief in what Gunn can deliver is compounded by the recent announcement that the timing of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be distinct from the rest of the MCU. While fictional events contained within the boundaries of Earth take place in the same year of release, only two months will have passed between Gunn's films.
It's not all good news, though. Gunn will be missing some of the personnel who helped created the saturated, star-studded tone to the original. A number of behind-the-scenes staff are working on Doctor Strange, and in particular, Ben Davis, the cinematographer for the first movie, will be replaced by Henry Braham.
But despite the changes, early footage premiered to eager attendees of the San Diego Comic-Con has received glowing feedback for containing all the hallmarks of what made Guardians of the Galaxy great.
All the signs suggest Gunn's second album could be better than the first.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is released on May 5, 2017.
What does Guardians of the Galaxy 2 have to do to make it the "biggest spectacle movie" of all time?
(Source: Toronto Sun)