With an original idea, there are no presumptions that come before it, nothing to be compared to, and no residue of expectation in the minds of audiences. In the superhero genre — a subset of cinema that often lacks surprise— Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) wasn't only a breath of fresh air, it was a joyous intake of sweet oxygen flooding the lungs of a post-inhaler asthmatic.
Of course, James Gunn's space-set movie was based on the Marvel comic book series, but it was still obscure in comparison to some of the titans of the MCU. Despite this, the film still earned an impressive amount at the box office, its feisty, roguish intergalactic adventure capturing the imagination of audiences and critics alike.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, however, doesn't have the luxury of hiding in the shadows of surprise. In fact, quite the opposite — those shadows have been fiercely illuminated by the spotlight of acclaim, and expectation is high. But, in a move Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) himself would be proud of, Gunn's sequel has moonwalked directly into the glare, and, possibly, out-danced the original.
In the standard Marvel prerelease test screening, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has scored the perfect 100, to become the first film in the #MCU to do so. Although far from a perfect barometer, does this suggest #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy2 can become the best MCU movie to date?
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'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' Can Be Even Better Than The First
In short, the answer is: Yes. Rather than act as a hinderance, becoming a known entity will help drive the narrative in the sequel. Gunn himself has already explained how the film will be completely different now that the core of the group has been introduced. This'll allow for more in-depth exploration of the motivation of everyone involved, and, as Gunn states, "each character has their moment to shine."
Not only will the group of unlikely losers have to adjust to their new team, but there are a multitude of changing dynamics within the group. There will be a new additions in Mantis, as well as Nebula and Yondu, who are defecting from bad to good. And although Star-Lord won't be the main focus, the leader of the team tasked with defending the galaxy will have an altogether more personal challenge, with the arrival of his father, Ego the Living Planet. The theme of family will also resonate with step-sisters Nebula and Gamora, who will have to learn to work together after being on competing sides in #GuardiansOfTheGalaxy.
Gunn's creative freedom, too, will ensure that all of the ingredients that made the first such a hit will only be increased in the second. Expect more of the same quick-witted dialogue, 80s inspired soundtracks, beautiful, star-filled cosmic cinematography, and, hopefully, an intriguing plot full of heart.
Such is the confidence with those behind the scenes, both Gunn and Chris Pratt believe that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 can become "the greatest spectacle movie of all time." They're not too wide of the mark.
Can It Become The MCU's Best?
The results from the screen test suggest so; even Iron Man 3 and The Avengers couldn't achieve the perfect 100 rating, both receiving scores in the high 90s. But it depends on how you measure the "best," which could be broken down into three categories: The best financially, the best critically, and the best for the fans.
Financially, every MCU sequel to date has made more money than the original, including the Captain America, Thor and Iron Man movies. Considering the success of the franchise, the sequel is practically guaranteed to gross more worldwide than Guardians impressive take of $773.3 million, possibly becoming part of the $1 billion club. It'll take some doing to match The Avengers (2012) though, that grossed an eye-watering $1.518 billion worldwide.
Critically, the original was one of the best performing MCU films, scoring 91 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, behind only The Avengers (92 per cent) and Iron Man (94 per cent). Again, edging past Iron Man's score will be a big task; even La La Land, with 14 Oscar nominations, scored 93 per cent. The big question here will be whether Gunn can match the fun of the first with an even more interesting plot, if so, he could win the critics on side.
Finally — the fans. Judging from what we know already, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 looks like a film made with the fans' interests in mind, mainly because Gunn himself falls into that category. If Vol. 2 lives its lofty, newfound expectations, there's no reason it can't become the best MCU film for millions worldwide.
Will Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 become the best MCU movie?