Everyone has their stance on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Though it may not be as divisive as Man of Steel or Iron Man 3 (both of which are also underappreciated), it seems to have been significantly less talked about than other films in the genre in 2017. This especially rings true when it comes to discussions of best movies of the year in general. To me, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of the best superhero films of all time. Directed and acted with so much confidence, this film is a visual marvel. Not only is it that, but it is also an emotional, character-driven ride that demands to be talked about as the year rolls on.
Michael Rooker Deserves An Oscar Nomination
Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it may sound like I'm jumping the (James) Gunn, but hear me out: Yondu in #GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol2 is Michael Rooker's best performance. With an arc set up subtley in its predecessor, Yondu was front and center, stealing scenes even better than Baby Groot or even Drax in the original. Rooker is Yondu Udonta. He's flawed, flashy and hilarious, with a rough past that made him even more layered than before. Specifically, its the way that Rooker protrays the character that makes him really shine. Its those small moments, like his conversations with Rocket and his final conversation that Quill, that make the movie as great as it is. But what really shines is his relationship with Peter Quill, and how over the course of two movies the character has slowly revealed his selfless soft side. As Star-Lord's surrogate father, Rooker is perfect, considering that no one else could've portrayed him the way that he did. So yes, Rooker deserves a nomination, standing with nominees like Alec Guinness' Ben Kenobi and Ian McKellan's Gandalf the Grey as one of the best supporting genre characters of all time.
Nothing Is Wrong With Putting Characters Over Story
One common criticism that this sequel initially faced during its release is that it supposedly didn't have a plot, or that you can't even explain the story. It is quite the challenge to construct a film solely on characters, but when filmmakers do make it work, they excel with flying colors (ex. Fury, Everybody Wants Some). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is no exception. Though these movies don't have a traditional structure, it is what sets them apart from usual blockbuster fare. The superhero genre in particular is starting to show its age, with specific tropes becoming more and more common.
Guardians takes us on a journey that we wouldn't expect. It splits up its characters in the first act of the film, allowing all of them to grow individually so that when they do appear as a team during its finale, the payoff is extravagant. In fact, one of the greatest movies of all time used a structure like this, The Empire Strikes Back.
It Has The Biggest Heart
In addition to taking massive story risks, the finale tops it off with the biggest one. The way the arcs intertwine at the finale of the film provides some of the most satisfying moments in the superhero genre. All the characters have their own, fully fleshed-out stories throughout the film. Not even the Avengers films have come remotely close to the accomplishment this installment achieved. On a more significant note, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proves that our heroes are expendable.
In 15 years of churning out great films, Marvel had never pulled of an earned death. Yondu's in Vol. 2 is not only effective because of Quill's arc, but because of how much we have learned to love him over the years. The ending of the film provides arguably the most bittersweet and emotional scene in Marvel's history, finding audiences in a state of sorrow, while they smile cheek to cheek, proud of how much these characters have grown. It is the more subtle moments in Guardians that shine the brightest. Rocket's vulnerability, Gamora's dancer side and Mantis's inner beauty all shine the brightest because of the extensive character development they underwent, and every beat works because of it.
It Might Turn Out To Be The Best Superhero Trilogy Of All Time
In addition to being the most unique franchise in the genre, Guardians of the Galaxy really has a chance to stand among the best trilogies of all time if it sticks the landing. Of course, the majority of both The Dark Knight and Captain America trilogies are great, but fans do have a fair share of problems when it comes to the former's last installment and the latter's first. Guardians has definitely hit both of them out of the park, paving the way for a conclusion as unique and different as this sequel was to its predecessor. Hopefully it stays focused on its characters so that it doesn't fall into the category of casual superhero fare. Bravo James Gunn, Good luck.
Which of the two Guardians films do you think is the strongest?