Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

136 min|Action, Adventure, Comedy|05 May 2017
7.6Rating: 7.6 / 10 from 762,391 usersMetascore: 67
The Guardians struggle to keep together as a team while dealing with their personal family issues, notably Star-Lord's encounter with his father, the ambitious celestial being Ego.

I always think Guardians of the Galaxy was Disney’s biggest gamble in Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that they won—to lent a phrase from President Trump—BIGLY. People can argue that in the time first Guardians of the Galaxy released, back in 2014, Marvel Studio took US$ 1,4 billion (from Guardians of the Galaxy & Captain America: Winter Soldier), a billion dollar less from their annual box office bar milestone since 2012 (the year first Avengers released, they made US$ 1,5 billion). But still, 1,4 billion was NOT little number. It proved that something geeky could win mainstream audience.

When Disney acquired Marvel Studio in 2009, they have everything else except Marvel’s biggest superheroes. Spider-man was Sony Pictures property and X-Men was (and still) part of 20th Century Fox universe. What left for Marvel Studio were second tier superheroes like Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor. After they had their own solo-movies and met together in Avengers, Marvel looked their big catalog and found a long list of superheroes that only familiar for comic book fans, a bunch of nerds or geeks.

Out of nowhere, Marvel Studio’s then pick Guardians of the Galaxy, a space opera that not so related with the MCU storyline they try to build from Iron Man (2008) to Avengers (2012). While MCU covers Earth (and a little outside: Asgard), Guardians playground are in a galaxy far far away. Doubt mounted because Disney made Guardians without a major A-list star’s face front and center in the main cast, with a director (James Gunn) with no prior mainstream hits or name recognition among the public at large. Critics—me included—doubted Guardians could win common people heart.

But it did. And there goes the big question: why?

First and foremost, Marvel Studio has commitment. They see interweaving story lines and characters as long term investment that creating a vast audience for almost any Marvel movie. Ultimately people showed up in every Marvel movie to see the continuation of the storyline they’ve been following. In Guardians of the Galaxy people saw a ground for Marvel mighty superheroes somehow will collide with Guardians far away world.

Secondly, everybody at Marvel Studio agreed on a fundamental principle: The movies needed to please the hard-core comic book readers first. It means, when they failed at the geeks, they failed everyone else. Because the geeks are Marvel’s biggest PRs. They are committed and loud. And when you win their heart, they would work for you for free. They would tell how they love the movie. And that’s a promotion worth million.

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First Guardians of the Galaxy hundreds million dollar box office hit proven Marvel could rely on every superheroes they have. After Guardians, Ant-Man and Dr. Strange—a much lesser known costume heroes compared to Iron Man and friends—also proven won mainstream audience.

And now we have Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. People eat whatever Marvel Studio offering to them. The gamble isn’t big anymore. But I still have a question; does Vol.2 rush to collide with MCU storyline?

The biggest surprise on the Vol.2 for me is how pure and clean the movie from the Avengers heroes’ story arch. The studio still manages to separate them from the civil war amongst Avengers after third Captain America film. We can see Guardians Vol.2 as separate movie, but in the same time we still feel it as part of MCU. Director James Gunn cleverly gone deep into Marvel’s cosmic canon put plenty of characters that no one other than the most ardent Marvel fans would know pop up, some only in small cameo roles, others, most excitingly, promises future bigger and more relevant appearances.

I admire Marvel creative people to let Guardians have fun, like their decision to had first Captain America movie entirely occur in the past. As a result Guardians more like Star Wars plus fun, or the young Han Solo movie that not made by Lucasfilm. (I predict, when the exact young Han Solo movie release, critic would compare the movie to the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.)

The old music reference, and now, Pac-man, David Hasselhoff and Cheers reference proven to be Marvel amazing creative way to let their director having fun, and ultimately the audience, at any ages, have fun as well.

Now in Vol.2 we know more about Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) particularly his origin. His real father is god-like planet builder called Ego (Kurt Russell). Since I am not familiar with the original comic, my first impression on Ego is the character like taken from the Mahabharata story. As in Mahabharata, Ego is like one of the gods from heaven.

On the surface, it might seem like any other film on Marvel’s assembly line: Heroes come together to defeat a villain who has the power to take over the universe. But Vol. 2 has daddy issue, an issue that only slightly took on the first film. We know now who the real daddy for Quill is, his biological father or the person that always be there for him all along. Michael Rooker as Yondu is scene stealer this time around. He will be missed a lot (ups, sorry, spoiler).

Ah, and I haven’t talk about Groot. Well, he’s just so darn cute. He makes Vol.2 more fun to watch. We are more Groot than ever! ***

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Kontributor, bekerja sebagai wartawan di Jakarta. Bukunya yang sudah terbit “Seandainya Saya Kritikus Film” (Homerian Pustaka, Yogyakarta), rilis 2009.


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