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Out of This World: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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After three years of waiting, the highly anticipated release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” had fans flocking to theaters on May 5, 2017. With nonstop action, slapstick humor, retro music and Groot’s killer dance moves, the newest installment to the Marvel Cinematic Universe has different aspects that appeal to all viewers.

Image courtesy of https://marvel.com/guardians

Visually, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” does not have a single bland moment. From the opening titles to the multicolor display of fireworks in the movie’s last few minutes, the sharp cinematography keeps the audience’s attention. With a delightful show of colors and complicated design aspects, director James Gunn creates a flawless intergalactic environment. The movie’s blend of bright candy colors, complex set pieces, CGI and realistic makeup simultaneously enhances the viewing experience and brings the cosmos to life.

Right off the bat, the ragtag group of heroes Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and now-Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) have their teamwork skills put to the test when the need for heroes to step up and save the galaxy arises once again. They are thrust into a new adventure that provides character backstories, answers questions from the previous “volume” and even introduces new allies and enemies.

Among the new cast of characters is Celestial Ego (Kurt Russel), Peter Quill’s long lost father, and the innocent and naive Mantis (Pom Klementief), who is apart of a race of empathic insectoid beings. Other new groups of characters are also introduced, such as the Sovereign, a highly advanced, genetically-engineered alien race.

Unfortunately, although the cast of characters is steadily expanding, there was minimal character progression among the original set of protagonists. For example, it seems as though director Gunn is holding off on developing the budding romance between Gamora and Quill teased in the first movie. Fans can only hope there will be more to come in the next installment.

Image courtesy of https://marvel.com/guardians

In addition, longtime Marvel fans were disappointed to find that there was no build-up to the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War,” where the Avengers will join forces with the gang from Guardians of the Galaxy to confront Thanos, who is trying to accumulate the precious infinity stones. (That movie is scheduled to be released on May 4, 2018.)

Despite some drawbacks, the movie has an interesting dynamic of light and dark that is incredibly appealing. In fact, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is arguably one of Marvel’s darkest franchises, as it is riddled with references to child abduction, child abuse, hate-filled sibling rivalry, thievery and murder. However, Gunn balances out the darkness by contrasting it with an upbeat and energetic soundtrack that will get your feet tapping. There is no shortage of jokes to keep the mood light, whether it’s Drax’s brutal honesty, Quill’s sarcasm or Rocket’s fits of rage at the mention of the word “racoon.”

All in all, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is very eye-catching and offers plenty of funny and touching elements. However, it falls just short of recapturing the original film’s effortless charm. With the first movie already setting the bar so high, it is understandably difficult to produce a sequel that lives up to the standards of its predecessor without seeming strained. Nonetheless, this is a fantastic film that deserves recognition for its stunning visuals and lovable cast of characters that keep us coming back for more.

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Out of This World: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2