In 2014, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy entered theaters with little expectations, but the sequel is a very different situation. After the first installment in the space opera series earned widespread critical acclaim and grossed $773.3 million worldwide, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of 2017’s most-anticipated films and kicks off the busy summer movie season this May. Fans have responded quite enthusiastically to the marketing campaign, which promises another rousing sci-fi adventure personified by large amounts of heart and wicked humor.
From the sounds of Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2 to Baby Groot being a little jerk to everyone to Star-Lord meeting his father, there are many things to look forward to in this film. After Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe got off to a great start last year, many viewers are hopeful Guardians of the Galaxy 2 can continue the forward momentum. Fortunately, it sounds like that’s very much the case, based on how successful a recent test screening was.
THR is reporting that the latest from writer/director James Gunn scored a rare perfect score of 100, which is higher than any of the previous MCU installments. Both Iron Man 3 and The Avengers landed in the high 90s. Given the studio’s longstanding success dating back to 2008, this is quite the accomplishment for Vol. 2 and bodes well for its potential quality. Even though Marvel uses a more exclusive process for recruiting test audiences (dubbed “friends and families,” who are unlikely to trash the film) than others, the studio still takes the process seriously and probably gets some honest opinions from the group. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is the franchise’s 15th installment, indicating the property is stronger than ever.
Still, there are some important things to keep in mind. Test screening scores do not always correlate with the film’s actual critical reception. For instance, THR notes 2010 Best Picture nominee Black Swan earned a 55 as the high mark, and Pretty Woman was in the 70s. It is very plausible that Vol. 2 is another surefire hit, but moviegoers would probably be better served waiting for the first wave of professional reviews before they start the celebration. Test screenings have long been a Hollywood tradition, but some projects (like the modern Star Wars movies) don’t hold them at all, so there are those who feel they’re not too important, all things considered.
Nevertheless, this is a positive sign for what’s shaping up to be one of the year’s biggest blockbusters. Vol. 2 generated more social media conversations than any other film that had a Super Bowl LI spot, and people have been waiting for this followup ever since they saw the original. Fortunately, there are only a few more months until audiences see if it lives up to the hype, so hopefully it delivers on all fronts and leaves viewers wanting more. The Guardians are set to factor heavily into Avengers: Infinity War, meaning fans should remain excited.