It’s fair to say that expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are exceedingly high, and following a recent press screening of the film, it would seem that James Gunn’s follow-up to his enormous 2015 hit is firing on all cylinders. That’s good news, as the first film surprised audiences everywhere, introducing the world to members of a dysfunctional family of intergalactic outcasts and their unwitting involvement in saving the universe from almost certain annihilation.
It’s a good bet the first film’s success was a surprise to Marvel Studios too, as it was widely thought of as the hit maker’s first major risk, with a cast of largely unknown characters being led by the recently ripped Chris Pratt, an actor who had been making a name for himself playing harmless, somewhat out-of-shape nitwits on television. Given the film’s victory with both critics and at the box office, a sequel was almost immediately in the cards, and now it seems Marvel has another crowd-pleaser on its hands.
The recent press screening has critics and journalists emerging from the theater to share their initial thoughts on the sequel, with most of them offering plenty of praise for the film and its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Read a sampling of early reactions below:
Going in with through-the-roof expectations, Guardians Vol. 2 still left me wishing it was never going to end. I seriously loved it. pic.twitter.com/kMvGQCeRiS— Brandon Davis (@BrandonDavisBD) April 18, 2017
I say without hyperbole: #GotGVol2 is MCU at its very best. Grand adventure with intimate stakes. Uses every damn color in the crayon box. 🌈— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) April 18, 2017
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is funnier than the original, a ton of surprises, and an unexpected emotional profoundness. I am Groot.— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) April 18, 2017
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2. is very fun. Takes the EMPIRE "split up your characters" strategy. Drax is a hoot. Baby Groot steals the show— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) April 18, 2017
Had tons of fun with Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Incredibly funny, beautifully colorful, and great continuations of the heroes. Super happy!— (((Eric Eisenberg))) (@eeisenberg) April 18, 2017
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is exciting, funny, gorgeous & a helluva tearjerker. For many, it will become their new favorite Marvel movie pic.twitter.com/Po4ZOSPs8Q— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) April 18, 2017
Holy smokes was Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 fun! I had a smile plastered on my face nearly the whole time. Tons of Easter eggs too. pic.twitter.com/558Q7nw8yN— Dan Casey (@DanCasey) April 18, 2017
Hate to be the Voice of Reason, but GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 isn't as good as the first. What felt fresh now feels forced. 2.5/4 stars— Jeff Sneider (@TheInSneider) April 18, 2017
As far as the early reactions go, there seemed a consensus that Vol. 2 was what so many sequels dream of being: superior to the original. Uproxx writer Mike Ryan even went so far as to evoke the name of Empire Strikes Back in his analysis. Though he didn’t compare Guardians 2 to Star Wars: Episode V, he did use it as an example of what the Marvel sequel does well, which apparently, is to split the characters up into smaller adventures. That may be something of a risk, as one of the major draws of the first film was the feeling of budding camaraderie between Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot. Splitting them up may afford them more personal storylines, in which the individual characters are front and center, so it will be interesting to see if general audiences react in the same way.
As is usually the case, there is one voice of dissent. This time it comes from The Tracking Board editor in chief Jeff Sneider, who felt the film wasn’t as good as the first and that what worked in the original movie now “feels forced.” It’s worth noting that, even in his initial reaction, Sneider still gave the movie 2.5 out of 4 stars.
With the movie just a few weeks from its premiere, it seems as though this onslaught of early reactions will help fuel audience anticipation for the first of three Marvel Studios offerings in 2017. The only question now is: Which Marvel movie will reign supreme at the box office?
Source: Various (see links)