What’s up, Diatribe Tribe? It’s been a good minute since I’ve written any movie reviews–the last one I did was Ghost in the Shell— but truthfully there really hasn’t been anything good out–at least nothing worthy of reviewing. A couple here and there have evaded my critical scope but let’s be honest–the real prize lies in the summer blockbusters that are coming to us over the next couple of months. There’s plenty to look forward to from Alien Covenant to Spider-man: Homecoming, to Nolan’s anticipated film Dunkirk. So fear not! We’ll have all these reviews coming your way and more!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II was met with a great deal of anticipation. With the first installment becoming a smash hit with fans, director James Gunn had a big responsibility to keep moviegoers engaged and to avoid the labeling of the first movie as a “one-hit wonder”. I personally enjoyed the first Guardians very much. It was fresh, the characters were diverse and appealing, and the humor was clever, and at times, knee-slapping hilarious! Let’s not forget the soundtrack which was labeled Awesome Mix-tape Volume I which featured some incredible hits from the 80’s that had fans groovin and jiving right along with the high paced action decorated by wit and charm.  That is why I was very much looking forward to Volume II and this past Friday I donned my new Guardians of the Galaxy t-shirt, piled my car with some good friends and checked it out.

Fans will be pleased to know that all the pieces that made GOTG great are still there and in tact. As soon as the film and begins and onward you feel right at home as you pleasantly discover that the chemistry between the characters is still very present and the story-line complemented by great visuals and thrilling action is still satisfying.

There’s a lot more character development in this one which allows the writers to stretch their cognitive muscles in fleshing out the characters (good thing) which resulting in a lot of dialogue that sometimes bogs the movie down (bad thing).

The main critique I had was that I think the writers relied on too many heavy plot devices on so many points of conflict that the whole plot tipped on its side several times in the middle of the film and had to be straightened out from time to time. I personally thought they tried to cram so much emotion into each character’s conflicts that we were a little unsure how to relate all the parts to the whole and thus we got tired of feeling at all.  This causes the film to not feel as magical and enrapturing as  the original. I think the hardest part about making a sequel is the fact  that now people know what to expect and you have to up the ante enough to make it seem unique while still feeding the audience what they’ve come to know and love. GOTG succeeds for the most part in this task but there are some things that suffer…

Humor

The humor for one, while genuinely funny at times was a far cry from the original. I was disappointed to see that they resorted to a lot of lowbrow humor which is quite the disappointing cop-out. Other bits were forced and relied on the stereotypes of the characters to produce some contrived humor that was funny in the first film but not so much in the second. If I was to rate the humor alone I’d give it a 5/10. Not horrible but not as impressive.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack is another example of something that was phenomenal in the first film and satisfactory in the second. I loved that they included “The Chain” as one of their selections and there were a few other tracks that I found to be to be well placed but overall nothing beats the killer soundtrack of the first movie that fit so perfectly with the mojo of the film.

New Characters

The new characters didn’t add too much intrigue to the gig of the original ensemble. Mainly they served as props to provide some new objectives and obstacles for the characters to navigate through and overcome but for the most part they were forgettable. Kurt Russel’s performance as Ego (Peter Quill’s dad) was well done and fit properly into the whole scope and sequence of the plot but everyone else (yes including Sylvester Stallone) did little to add or detract from the quality of the film. They were just kind of…I don’t know…around.

Summary

Overall the film will not disappoint GOTG fans. It’s starts out as a killer good time –like a family reunion where you actually like everybody–then slows down towards the middle and starts to drag before picking up towards the end for a final rodeo that leaves you feeling satisfied and entertained. But if you love the franchise, the characters, and have the same standards that the first installment caused you to expect you’ll still have a very nice time at this movie.

Daily Diatribe Rating: 7.8/10