The first reviews for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” are in and the consensus is mostly positive, although many critics deemed the outing a “sophomore slump.”
While there’s a lot about “Vol. 2” that stands on its own merits, many noted that it still feels like a disappointment when comparing it to the first film released in 2014. Alonso Duralde said over on TheWrap that the film does a better job at answering questions posed from the first than presenting a unique narrative to separate it from the first.
“‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'” is more interested in filling in the details from its antecedent than it is in moving the saga forward,” Duralde writes. “We learn the truth that explains certain behaviors and occurrences from the first movie, and there’s even a little redemption for some characters we maybe only thought were villains.”
Despite this being a crucial flaw, critics also note that it’ll be tough for the Marvel fans to walk out disappointed. The movie is filled with delightful cameos, standout performances from Dave Bautista as Drax and Baby Groot, and more jokes that solidify the Guardians as one of the funniest Marvel cinematic universe teams.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” hits theaters on May 5. Check out more of what critics had to say below.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap
“If you’re not already on the ‘Guardians’ train, of course, this follow-up isn’t going to win you over, nor will it appeal to those who demand that sequels attempt to offer the same jolts of unexpected pleasure that first chapters do. ‘Vol. 2’ is filler, to be sure, but if you like the flavor of these movies, you’ll enjoy this second bite.”
Mike Ryan, Uproxx
“The thing that people will ask is, ‘Is it better than the first movie?’ And, right now, I like both about the same. These movies work because of their tone – so much that, honestly, it took me some time to get used to it in the first movie. And I like that ‘Vol. 2’ doesn’t just send the team out on just another mission against just another bad guy. I remember halfway through wondering to myself, ‘Who is the bad guy in this movie?’ And the biggest advantage this movie has is that it has a lot of characters you already like a lot. So why not just mix and match them, and put them in situations an audience wasn’t expecting.”
Geoffrey Macnab, Independent
“The second ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ is Marvel Studios near its best: spectacular, funny and with a very likeable self-mocking quality. Whereas the first ‘Guardians’ was a little too flippant and full of in-jokes, here writer-director James Gunn somehow manages to give even the most outlandish comic book characters an interior life.”
Haleigh Foutch, Collider
“With ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,’ Gunn attempts to recapture that strange magic while fulfilling sequel expectations for more action and bigger world-building. By and large, he succeeds. Vol. 2 is uproariously funny (it will no doubt be one of the most vocal theatrical audiences you’ll experience this year), possessing the same wit and wonder of the first film with a doubled down intent to explore what makes his heroes tick. But for all its strengths, ‘Vol. 2’ can never quite clear the impossibly high bar set by the first film.”
Bryan Bishop, Verge
“Don’t get me wrong. The new ‘Guardians’ has some great jokes, and there’s a slow-motion moment set to Fleetwood Mac that almost lets viewers pretend they’re watching the original film again. And I’m sure it’s going to be the best space-opera you’ll be able to see in theaters until ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ roll around. But given that it’s following a film that was so instantly iconic and unforgettable, it’s tragic that so many people are likely to forget ‘Vol. 2’ before they’ve even left the theater.”
Tom Huddleston, Time Out
“After the sugar rush of the first film, recapturing the magic was always going to be an uphill battle. But for all its wit, speed and wacky cameos (Howard the Duck! Sylvester Stallone!) this second instalment still feels like a disappointment. Until well past half way through, it doesn’t even have a plot, just a bunch of amusing scenes strung together. And when the story does arrive, it’s fairly half-arsed: big villain, universe in danger, loads of explosions.”