Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 added a little bit of a wrinkle to the traditional superhero movie formula.
When I sit down to watch a superhero movie, I sort of have an idea of what kind of movie I’m about to watch. Villains trying to take over the world, superheroes saving the day, lots of comedy; you know the deal by now. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has turned this formula into an ATM machine at this point. We’re now 15 feature films into of the MCU and just about all of them pretty much followed that formula to some degree. The only real difference we’ve seen between the movies was really whether or not it was an origin. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 took a bit of a different direction by stressing a more emotional story rather than just trying to one up the previous movie.
Much like the first movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 consisted of lots of superhero action, an obnoxious amount of humor, saving the galaxy and a badass soundtrack. But the film also took a much more emotional path than we’ve seen in any other film in the MCU to this point. Sure, other movies in the MCU have had some emotional points but not like this. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 didn’t just have emotional points, the entire movie was a kick in the feels.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a movie completely dedicated to the growth and development of its heroes. Each character faced down their own personal demons; more specifically, their broken families. Not only was each character challenged with those struggles, but they had to overcome them by the end of the movie. Rocket wasn’t just a heavily armed raccoon blowing shit up and cracking jokes this time around, the depth of the character was actually brought into focus and put into perspective alongside other characters. The backstory of each character was just as big of a focus as what kind of powers or abilities they had. That just wasn’t something I expected to see going into this movie.
Without getting too into spoilers, the main storyline of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was emotionally heavy. The various backgrounds of each character were important. It’s not like one story was clearly superior to the others, each character’s story was treated equally. Peter Quill’s story wasn’t treated as “more important” than Drax or Gamora’s story just because Chris Pratt is the lead actor or because Peter Quill was the main character. While the emotional stories for each character were important and fueled the strength of the movie, no character portrayed this as well as Michael Rooker’s Yondu. Yondu was easily the best character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Rooker did a phenomenal job in a role that I totally did not see coming. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made emotional storytelling the primary goal of the movie and hit a home run.
I’m hardly a huge superhero guy. I enjoy the movies and I watch them, but I just don’t know enough about the comics/backstory to really analyze what I’m watching. I think the first Guardians of the Galaxy was a bit better but what do I know? All I can say is that the emotional weight of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was unexpected and fairly well done. As the MCU continues to grow and we continue to see multiple movies releasing every single year, it’s nice to mix in a few like this that challenge the traditional formula and keep the series from going stale.