Without a doubt, Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s biggest surprise hit. The super-cool space dramedy challenged all conventions and turned a movie starring a raccoon and a tree into a smash Hollywood success. The movie also transformed Chris Pratt into a legitimate leading man and underscored Zoe Saldana, who rocketed to fame in the Star Trek reboot, as the go-to choice for galactic leading lady. By all accounts, the movie was a strong introduction to the wider Marvel multiverse, and an entertaining peek into the interstellar shenanigans that have only played a peripheral role in previous Marvel outings.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2
So, it’s really not too much of a surprise that the sequel: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, had a huge opening night, raking in $17 million at the box office, beating out the early showing of its predecessor by a good margin. In fact, G2 is currently the biggest opener in cinema so far this year. Sure, it’s early yet, and we have a lot of summer blockbusters on deck, but G2 is certainly off to a roaring start.
So, what have the critics had to say about this sequel? Well, most say the sequel is a worthy follow-up to the first outing, even if the second movie doesn’t carry the infectiously campy surprises the first film offered.
One of the smartest things producers, writers, and directors did in this movie is trying to stay close to the previous film without trying to recapture that same magic. While the Guardians are now officially universe savers, they continue to bicker happily and challenge typical hero conventions. One of those, of course, is that the Guardians are not really heroes at all. They’re not just good or bad, as Star-Lord once famously opined, they’re up for “a bit of both.”
Marvel Planned Well
Marvel wisely doesn’t play this duality as a serious philosophical question. They keep it fun. And, while the Guardians do face consequences for their “bit of bad” behavior, the plot carries it out without creating any morality plays, as they have with other Marvel movies.
This fan-friendly theme has proven successful in previous Marvel movies, especially in outings like Thor and Iron Man, where the protagonists wear their Shakespearean flaws on their shirtsleeves but do so with a smile or smirk on their faces. On the flip side, there’s Captain America and, more recently, Dr. Strange, both of which have played the good-bad razor’s edge very seriously.
This more serious take might work in a solo movie about Star-Lord trying to find his father, aka Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, but it really won’t work when you add in the elements of Bradley Cooper’s hilariously homicidal raccoon, Rocket, and Vin Diesel’s now cuddly-cute Baby Groot wreaking havoc across every scene. So, Marvel made the wise decision to give the fans more of what they want … and they’re reaping the benefits.