Most of us have to wait almost two more weeks to finally see James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but movie critics -- that special breed -- were lucky enough to see the sequel ahead of time (for a press junket), and Marvel Studios has unleashed the hounds. The embargo on Guardians 2 reviews dropped overnight, and the critical community, in general, loves what it has seen.
Being a sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was never going to have that full effect, but it does still feel remarkably different, while also reminding audiences why they fell head over heels the first time. It's visually splendid, laugh out loud funny, brimming with Easter eggs that will make geeks giddy, and a welcome return for some beloved big-screen heroes.
Eric Eisenberg isn't alone in praising James Gunn's work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Owen Gleiberman in Variety notes that it's Gunn's work that largely helps the sequel excel, writing:
Shot for shot, line and line, it's an extravagant and witty follow-up, made with the same friendly virtuosic dazzle. Yet this time you can sense just how hard the series' wizard of a director, James Gunn, is working to entertain you.
And Chris Nashawaty of Entertainment Weekly agrees, making direct comparisons to the original Guardians, which this movie can't seem to surpass:
It's smarter than most films, but not as smart as the first one. It's funnier than most films, but not as funny as the first one. And it still probably belongs in the upper tier of Marvel movies but nowhere near as high up as the first one. ... It's still a good Marvel movie (at times, a very good one), but it's a come down from the dizzying highs of the first installment. The laughs are still there, but they're less involuntary.
Not everyone is enamored with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Of the three Rotten review on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, Fred Topel of We Live Entertainment writes:
Even the things people liked about the first movie get exaggerated until it's not cute anymore. Since everyone loved the blacklight joke, there are now constant sex jokes. Everyone loved Baby Groot in one scene, so now he's in the whole movie. Sure, they find ways to use his minuscule size but it's still pandering.
In general, the sentiment echoed by most critics is that they had a lot of fun with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, even if it doesn't reach the impossible heights of the fresh-and-original first film. Kyle Anderson of Nerdist sums it up with this statement from his review:
The action's great, the performances are top notch, and the soundtrack is killer. 2017's first Marvel movie is, impressively, one of the best sci-fi adventures you could hope to see. I defy anyone to watch this and not smile from beginning to end.