Guardians of the Galaxy was a big gamble for Marvel Studios back in 2014. It was different from all the other movies that were being made from the studio. This gamble would pay off for them and Guardians of the Galaxy would become one of the most loved movies from Marvel to date. I have no reason to believe that Vol. 2 will stray from that path, though this time around I cannot bask in the movies glory.
When I first watched the first Guardians movie, it seemed to be a nice average movie with a lot of jokes. But upon recently rewatching it I found out that I actually really don't like that movie. There are too many pacing problems along with a real lack of convincing story during the first half of the movie. I only say this so that it can help you determine if you even want to hear what I have to say about Vol.2.
Before I go on and talk about things I didn't like about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, let's talk about the good stuff. This includes the amazing visual effects. The visual effects and overall art direction for the movie is crazy good. Nothing seems to truly be "inspired" by any other work of art before it. It all seems original and beautifully put together. The backgrounds and locations all seemed really cool, the obvious being the main planet the movie takes place on. It really blows me away how good visual effects are getting in movies now. Which leads into a weird connection to this movie and Ghost in the Shell. They both had amazing visuals but failed in the story department.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 tries to have a deep story, and there is evidence of an attempt. The main problem is that the attempt was unsuccessful. The movie is plagued with pacing problems, jumping from a really quick lighthearted action scene to slow it down with unnecessary slow motion, or cutting to just a different scene that is inherently slow. To add insult to injury, the movie will try to drop these heavier sequences on you to try and ground the story, but they all don't hit their mark. They seemed haphazardly thrown in just for the sake of trying to be deep. The movie, especially towards the end, really tries to make you feel in these deeper moments. The main problem is that tonally the movie isn't meant for this and it doesn't earn the moments. There is no reason to feel anything other than the occasional chuckle from the jokes.
Again, the movie did try to go for that deeper meaning and it makes me sad because if it had done it right it would have been really good.
The music choice was spectacular and I think that Awesome Mix Vol.2 really beats out its predecessor. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy is a really good looking movie that has a ton of problems.