Guardians 2 May Fall Short Of The Original, But The Critics Are Still Raving

If we learned anything from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, it’s that superhero movies can get slammed by critics and still enjoy blockbuster success. Still, no filmmaker wants bad reviews and no fan wants to get behind a movie that’s been panned. With that in mind, there was some anxiety when the embargo ended yesterday and the reviews for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were unleashed. Fortunately for all involved, the first wave of reactions has been extremely positive, if not quite as ecstatic as some would have hoped.

The general consensus seems to be that the sequel works on its own terms, even if it falls short of its predecessor. “Shot for shot, line and line, it’s an extravagant and witty follow-up, made with the same friendly virtuosic dazzle,” writes Variety’s Owen Gleiberman, conceding that the film ultimately offers “a lesser high.” Similarly, Entertainment Weekly writes that “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.”

In fact, nearly every review offers some version of the same qualified praise, though some are more forgiving than others—IGN, for example: “Vol. 2 does a great job developing its characters and growing them over the course of the story, and does its best to address frequent criticisms of MCU movies, including throwaway villains and a lack of true consequences.”

Of the 53 reviews currently listed on Rotten Tomatoes, only seven have been classified as negative. These include the assessments of TIME (“it’s high on its own supply”), Us Weekly (“a bloated semi-mess”), The Hollywood Reporter (“feels very been-there/done-that”), and Irish Times (“Expensive. Vulgar. Desperate.”). In any case, the consensus among fans has been overwhelmingly positive, right down to Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 arrives in theatres on May 5. Check out the trailer below.