‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ 4K Blu-ray Review

Experiencing James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is what it must feel like to blindly leap into and endless sea of Skittles. On one hand you’re completely lost. On the other, the vistas are so bright and colorful that you cannot help but to crack an enormous smile.

What makes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 work has nothing to do with a narrative structure that jumps from one sector to another on a whim. Who needs clarity or hole-free plot lines? Gunn clearly knows his characters inside and out. He’s written their interactions in such a way that big spectacle action becomes a cumbersome obstacle to the next conversation between any of them, but especially between Drax and anyone.

I could listen to Dave Bautista as Drax burst out into spontaneous laughter all day long. You know a film works when an ex-wrestler can steal the show from a foul-mouthed gunslinging raccoon.

There’s so much fun injected into Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 that you cannot help but feel your life pales in comparison after soaking it all in. Misguided villains and heroic sacrifices aside, we’d all be better off with a gaggle of friends like the Milano’s mates at our side.

Given a trippy color palette that paints one of its villains portrayed by Elizabeth Debicki and her people completely gold, it comes as no surprise that Gunn pushed hard for Marvel and Disney to dip their toes into 4K Ultra HD with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as its first 4K home video release. That turns out to be a wise decision despite some non-issue technical limitations.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 4K Blu-ray Cover ArtThe inclusion of HDR10 on the 4K disc does make the colors feel like they’re literally from another universe when compared to the flatter Blu-ray version. However, the exclusion of Dolby Vision — which was available theatrically — denies viewers that last bit of oomph on top of what is already a joyous kaleidoscope lens into to the cosmic Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s no secret now that the visual effects for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 were supposedly rendered in 2K to comply with 3D standards. In other words, this isn’t a true native 4K release and instead has been upscaled in 4K after-the-fact.

Make no mistake: a side-by-side comparison gives the edge to 4K over Blu-ray in virtually every area including the obvious, colors, as well as details and overall appearance. Greater detail can be found in other true 4K releases, leaving this one playing in a league under the big boys, but no one will care once lost in the sea of glorious 4K colors that turn standard Blu-ray into the ugly stepchild.

Dolby Atmos audio on the 4K disc, a notch above the competing DTS-HD Master Audio mix on the Blu-ray, is pretty much perfection. All the big blockbuster boxes are checked including extensive use of bass, aggressive surrounds, crystal clear audio, and great front-to-back as well as up-and-down channel separation.

Bonus features aren’t abundant in volume but do provide quite a bit of additional entertainment.

Gunn returns for another audio commentary full of insight and his overbearing love of the characters and cast, several of which are close friends including a relative. This commentary, and all of extras for that matter, are only found on the Blu-ray and not the 4K version.

The Making Of featurette is under an hour but packs all kinds of great information about the film’s genesis and production. The retro Inferno music video starring David Hasselhoff, released early online to drum up publicity for the early Digital HD release, transcends any sort of written critique.

  • The Making of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
  • Visionary Intro
  • Guardians Inferno Music Video
  • Gag Reel
  • Four Deleted Scenes
  • Audio Commentary

Don’t let any “not true 4K” nitpicks get into your head. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is both essential viewing and essential to own for its unapologetic fun and mind blowing color range. Heck, it’s worth the full price of purchase to put the opening sequence starring dancing Baby Groot on repeat while Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr. Blue Sky plays the scene away.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 4k Blu-ray Review
out of 5

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