The highly anticipated sequel to Marvel’s surprise blockbuster from 2014 has arrived. When I say anticipated I’m speaking from a more general sense because right up until this week, I wasn’t really anticipating this film at all. I’m in the minority of people who thought the first film was good but not great, and thought it had some good laughs but wasn’t hilarious. Anyway allow me to redirect your attention back to Vol. 2.
This film takes place not too long after the first film left off, and follows the Guardians as they complete missions for hire. After being attacked by an onslaught of spaceships they are saved by Ego (Kurt Russell) a man claiming to be Peter’s (Chris Pratt) father. This sends Peter on a journey of discovery, as he learns the truth behind his father and why he was never present when he was younger.
Guardians 2 wastes absolutely no time delving into some of the things people loved the most about the first film. The opening of the film is a superb blend of action and comedy. The chemistry between the cast still remains as strong as it did before and is yet again one of the highlights of the film. The opening credits is one of the more memorable superhero openings in recent years, and has a creative quality to it that reminded me of the hilarious opening of last year’s Deadpool.
The script delves deeper into the characters and develops most of them further, like every great sequel should. The main theme running throughout the film is family, Peter’s relationship with his father Ego is the centrepiece of the narrative. The narrative explores many things very well such as the absence of fatherhood and how that affects a person, when they finally come face to face with their father whom they have never met before. The film also rather beautifully explores how family stretches far beyond your bloodline. Greater depth is also given to the relationship of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). We learn more about their upbringing as sisters and what ultimately drove Nebula to despise her sister. Yondu and Drax also receive a moment or two that explores aspects of their family, which gives us a greater understanding of their past. The only area where the script slips up is in terms of the actual narrative as whole. A large portion of the film actually feels like it’s missing a developing story, that’s threading everything together. It isn’t until deep into second act where a story starts surface and then develop. Also the secondary villains The Sovereign, are criminally underdeveloped and only serve as a maguffin to throw the Guardians into a series of action set pieces whenever they appear.
Chris Pratt once again brings a bucket load of charm to the role of Peter Quill aka Star Lord, that much was expected of him but he also provides an adequate about emotion to the role when needed to. His father son dynamic with Kurt Russell’s Ego allows for him to delve deeper into the emotional core of his character. Kurt was great as Ego throughout the entire film, he was a believable father figure. The voice performances from both Bradley Cooper as Rocket and Vin Diesel as Baby Groot were spot on just like they were in be previous film. Michael Rooker gets a lot more to work with in this film as Yondu and he ended up being one of the standout performances. There isn’t really a weak link in the entire cast.
Like the first but even more so with this instalment, the visual effects are some of the best you are likely to have ever seen, and the fusion of those effects with the vibrant colour palette creates visuals that are extremely appealing to the eye. I would highly recommend viewing this film in IMAX 3D if possible.
Director James Gunn handles both the quiet moments of the film and action set pieces really well. The action sequences were full of energy, and as the norm with most sequels, they were much larger in scale. The third act finale of this film is one of Marvel’s best in terms of scope and execution. I was unsure if Marvel would go all the way, in terms of depicting the character of Ego as he is portrayed visually in the comics, and I am pleased to say that they completely went for it and succeed with it.
Lastly the comedy, bottom line is, there is plenty of it. From start to finish the film is full of laughs and the success rate of the jokes remains very high through out. Every character gets their moment to shine comedically but Baby Groot and Drax stood out to me as the funniest.
In the end, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proved to be a throughly enjoyable film that was a lot of fun and full of laughs. There are some narrative issues, but I still ended up liking this film more than Vol. 1 and I am now anticipating Vol. 3 far more than I ever thought I would.
(4 Stars out of 5)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Starring Chris Pratt, Kurt Russell, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel and Karen Gillan.
Directed by James Gunn. Now showing in UK Cinemas. Opens in US Cinemas May 5th.