GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL.2
Directed by: – James Gunn
Produced by: – Kevin Feige
Starring: – Chris Pratt, Zoe Saladana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillian, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Runtime: – 136 minutes (2hrs 16 mins)
Anyone Can Save the Galaxy Once
If someone told you that one of Marvel’s most successful films (5th if you look at the box office numbers) would a feature a band of misfits that includes a cassette listening, gun totting human; A female green alien who was trained by a Titanian mutant-eternal superhuman; A genetically enhanced Raccoon with a sharp mouth and a penchant for murder and theft who owns a talking tree that can only say its name and a physically dominant knife wielding psychotic alien who’s words are just as blunt as his actions no one would have believed it. Marvel once again showed the world that no matter how ridiculous the premise is if it contains their winning formula it will be a success and that is the story of the original Guardians of the Galaxy. The sleeper hit of 2014 featured interesting characters, colourful world far beyond the ones we had seen in Marvel studios earlier efforts at the time and an eclectic soundtrack which transformed a team comic fans back then considered the B team to a pop culture phenomenon .
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 picks up shortly after the events of the first movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy – Peter Jason Quill aka. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and now-Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – are officially heroes for hire and have made a name for themselves as the biggest a-holes in the galaxy. They get hired by a genetically-engineered race of super-beings known as the Sovereigns, led by one Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), to protect their highly-valuable batteries by taking out a massive creature in exchange for a recently-captured Nebula (Karen Gillan) who many will recognise as Gamora’s evil sister. The deal goes sour due to a certain member’s action and the Guardians are now on the run from the Sovereigns.
The Guardians during the chase get help from a mysterious entity that calls himself Ego (Kurt Russell) who also claims to be Peter’s long-lost father. Peter, Gamora and Drax in turn agree to accompany Ego and his associate, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an empath to Ego’s planet, while Rocket and Baby Groot remain behind to repair their heavily damaged ship. More trouble looms their way when the Sovereigns decide to hire Peter’s old mentor Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and his gang of Ravagers to take down the Guardians.
James Gunn who directed the last film returns to helm the sequel . With the fantastic cast of the original returning to have more fun with some great new additions that includes Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff and Sylvester Stallone , is this sequel still as fresh as the original and can it buck the trend that Marvel Cinematic Universe movie sequels ( with the exception of the Captain America films) fail to live up to their originals ?
- The real strength of the movie comes in the character development and interactions, as the movie is smaller in scale in the context of world building and would rather put its eggs in character progression. Save for Drax who’s traumatic history was already revealed in the last movie, Guardians Vol.2 reveals more of the characters past which makes it easy for James Gunn to open the door and flesh out the characters which in turn transforms very likeable people who could have called it a day with comedic quips to one we deeply care about by the film’s conclusion. This point especially is best exemplified by Michael Rooker’s performance as Yondu who puts a better showing than he did in the first movie thanks to the characters writing which finally makes us understand his reasons for his actions and gives us a reason to attach ourselves to him.
- Rocket who is expertly voiced by Bradley Cooper also has his own arc in the fact he has to explain why he likes to steal and be a dick to everyone and what is he trying to prove as he no longer has Groot to confide in as a friend due to the fact he has reverted into a baby and has the mind of a child which makes for some incredibly funny and adorable scenes. The movie doesn’t rely on their previous chemistry and in the grand scheme of things helps flesh out Rocket Raccoon’s character.
- Nebula and Gamora’s very strange relationship as sisters who were raised by the MCU’s ultimate baddie Thanos is explored here. We only had to take their word for it in the previous movie but the movie shows why and how his strict parenting has affected the psyche of Nebula (which is tragic) while Gamora is more level headed. Though Karen Gillian is still over exaggerating her acting she still manages to add a human element to her, which gives the audience something to attach to.
- Drax is still as blunt as ever and is now promoted to main comedic vehicle as he has all the best lines and he is easily one of the best parts of the movie as Dave Bautista played the role with conviction. A personal highlight for me is his interactions with the new addition Mantis who is played by Pom Klementieff, a charming but socially awkward alien who can feel people’s emotions.
- Center to the movie is Chris Pratt’s Star Lord who is still funny but is ultimately the glue that holds the rag-tag group together finds out about his lineage through his interactions with his Father Ego the living planet by Kurt Russell who at times comes off as a character who drops expositional dumps but is ultimately charming thanks to Russell performance.
- The action sequences are exciting , funny are visually appealing as ever. From the opening sequences to the final action set-piece these scenes are a treat for eyes especially in IMAX which is the recommended way to watch the film. The movie will also make you laugh thanks to the film’s insistence to fire jokes at the audience at the speed of a Gatling gun and for the most part they will make you laugh.
- One of favourite elements of the original guardians of the Galaxy was its crazy soundtrack the featured songs like Marvin Gaye’s “ Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and Blue Swedes “ Hooked on a Feeling” . Even though I still prefer the jukebox from the first film the sequel does not disappoint as it features songs like The Electric Light Ochestra’s “ Mr. Blue Sky” which made the opening sequence simultaneously epic and cute as Baby Groot starts dancing his way around the team that is fighting whilst the song is on. We also have great songs like Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” and Sam Cooke’s “ Bring it Home to Me” and it waarants a purchase of the film’s official soundtrack.
- While the original movie’s plot was tied to together by a tightly constructed three-act structure, the sequel is plagued in this regard as the story is not as cohesive which is reminiscent of a problem that The Avengers: Age of Ultron had. The plot is wafer-thin and is glued together by a string of subplots for our heroes and villains to get character development that awkwardly adds up to a passable story, which is a little disappointing. While this is a major flaw in my humble opinion it doesn’t feel as bad because Gunn’s gamble on character development worked very well despite the lack of focus on the plot.
- In classic Marvel fashion the villains of the film are not entirely memorable and really do not add much to the movie. Ayesha and the Sovereign don’t end up being very intimidating villains but antagonists who are set up as fodder for the films jokes, which is a shame. Though they have a role for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe the part they play in this movie isn’t really important and other than the opening sequence and the final one their appearance slow the movie down.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 does not reach the heights of its predecessor due to the weak story and villains who add nothing, but it still manages to be a bloody good time thanks to fact that it doubles-down on the many elements of that made the original a classic like its amazing characters, visuals , gags , exciting action set-pieces and a groovy soundtrack .
RATING:- WORTH A WATCH