Can Marvel make it two-times frickin’ awesome, or is Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 just a difficult second mixtape?
The first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movie proved to be an unprecedented success for Marvel. The studio worked their magic and brought a little known comic book title (albeit, completely reworked) to the big screen. Chris Pratt took the lead as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord and co-starred alongside a Raccoon and a tree.
The underdog tone, vast scale, plethora of fan-pleasing easter eggs and slapstick comedy encouraged some to hail ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ the ‘Star Wars for a new generation‘. High praise indeed, but hasty. By 2014 when ‘Guardians’ hit the big screen for the first time, Disney already owned Lucasfilm and Marvel. The Star Wars for a new generation turned out to be… Star Wars.
Marvel’s cosmic ‘A-Holes’ are something very different.
With the core cast reprising their roles and some solid additions joining the adventure, Guardians Vol.2 jumps straight into the thick of the action accompanied by the requisite wise-cracking and inappropriate comic relief. The repetition of themes and character traits from the first instalment are amped up in this sequel, and whilst more of the same doesn’t necessarily equate to a better film, ‘Guardians Vol.2’ certainly is an action-packed, laugh-out-loud two and a quarter hour romp.
Centered around a moral theme of family and redemption the focus falls on Peter Quill’s union with his long-absent father, Ego (Kurt Russell). Meanwhile the theme is continued in Gamora’s reconciliations with her sister Nebula (Played by Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan respectively) and echoed in Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) progressions too.
Superfluous to any significant plot points, the surprise standout performance comes from Dave Bautista as the witless warrior Drax the Destroyer. The emotionally stunted character is gifted dialogue which plays on his disposition and results in brutally honest, tension breaking statements and reactions. Baby Groot was always a shoe-in to add the cute factor.
Sylvester Stallone takes on a bit-part that should lead to a more substantial involvement in future outings whilst Pom Klementieff joins the team as the diminutive, yet engaging Mantis.
Whilst the film has an emotional core it is primarily an action-packed romp that maintains pace enough to make its two and a quarter hour runtime pass without ever dragging. Guardians of the Galaxy is a visually stunning film filled with rich colours, diversity and incredible detail. I’ll even concede that the 3D showing I took in added to the enjoyment of the aesthetic – my feelings on 3D are no secret, generally I can’t stand it.
Comics fans will have a field day spotting Easter Eggs including another cameo from Howard the Duck and Cosmo, the telepathic dog. There are five cutscenes during the end credits, the most significant of which teases the introduction of another prominent Marvel character, Adam Warlock. The final end credits scene in addition to his essential cameo has promoted much speculation as to Stan Lee’s involvement as an integral character in the MCU as well as introducing The Watchers as peripheral characters likely to become more prominent in subsequent films.
The first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ film established itself as my favourite Marvel movie to date. Whilst Vol.2 offers more of the same, just a little bigger, I can’t fault it. I loved the action, the tone, the comedy and it looks wonderful.
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2’ is in UK cinemas now and reaches US screens on May 5th.