Marvel’s cosmic Avengers are back…
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell
Directed and Written by: James Gunn (based on the Marvel Comics by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning) / 116 minutes
What’s it about?
Falling foul of an alien society they were supposed to be working for, the Guardians of the Galaxy find themselves in deep trouble and thrust into an adventure where Peter Quill finally meets his father…
Marvel’s rag-tag bunch of cosmic heroes return in the fun-filled and heartfelt sequel to 2014’s runaway hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. Picking up a few months after their inaugural adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 finds the group, comprising Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and ‘Baby’ Groot being pursued by a squad of Ravagers, hired by a race called the Sovereign to take out the Guardians when a mission goes awry. It’s during this cross-galaxy chase that Star-Lord comes face to face with his long lost father, ‘Ego’ – played by screen icon Kurt Russell.
If the first Guardians of the Galaxy was more concerned about introducing the various characters and the coming together of a team a la Avengers Assemble, then Vol. 2 goes a little deeper and more personal whilst still delivering the charm, laughs (in this instance a Marvel film where the humour is actually a welcome and natural component) and excitement audiences will expect.
As Peter Quill/Star-lord, Chris Pratt is once again the charismatic and heroic lead whose father issues and yearnings for Zoe Saldana’s Gamora form the backbone of the film’s emotional crux. The casting of Kurt Russell (whose Tango & Cash co-star, Sylvester Stallone also appears) as Quill’s father is a real coup with a reliably great performance from the star of numerous hits from 80s cult classics Escape from New York and The Thing to more recent turns in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and goliath blockbuster The Fate of the Furious. It’s a role made all the more enjoyable by a solid rapport with Pratt and the script’s satisfying character arcs.
Vin Diesel earns another easy payday as the cute youngling version of Groot (see the events of the last film) who together with the gun-toting mania of wisecracking space Raccoon, Rocket (a well-cast Bradley Cooper) and the hilarious and inappropriate perspectives of Dave Bautista’s Drax, especially in his interactions with Ego’s companion, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), facilitate the biggest laughs.
Complicating matters for the Guardians is the return of Michael Rooker’s Yondu who, having fallen out of favour with his fellow Ravagers, soon finds himself having to ally with Rocket and Groot in desperate circumstances. Also back is Karen Gillan as Nebula – the ‘other’ daughter of galactic overlord (and mega villain of the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War) Thanos – whose adversarial relationship with Gamora is explored in greater detail, adding some nice dramatic weight that’s to the benefit of both Gillan and Saldana and their respective characters.
Writer and Director James Gunn infuses Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with the same enthusiasm and quirks for this second helping of fun space adventure that melds soulful and funky 70s tunes and influences of Star Wars and Flash Gordon with a good story brought to life via lavish, colourful visuals, equally colourful characters and rollicking action that still manages to excite despite culminating in the usual disaster-laden cataclysm of CGI doom. The only real shortcomings arise from the early separation of the team that the script calls for and like the first Guardians there’s some sluggish pacing here and there and it perhaps feels a little overindulgent at times – but it’s mostly forgivable when the overall results are as entertaining as this.
The bottom line: A fun, exciting and at times emotional blockbuster ride, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is bound to be another crowd-pleasing hit for Disney and Marvel Studios.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in cinemas across the UK now and opens worldwide from 5th May.