Directed by James Gunn
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff, & Elizabeth Debicki
Film Review by Chris Olson
Too much of a good thing. A strange sentiment, and something quite often plied to the superhero movie genre, it begs the question of whether saturation (of any kind) can ever be anything other than a bad thing. Even when the quality remains immovably high for its respected field, will audiences simply get full and go home? In the case of James Gunn’s second outing with the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, it’s like going back to that restaurant you once tried (and loved), ordering almost the exact same meal, and leaving with a big smile on your face. To further the metaphor, the only thing wrong with the dining experience is that, no matter what ingredients they used, or party tricks the waiter did, nothing can make up for the element of discovery. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a fantastically cinematic film, with exceptional characters and performances, that is the cracking B-Side to a simply impossible-to-beat first single.
After briefly meeting Ego (Kurt Russell) at the beginning of the movie, we stylishly glide into the opening frames of Vol. 2 with Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) performing some hot moves against the typically Guardians’ soundtrack, whilst the rest of the gang: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) do battle with a giant space, slug, thing. They have been hired by Elizabeth Debecki’s Ayesha of the Sovereign race, to protect some rather important batteries. After a job well done, Rocket decides to steal some of them anyway, giving them a hot pursuit of arcade machine fighter pilots who chase them through space and an anarchically dangerous asteroid belt, leaving them crash landed on a remote planet. Enter again Ego, who claims to be Star-Lord’s father, who offers them refuge and backstory.
There is also a rather entertaining subplot involving Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) quest for redemption, having let the clan of Ravagers he represents down time and again when it comes to punishing Star-Lord and his evasive antics. After being given a dressing down from Sylvester Stallone, a fellow Ravager, he also gives chase to the Guardians hoping to avenge their relentless transgressions against him.
From start to finish it is wonderful to be immersed back into Gunn’s science-fiction world again. The visuals are nothing short of breathtaking, the characters are so vividly sketched that you enjoy spending time with every one of them, and the comedy is an eclectic mix of slapstick, insults, and tomfoolery that you feel childish for sniggering but everyone in the audience is there doing the same with you. Both movies capture something quintessential about cinema which is delivering an experience. They tap into the beautiful escapism of movies, where the shallow facets which seem to have taken priority (garnering awards, sticking their politics into someone’s face, etc) are eschewed for a more wholesome motivation - making a bloody good movie.
Vol. 2 could have benefitted from a quick trim on the back end, there is no need for a runtime of over two hours when your plot can be written on cassette tape case, and the soundtrack was not quite as good as the first mixtape, but these are quibbles that naysayers will need to justify a wholly anti-Guardians stance. The fundamentals of the storytelling are excellent (even with the clunky dialogue that subsists largely on exposition), with emotive arcs, some excellent backstories being delivered; in particular Nebula’s (Karen Gillan - who is formidable on screen), wherein we learn more about the sibling rivalry between her and Gamora, or Yondu’s and his role in the upbringing of Star-Lord.
The performances are excellent, with amazing chemistry between all players, the cinematography is sublime, the music is great fun and the plot...well it’s a superhero plot so there’s lots of smashey smashey...and there is a tiny dancing tree with the cutest voice who has eyes that will make your heart melt. The difficult third album may be a way away, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did what we expected...it brought its flare and sass, took centre stage and did the same routine on a bigger scale.
Watch the official Movie Trailer for GOTG Vol. 2 below...
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