Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 3D
You only get one chance to save the galaxy twice.
The follow-up to 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and the 15th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sees Chris Pratt return to his role as Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. Set to the backdrop of 'Awesome Mixtape #2', Guardians Vol. 2 will see the team fighting to keep their newfound family together while trying to unravel the mysteries of Peter's true parentage. Cast newcomer Kurt Russell will be playing Ego, a living planet which is, somehow, the father of Star Lord.
- James Gunn (based on the Marvel comics)
Action, Science Fiction, 3D, Blockbuster
Rating: M Violence
Who knew a walking weed could be so loveable? Or that the chubby dude from Parks & Rec could ab-crunch his way to leading man status? And who discovered the comedic genius that is Dave Bautista? 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy crammed in these surprises like spring-loaded snakes in a can, bursting out with plenty of awesomeness to distract us from its weak bad guy and limp climax. Vol. 2 can’t reload that can and expect the same giggly claps of amusement. Fortunately, writer-director James Gunn does almost everything else bigger and better.
Even the opening scene improves on the original’s, showing off a deliriously fun one-shot fight/dance battle set to the tune of ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky. It looks amazing, as does every other frame of the film. Not only does Gunn make the galaxy look like a rainbow exploding in slow motion, his still framing of particular action sequences soak in like a comic panel in motion. I also appreciate seeing a villain who is much more than Loud Angry Blue Guy.
The story has a lot going on. The Guardians are on the run from a hilariously self-absorbed race of golden beings; Peter runs into his real father (Kurt Russell) who happens to be a living planet; Gamora’s sister Nebula is planning some sisterly revenge; and Drax becomes best buds with a whimsical sort-of-telepathic creature named Mantis. It occasionally feels like the film pulls the handbrake to let some of these subplots move past, except for Yondu’s – he goes through some major tragedy early on that provokes one hell of a character turn.
There’s only one major setback Vol. 2 doesn’t quite overcome – the camaraderie. Just like Vol. 1, we see very little team bonding and too much team bickering. The five major characters still feel more like a group of agitated co-workers than actual friends, so when the film preaches the line “We’re Family™,” it feels less like a genuine remark and more like plagiarism from the Fast & Furious series. If Gunn can install a better sense of respect within the core Guardians, Vol. 3 could be Disney-Marvel’s Bohemian Rapsody.
Sydney Morning Herald
The Guardian (UK)
Total Film (UK)
Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)
Newsroom.co.nz (Darren Bevan)
A bright and brilliant ball of light and sound that makes for ideal 3D family film fun.
If you judge the best Marvel movie by the number of times re-watched, then James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy is my top MCU movie by far. A gloriously energetic fantasy romp, akin to Star Wars with more laughs and a brighter colour palette.
In this second stab the gang's all here, with every aspect of production turned way, way up to eleven. And, whilst the story may flag here and there, with a severe case of third act fatigue, the fun never stops and the entertainment keeps on coming.
Sure the "family" moral gets hammered home, but hey, it's a family film, and Gunn keeps it motoring along like a light-speed Fast & Furious franchise entry. For me the 3D design aesthetic, the brilliant colour scheme and wonderful sci-fi design are the ultimate cinematic delights. The cast are great, the script fizzes and bubbles, the direction is solid and just anarchic enough to keep you marvelling that this is indeed a Marvel movie, and the new characters are fun, cameo appearances and all - but as you already guessed from the trailers - Baby Groot steals the show, despite Rocket Racoon's constant attempts to grab it back!
All up? It's a bright and brilliant ball of light and sound that makes for ideal family film fun.