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Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Review


Guardians of the Galaxy wasn’t supposed to work. Focusing a very little known group of comic book characters (which included a talking raccoon and sentient tree), and bringing with it a look, style and tone so far unseen in the MCU, it was considered Marvel Studios biggest gamble. But as we all know, that gamble paid off with charm and energy to spare. The biggest strength of the movie was how it surprised us. We had no idea what to really expect, and James Gunn’s stylish, energetic space adventure bowled us over with it’s startling, retro tinged originality. We all knew a sequel was coming, and now Vol. 2 is finally here. But how does our second adventure with Marvel’s favourite bunch of a-holes fare?

Picking up just a few months after the events of Vol. 1, the now famous Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), and the adorable, baby sized Groot (Vin Diesel) are offering their services to those who need them from all over the galaxy. When their latest job goes sour after Rocket steals a handful of uber-valuable batteries, sending the wrath of an entire galactic empire after them, they are saved by Peter's long lost father, the all-powerful Ego (Kurt Russell), who finally re-unites with his son after too many long years of searching and enlightens him on his ultimate place in the universe.

Once the opening strains of ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky start playing over the opening credits, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicks into high gear from the get go, and barring one or two expository pit stops, Gunn never really lets his foot off the pedal. The whole movie sparks with an energy all it’s own, and fans of the original will be glad to know that it’s sense of fun hasn’t being lost in the intervening three years. Being a sequel, everything’s that bit bigger, and the whole dazzling, action packed spectacle will not fail to put a massive smile on your face. With the heavy lifting of introducing these characters done away with in the first movie, Gunn has the opportunity to really open this seldom seen corner of the MCU, and he grabs onto this opportunity with both hands. The numerous set pieces, from Rocket taking down a group of space pirates single-handedly (or is that single-pawedly?) to the epic finale, complete with an amazing reference to a beloved 80’s video game, are an absolute joy to watch. The soundtrack is as kick-ass as before (prepare to have a new found appreciation for Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain), and really adds to the movie’s already boundless energy.

But in amongst all the spectacle, you get the distinct feeling that the movie doesn’t quite have the same amount of heart as the original. But really, it couldn’t really replicate that the second time round, because much of that came from how much that first movie surprised you. But that’s not to mean Vol. 2 is completely devoid of heart and charm. The irreverent humour is still intact, with this really feeling like the first movie in the MCU that is an out and out comedy. Almost every second a handful of gas are thrown at the wall, and 90% of them hit, with only one or two falling to the ground with an unfunny thud. The theme of familial bonds runs rife though the story. Not only do we have Peter getting to know Ego, but we also get a glimpse of Gamora and Nebula's (Karen Gillan) combative sisterly bond, and the Guardians themselves have to deal through the fact that they are more of a family than a rag tag bunch of a-holes. The story fizzes and pops as it speeds through its 136 minute run time, and all the disparate plot threads come together in an incredibly satisfying way, bringing with it an emotional gut punch that will take a hell of a long time to leave your mind.

The cast is again on top form, with Pratt bringing the usual amount of infectious charm as the de-facto lead. This sequel really lets the characters grow, adding more depth to the already fleshed out roles, with Drax (thanks to his relationship with Pom Klementieff’s Mantis) and Raccoon getting the most out of this growth, making you love them even more, even if Drax’s role as comedy relief is stretched to almost breaking point at times. Michael Rooker’s Yondu gets more to do this time round, with Rooker absolutely owning the role with a rough, quiet charm. Karen Gillan is also given more room to grow as Nebula, evolving the character from the screeching, almost Rita Repulsa-esque henchman she was in the first movie. What started as a one note bad guy becomes something so much more, as layer upon layer of depth is heaped on top of her, and Gillan just runs with it to amazing effect. Kurt Russell is his usual charming self as Ego, and he and Pratt really spark off each other wonderfully in their scenes together. But it’s Baby Groot, of course, steals the show, with this little bundle of CGI capturing your heart and attention whenever he’s on screen.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 falls just short of the original, mainly down to lacking that sense of the unknown the first movie had, but it’s still an energetic, stylish thrill ride from start to finish.


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The Movie Bit: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 Review
The Movie Bit
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