Movie Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'
Opened: 28 April 2017 (UK)
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Director: James Gunn
Producer: Kevin Feige
I am Groot. [End of review].
Just kidding. Nearly three years after its predecessor, and one which essentially proved to be a star-making turn for its principal cast member Chris Pratt, the intergalactic cowboys return in what is a wholly satisfying, even if not entirely fresh sequel, which despite having one too many subplots, delivers the gags fast and thick, and with spectacular visual effects to boot, it most definitely is the blockbuster we’d hoped for.
Admittedly, director James Gunn, who’s in his element this time round too, bites off more than he can chew, by intertwining a somewhat implausible back story featuring Quill’s celestial father amidst the bombastic chase sequences, (Kurt Russell, playing entirely to the gallery, and a masterstroke in casting), who’s hell-bent on consuming the cosmos, but there’s a catch. He needs Quill to execute his hell-ish plan, and unsurprisingly, neither the foul-mouthed outlaw, nor his band of motley cohorts are entirely keen on the idea.
Despite the occasionally overstuffed, muddled plot, there’s enough bang for your buck and back to back one liners here, so you don’t really mind, but glitches aside what works in Volume 2 is effectively what worked the first time round too. Gunn seems to be a huge fan of the 80’s and so the film’s soundtrack is spot on, but technicalities aside, it’s the cast that truly deliver, bouncing off one another like one big dysfunctional family.
Sure the newer members often don’t quite fit in – Pom Klementieff as Mantis and Gillan as Nebula, while integral to the plot, often feel like belong in an entirely different film, but Pratt, Saldana, Dave Bautista as Drax, and scene-stealing turns by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voicing computer-generated characters Rocket and Baby Groot respectively, are almost completely on point with their exterior swag and abrasiveness, which cover up their deeper rooted inner flaws and demons.
As such, this is where Guardians Vol.2 really soars. It makes us empathise with characters that are essentially ludicrous, and adds just the right amount of warmth, in between the quick one liners (the 80’s references and nods to David Hasselhoff and Pacman among others, are laugh out loud funny) and explosive action, and feels like it’s Marvel’s biggest and most ambitious film yet in terms of budget and scale. It did feel bloated in parts, but in terms of setting us up for Infinity War, Volume 2 is another welcome addition to an already impressive, albeit overstuffed repertoire of films that the studio have produced, and Homecoming and Ragnarok notwithstanding, this is (probably) the film you'll have the most fun watching than anything else that releases this year.