Review of 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'

guardians_of_the_galaxy_2.jpg In this follow-up to the tremendously successful Guardians of the Galaxy sees the Guardians hired by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), leader of the Sovereign race, to protect their power source. After this successful mission the Guardians receive Gamora's (Zoe Saldan) estranged sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) in payment. As they leave the Sovereigns Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) reveals that he has stolen some of the batteries. After learning of the theft the Sovereigns send a fleet of drones that attack and damage the Guardian's ship which crashes on a nearby planet having being saved from complete destruction by a mysterious figure on the top of a passing spaceship. Later they learn that this figure, Ego (Kurt Russel), is a God but is also Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) father. Quill, Gamora (Zoe Saldan) and Drax (Dave Bautista) travel with Ego and his companion back to his planet.

Meanwhile Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his Ravager crew have been exiled for child trafficking. They are approached by the humorously regal (trust me, you have to see the film to know what I mean) Ayesha to recover the batteries from the Guardians. After the Ravagers find the crashed ship and capture Rocket and Baby Groot (voiced again by Vin Diesel) Yondu shows reluctance to go after Quill. Yondu's crew show disgust at their leader's weakness so led by his lieutenant Taserface (Chris Sullivan) they stage a mutiny putting Yondu in the brig with Rocket.

Nebula is left to pursue Gamora as the crew executes those sympathetic to Yondu and on Ego's planet Quill is shown his birthright…

A worthy sequel to the fantastic original movie, Vol. 2 has some amazing set pieces but there is also a lot of personal introspection as the character's backgrounds are fleshed out and relationships are formed. This slows the action down somewhat but for me really brings the characters to life though fans of the basically non-stop action of the first may be disappointed. We learn more about not just Quinn but also Yondu, and Gamora as well. Fans will be relieved to hear that the banter of the first film has been maintained though it doesn't seem to have as many of the absolutely hilarious lines of the first.

The actors are all much more comfortable with their roles than in the first outing and perform them extraordinarily well. I have to say it is nice to see that the villains of the first film are not so bad and are quite likeable. Interesting to see a few big names that make an appearance notably Kurt Russel as Ego but Sylvester Stallone also stars in a minor role as Ravagaer leader Stakar Ogord.

The parallel storyline is well thought out and keeps you guessing up to the end. What I did find striking was the highly personal violence for example, when Yondu's rebellious crew take their revenge by killing many people by throwing them out of the airlock. The violence is not hidden away making it somewhat unsettling but deepening our emotional engagement in the events on the screen.

The action sequences here are enormous and absolutely breathtaking to behold but also the colour and sheer fantasy of what we are seeing is splashed across the screen as well. It certainly looks amazing and really lifts the film from what could be a depressing, violent story.

It is obvious that further movies are coming but thankfully we are not left on a cliffhanger though do make sure to stay for the entire credit sequence as there are several small scenes throughout hinting at what is to come.

A welcome return of the Guardians. Here we learn a lot about our favourite characters with the world coming more and more to life. Can't wait for the next one.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2017-05-05

Directed by: James Gunn

Studio: Marvel Studios

Year: 2017

Length: 136 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by James Gunn: