Marvel’s swashbuckling gang of heroes are back for their latest space-adventure, but does Volume 2 build upon its blockbuster predecessor or suffer from a bad case of sequel-itis? Steve Molkentin reviews.
In Volume 2 our rag-tag group return to save the universe again. Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are doing their best to eke out an existence as guns for hire in a hostile corner of the universe.
When Rocket upsets their latest client it leads to a stunning chase scene punctuated with jokes and ultimately lands them in front of Ego—Peter’s Dad (Kurt Russell).
Along the way they’ve collected Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), hell-bent on the destruction of her father Thanos (Josh Brolin), and Yondu (Michael Rooker), the Ravager Captain who collected Peter from Earth as a child and raised him but now has been cast out because he committed the unforgivable by breaking their code.
Ego introduces us to his assistant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) who has the unique ability of experiencing others feelings by touching them, in one instance leading to an exposing of Peter’s feelings for Gamora and leaving Drax in fits of laughter.
This film continues to build a unique home within the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise that, while niche, has with this sequel delivered some of the most human character development to date; the characters all speak to our core need of just being accepted for who we are. Not bad for a collection of aliens, a talking tree and a “trash panda”.
While the film is named after the Guardians the central plot focuses on the redemption of Yondu, with a pretty neat kicker about family, forgiveness and child slavery. Throw in some feelings about grief and loss and this super hero film will catch you off guard in the best moments.
The film is visually mesmerising too, with chases, monsters, planets and conflict galore. Writer/director James Gunn has imprinted his unique style on the Guardians and in doing so has made them memorable, accessible, but he’s also squeezed in so much heart that connects them (and the audience) that you are bound to be affected by their emotions and tough decision making.
Oh, and hang in right to the very end of the credits for some surprises!
Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
In cinemas now