Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 Review

The Plot

The Guardians of The Galaxy find their newfound dysfunctional family challenged by old adversaries and strange new interstellar dangers. The fate of the Universe once again rests in the oddly assembled hands of Marvel’s instantly beloved band of wisecracking space mercenaries.

The Good

With Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel was supposed to be taking a risk on one of their least well known and strangest comic book commodities. Cynical sceptics feared talking trees and gun touting racoons would easily slip into the shadow of household names like Iron Man or Thor.  Instead director James Gunn and his expertly assembled cast surpassed the wildest expectations of fans and critics alike to deliver a wildly popular box office smash that reaffirmed everything special and fun about Marvel. Establishing the wildly imaginative cosmic scope of Marvel’s shared cinematic universe the first Guardians film turned its eclectic characters into instant fan favourites. Armed with a soundtrack of iconic classic rock and a steady stream of genuinely hilarious quips the film struck a remarkably well balanced tone between epic space adventure and a surprisingly sincere emotional core.

So when an inevitable sequel was announced it’s hard to understate just how high levels of expectation were. Could Vol.2 possibly replicate the unprecedented success and unique charms of the first film? The answer is a big frickin Yes… obviously.

From a euphorically fun opening title sequence set to ELO’s catchy classic Mr Blue Skies, Vol.2 plays out like an accomplished and almost note perfect second album. Returning director James Gunn consistently delivers everything fans want, combining much of what worked so effectively with the first film with interesting character development and imaginative new worlds. It undoubtedly helps that unlike recent Avengers adventures this self-contained film is able to focus exclusively on the Guardians without the distraction of servicing the needs of increasingly complex interwoven Marvel storylines.

Vol.2 reunites the combined talents of a truly special ensemble cast. Chris Pratt is yet again on delightful charismatic form as self-proclaimed legendary outlaw Star-Lord, romantically bickering with Zoe Saldana’s Gamora. Bradley Cooper gives smirking ill-tempered Rocket Racoon subtle depth and Dave Bautista is on utterly brilliant scene stealing as hilariously literal Drax. However in truth all their obvious combined charms are eclipsed easily by Guardians smallest secret weapon… Baby Groot.

Responding to the intense fan reactions to the brief appearance of the infant form of Groot during the closing credit of the first film, Vol.2 turns the Vin Diesel voiced character into ten inches of adorable awesomeness. It’s impossible to quantify just how amazingly cute Baby Groot is, but what’s even more special is the way the diminutive character lends the film both hilarious comedy and heart-breaking poignancy. Evil cynics may be quick to try and dismiss Baby Groot as shameless fan service but in truth it provides an even more powerful and sincere family dynamic for the Guardians.

Director Gunn has been quick to point out that the second Guardians adventure is very much an ensemble piece focusing on the variously dysfunctional emotional dynamics between friends, sisters, fathers and sons. Baby Groot is an invaluable component in that family tapestry, frequently lending the film heart and literally wide eyed wonder.

It’s a true testament to the strength of the cast and script that amongst epic space battles and the fate of the universe each of the Guardians explores their own individual emotional journeys.

Kurt Russell’s mysterious newcomer Ego and Michael Rooker’s morally ambiguous space pirate Yondu both provide a surprisingly complex paternal dynamic for Peter Quill. With Vol.2 promising to resolve the lingering mystery surrounding Star-Lords true parentage and continue the emotional catharsis surrounding his mother’s death. Likewise reformed assassin Gamora and her homicidal adoptive sister Nebula violently confront their own painful shared past. Meanwhile Drax enjoys a sweet new friendship with endearingly naïve new hero Mantis. Finally an ill-tempered Rocket is forced to confront his self-destructive tendencies and seek redemption after his rash actions catalyse a somewhat disastrous turn of fortunes for the Guardians setting them all on a dangerous path.

Though Vol.2 offers a predictably satisfying array of one liners, star cameos, well-chosen songs and imaginative action what makes it such a deserving successor to the first film is that it manages to recapture the heart of the original with nuance and subtle sincerity. Of course the film isn’t always totally perfect but it’s far closer to perfection than is usually considered possible with such large scale superhero blockbusters, especially at the second time of asking.

The Bad

You’ll have to buy another ticket if you want to see it again.

The Ugly Truth

Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2 recaptures everything that is best about Marvel’s cinematic universe providing fans with a deeply satisfying and wildly fun sequel that matches sky high expectation.

Review by Russell Nelson

Leave A Comment