From the opening moments of this film I knew I was going to be in for a treat. Glorious colours, madcap execution, fantastic characters with wonderful interaction and dialogue. And also, by the end, something that I hadn’t thought would happen, emotions (although, actually thinking back to the first film, it started with some pretty heavy stuff to be fair! Guess I’d just forgotten about that due to all the amazingness that happened afterwards).
Baby Groot’s opening, completely unaware dance number is a marvel (pardon the pun) to watch. It sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the film mixing fun, music, action and comedy together and rolling it all up into a perfect package. Bam! We’re right back with the Guardians in their world, picking up where we left off, saving the frickin’ Galaxy, or some part thereof……
Alongside the reintroduction to my favourite anti-heroes we are introduced to the Sovereign race, a planet of genetically engineered-to-be-perfect beings who have employed the Guardians to see off an inter-dimensional beast, greedy for their valuable batteries, in exchange for releasing Gamora’s sister Nebula into the Guardian’s custody. Much like the first film there is a great deal of these “heroes” sticking two fingers up at everyone, even the people that they are supposed to be helping, just to keep things interesting, but mainly because they are a bit like that! But the main part of this storyline is that we get to meet Ego, a mysterious figure who reveals himself as Peter’s father, the missing piece of Quill’s life puzzle. Also back in the mix are the Ravagers, that wonderfully diverse bunch of thieves and violent offenders. But not just Yondu’s crew and ship, we get a much expanded look at them and see that they are actually an organisation not just a one-off group of nasty bastards.
From his introduction Baby Groot is full of charm and innocence, provides a great deal of humour in his slightly out of control actions, doesn’t understand much about what he should be doing but gets to go along for the ride anyway. A star is born! Peter is the same as always, the driving force behind this team but still not always the best person to be in charge! Gamora does what she does, kicks ass, fights with her sister and generally provides a much needed sensible perspective on things. The ones who really come to the fore are Drax and Rocket. With both we get to see a lot more about their psyche and their personality than in the original film. Rocket shows his sensitive side (for a short while at least) and Drax is hilarious throughout. Credit to Dave Bautista for completely owning this role, great comic timing throughout the whole film. And then there is Yondu. Ah, Yondu, played by the incomparable Michael Rooker, back once again and bringing his larger than life blue self onto the screen and almost steals the whole show.
A special mention for Kurt Russell, still kicking it and providing some awesome moments (still got great facial hair, a must for his roles these days it seems!), his Ego is played really well and is deserving of his position in this film. Alongside Russell’s Ego is Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, who sparks a great comedic relationship with Drax when they meet.
The storyline for Vol 2 is probably not as defined as the first. The villain of the piece is a worthy adversary but his methods aren’t portrayed in a way that makes you feel that he is a threat to the galaxy, no matter what is said on screen, and this fell a bit short for me unfortunately.
The dialogue in this film is just as good as the first, retorts, quips, slanging matches, one-upmanship and disparaging remarks aplenty. They are all here and then some! Visually it is astounding, as much as the rich galaxy imagined in the first film, possibly even more so in the exploration of The Sovereign and Ego’s planet. But this isn’t a case of style without substance, there is a lot of effort gone into these characters and that shows.
And of course songs, who could forget those. The music really defined the first film as something totally different in the superhero movies genre and this follow up is no exception. Plenty of tracks from the past get their time in the sun and all are tied in with the screen action, something that the first film did exceptionally well. Special mention must go to Fleetwood Mac and The Chain – just superb to hear blasting out of the speakers accompanying the amazing action on screen.
All in all, a superb follow up to the original. Great to slip on the same old shoes and see more of these guys once again. Their inability to get on at times belies their closeness, but it just works. They are close-knit, and devoted to each other, which also means that they can be nasty amongst themselves and get away with it. Bunch of a-holes.
As always with a sequel it can feel a bit of more of the same, which this does in some ways, but when the same is as crazy-awesome as this it is still well worth watching. Guardians of the Galaxy is probably one of my most enjoyable films of all time. The fact that Vol 2 comes close to it just goes to show how well they have done in this sequel. Loved it.