The Guardians are back and this time it’s (even more) emotional. [Spoiler Free]
After a short trip backward in time featuring a digitally de-aged Kurt Russell, we jump forward 34 years later and join the crew as they prepare to battle a monster and of course get paid in the process. Groot is a baby and the rest of the crew are still doing what they do best – fighting things and arguing. After a terse meeting with their gold coloured employers they find themselves on their wrong side but are saved by a mysterious man whom they eventually meet and it turns out that this man is called Ego and he claims to be Peter Quill’s long lost father. From here the film takes a number of twists, splitting the crew up between Rocket, Groot and Yondu in one group with Quill, Gamora, Drax, Ego and Nebula in the other, so we get to see concurrent stories that of course run into each other.
First off, the acting in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 is actually outstanding. Pratt, Saldana, Bautista and Rooker all shine in their respective roles. Kurt Russell adds his charm to Ego and it all works together very well. Even the CGI Rocket gets a great voice actor service from Cooper. The comedic timing is still there but it is the emotional scenes where everyone gets to show their skill and it raises the film.
Once again Gunn has written a film that is driven by an emotional core, the interactions between the characters flow however I felt the comedy in parts was a bit forced. Rocket gets a great (if not by the numbers) arc for GUARDIANS: VOL 2 but the true surprise is Yondu and his story for the second film, some excellent writing and some excellent acting possibly the best of Rooker’s varied and long career. Gunn directs GUARDIANS with skill and love for the characters once again, whenever you put Marvel films in space it is Gunn’s world and it looks great. The action sequences despite being heavy CG (but I mean what are you going to do? – You’re in space and it’s a comic book film) are fantastic, there is even a Man of Steel style fight toward the end the film that is done very well. Disposable armies are taken to trolling levels in GUARDIANS: VOL 2 but it’s a fun nod at cannon fodder and thankfully the big bad isn’t a CG army led by an all-powerful enemy and it is a nice change.
Full of great music and a real focus on what it means to have family or indeed be a family, GUARDIANS 2 is a very worthy sequel that tries to tell a different story by touching on the familiar whilst introducing something new. Bring on GUARDIANS Vol 3.