Those lovable a-holes from outer-space are back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the sequel to the 2014 blockbuster and the third film in “Phase Three” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (if anyone still tries to keep track of all that); even though #GotGVol2 still has no real connective thread to the other Marvel movies – yet.
It’s not as fresh and original as the first film, obviously, and it tends to run the good things we loved from the first movie into the ground, like a damaged spacecraft crash-landing into a thick forest – so to speak – but, there is no denying that the new GotG is still more fun than a barrel full of space-lizards! (What are those things anyway…?)
As you might expect, GotGVol2 is (yet another) one of those films you can’t really talk about (or write about) without revealing a lot of fun surprises (and there are A LOT of them); nevertheless, here are my mostly spoiler-free thoughts on the film.
Written and directed, again, by James Gunn, the GotG team is all back: Earth man gone galactic, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt); the great-looking, green warrior, Gamora (Zoe Saldana); dimwitted alien strongman, Drax (Dave Bautista); the ill-tempered raccoon and weapons expert, Rocket (Bradley Cooper); and the adorable Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), who steals every scene he’s in.
We join the Guardians as they take on a dimension-hopping monster called the Abilisk, in what has to be one of the greatest opening credit sequences in the history of cinema – and one that is certain to leave you happily giddy for the remainder of the film.
After saving an alien race called the Sovereign from the Abilisk, the Guardians inadvertently insult those same aliens, as they are apt to do, and have to escape their hordes of remote controlled space-fighters.
The rag-tag team is saved themselves by a stranger who turns out to have mysterious ties to Star-Lord’s past. Epic space adventure ensues, all set to an incredible (or awesome) seventies soundtrack; with enough Easter eggs and nerdy, inside gags to bring you back to the theater a dozen times over.
That said, it’s not necessary to have an encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel’s 75+ years of comic book history in order to enjoy this film; but IF you do have that kind of insight, then your added enjoyment is sure to be commensurate.
Also returning for this trip is Michael Rooker as the blue-skinned, arrow-wielding Yondu (in a greatly expanded role); Karen Gillan as Thano’s troubled daughter, Nebula (also with more screen time). New characters include Pom Klementieff as the pretty empath alien, Mantis; Kurt Russell as…well… I’d better not say; and Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord (who, I assume, is going to play a bigger part in GotGVol3.) Don’t expect too much from Stallone this go around.
Be sure to stick around after ALL the credits and the lights have turned on, as there is a handful of additional scenes to see – probably a record. Does Stan Lee make a cameo…? Well, you’ll just have to watch and see. (That may or may not be the only celebrity cameo you’ll see either.)
With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Marvel Studios easily remains the king of comic book films. Despite a few minor complaints in terms of too much of a good thing, this is an extremely fun and entertaining film. Grade: 9/10
Photos © 2017 Marvel/Disney