Hey, remember the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, it was weird, right? This unknown entity burst onto the scene and continued to decimate the other films at the box office. I remember because it was about then that I was beginning to get weary of the samey Marvel movies. Guardians of the Galaxy took me by surprise and to worlds I couldn’t even imagine, with characters so likeable that I am surprised I still don’t have memorabilia of them yet. Well, Guardians of the Galaxy is back for its second volume. All I can ask is can it live up to the out-there original, full of 80’s nostalgia, banging tunes and all the colours of the interdimensional rainbow?
Now famous heroes, the Guardians are tasked with protecting a priceless artefact for a race of golden aliens, The Sovereign. Rocket Racoon, of course, steals that artefact. As the Guardians, consisting of Rocket, a cybernetically enhanced racoon, a small tree monster called Groot, Drax, a hulk of red and grey muscle, Gamora, a green assassin, and the defacto leader, the human Peter “Starlord” Quill, are being chased across the galaxy by the slighted alien race, they meet Starlord’s mysterious father, who isn’t exactly as he appears to be.
I think that any sequel to a film as successful, surprising and sidesplittingly hilarious as Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be at a distinct disadvantage. However Volume 2 has taken on this challenge just like any other sequel should have, by making everything bigger. The stakes are higher, the characters are deeper, the action is louder, the jokes are funnier, and the world (or should I say universe) that this movie takes place in feels larger and all the weirder.
The jokes come thick and fast; I burst out laughing I think once every minute or so. The action is also phenomenal, colourful and inventive. The opening sequence is an excellent example of how the rest of the film plays out; bizarre action and great slapstick and sight gags. It does suffer from Marvel’s over-reliance on cartoony CGI energy beams but because you care about the great characters, this negates some of the fatigue that sets in.
These characters are the lifeblood of the series, and I love spending time with them. Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer is always hilarious, he as well as Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Racoon, mini Groot (still voiced by Vin Deisel) plus new team member Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, are comedy gold. However, it is not all smiles and belly laughs, this film is clearly (very, very clearly) about family, and the few dramatic moments from Rocket, Groot, Yondu, Drax and Starlord feel all the more poignant because we have spent the last hour or so laughing with and at them.
After seeing the sequel, I feel like the first Guardians movie might have been playing it safe. It was a new unheard of untested property, now it is Marvel’s most popular film series, so they made it more of what it was. What is even stranger is that the film’s success is now influencing the visual style of one of the MCU’s flagship series Thor. If you have seen the trailer to the upcoming movie Ragnarok tell me doesn’t it remind you of another bunch of space fairing misfits?
Long story short I loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and I cannot wait for another helping of James Gunn’s uniquely unhinged universe.
You can watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in cinemas now