Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
It’s been three years since the Guardians of the Galaxy first graced the big screen, back in 2014. At the time it was touted as potentially being the first big flop of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thankfully that couldn’t be further from the truth. The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie was a real departure for the MCU, it felt like an old-fashioned Star Wars-esque space romp that has quickly become one of my favourite Marvel movies.
The film kicks off on familiar ground, with the Guardians doing a job for The Sovereign, a snobbish alien race covered from head to toe in gold. Goldfinger would be incredibly excited to meet these guys. Of course the job doesn’t go to plan, and the gang end up running from The Sovereign, when they receive help from a mysterious alien called Ego (Kurt Russell), aka The Living Planet, who also claims to be Peter’s (Chris Pratt) father. Sci-fi japes ensue.
I really like the first film, a lot, but I’ve always wondered if part of my affection for the film was based on the fact I expected so little and was so pleasantly surprised. Could it be possible that my low expectations have permanently effected my view of the film? After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 I’m pleased to report that I don’t think that is really the case. Getting to meet up with Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Starlord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was great fun. It’s a cast of characters that are incredibly endearing and genuinely good fun to spend time with and that’s as true in this film as it was in the first.
The films opens with a brilliant action scene, with a slight twist. Instead of focusing on what’s going on with the action, the camera lingers almost exclusively on a dancing Baby Groot. It might sound like a small thing, or quite frustrating, but it’s a really, really great opening. It feels very much like a Guardians of the Galaxy thing to do, taking a normal Marvel movie trope and flipping it on it’s head. The film does continue down the road for most of run time. There are some great action scenes but at the same time there’s a real focus on the dynamics of the Guardians and just what it’s like to be part of their family. I was really impressed that the film manages to do something different, it feels a bit like Captain America: Winter Soldier in that it takes a familiar concept to the first film and does something different. It’s just a shame that the film doesn’t quite have the convictions to see it through and we get a potentially galaxy-shattering event that only the gang can stop. As it stands the film is comfortably in my top 5 MCU films, if they had stuck to their guns for the whole film it would be fighting for the top spot.
It’s a really fun film, with lots of interesting action scenes and a superb sense of humour, even if the majority of the best lines fall again to Drax. All of the characters get their chance to shine, and some genuine character development. Even the characters outside the core group manage to get a chance to shine, particularly Yondu (Michael Rooker). It’s a blockbuster that shouldn’t really work, it’s strange, quirky, anarchic and just plain weird at times but it works brilliantly well and it’s great fun.
If the first film was all about bringing together this cast of misfits and them becoming a family, the sequel is very much focused on what’s it like to be part of a family.