Colourful fun as Guardians of the Galaxy delivers more heart with the laughs and action

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017) – Film Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017) film poster

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017) film poster

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 is the followup to a film which was a surprise smash hit upon release three years ago.

If it weren’t for the fact that it was being released under the Marvel Studio banner, and apparently existing in the same universe as The Avengers, a lot of people may have dismissed what looked like an intensely wacky and colourful kids film.

It was far more than that, though, and the cinema-going audience agreed and went along with it as a sequel was quickly greenlit.

It was all about the formation of a group of unlikely friends in a glorious technicolour science fantasy film with some snappy dialogue.

The sequel, complete with 80s graphic design, sees the action start just months after the first film in 2014. And it starts off at a good pace before becoming a bit more grown-up by the end.

The opening sequence, a face-off between the Guardians and a tentacled space monster, is played out in the background to a cute dance sequence with Baby Groot and set to Mr Blue Sky by ELO.

Needless to say it’s not the only set piece with music from the soundtrack involved.

Obscure pop records from the 1970s and the sense of humour were part of the charm of the first film and both are back in Volume 2 with some of the songs taking a more front seat.

You could say that the point to this is to not look at the spectacle but to enjoy the sheer joy and humour on display and look closer at the fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy – a disparate set of rogues – fight together because they are a family.

And family is the theme that threads itself through this film as Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) discovers his mysterious dad, played by Kurt Russell, who has been looking for him all his life but must avoid conflict with Sovereign leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) who is chasing the team after accusing them of theft.

Drax (Dave Bautista) gets along with newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Rocket the Raccoon and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) compare notes with Ravager pirate captain Yondu (Michael Rooker), while sisters Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) work through some of their differences.

Drax in particular is handed some of the best comic lines and Dave Bautista delivers them with excellent timing even as the action gets ramped up as the film builds towards an inevitable final showdown.

It’s all about family in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

And yes, it sounds very much like one of the big Fast and Furious 8 plotlines – family – has invaded this ensemble piece.

Guardians 2 noticeably sags in the middle as we have to sit through some backstory and exposition after the team are split up and have to work through their own individual challenges to a conclusion before meeting up again for the big finale.

The new groupings show extra character development for the group players at the expense of pacing but this film is clearly about Chris Pratt’s character Peter Quill and his meeting with his real father, Ego, played by Kurt Russell.

As a sequel the film avoids an overly detailed introduction for each character but the film feels looser in the final act.

It’s almost inevitable that the ending feels a bit like a cgi-fest and won’t live too long in the memory but it remains a fun ride even if it doesn’t seem as special as the original film.

Please do stay till the very end of the credits for the usual series of easter egg clips – there’s a total of five to look out for and there’s something for everyone from casual fans to comic book readers.

And keep an eye out for some special cameos – some you’ll recognise, others might be harder to spot.

Existing fans of the original film and 1980s pop culture will get the most out of this sequel and its emotional resolution but newcomers may find themselves slightly dazzled by this sequel.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (12A; moderate fantasy action violence, sex references, bad language; 136 minutes)

Summary: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is a science fiction action feature in which the Guardians of the Galaxy must rescue the universe when the mystery of Quill’s parentage is unravelled.

VERDICT: ****