Directed by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Kurt Ruessell and Pom Klementieff
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an entertaining sequel to the original, but lacks subtlety making it predictable.
The film begins with the Guardians fighting off an enormous monster after being hired by the Sovereign race to protect a set of valuable, powerful batteries. Peter Quill, aka. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) are showcased in a fantastic opening scene that follows their attempt to both fight off a horrible creature and protect Groot (Vin Diesel), who is a baby after the events of the first film. The scene follows Groot during the opening credits as he runs around the battlefield from one guardian to another dancing to the track Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra. The opening credits, which was one of my favourite scenes, sums up what is to be expected from the rest of the film; high quality action sequences, a great soundtrack and hilarious slapstick humour.
Once the Guardians leave the Sovereigns’ planet it is revealed that Rocket has stolen the batteries. The Sovereigns chase the Guardians and eventually they crash on a nearby planet where they meet Star-Lord’s father Ego (Kurt Russell). The remainder of the film explores Star-Lord attempting to reconnect with his father, but there is an underlying feeling, particularly expressed by Gamora, that Ego is not revealing his true intentions. Meanwhile, the Sovereigns are attempting to track down the Guardians and seek revenge.
Like most Marvel films, the action scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are impressive. Whilst this was illustrated on a number of occasions, a scene that stood out was one involving Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his deadly arrow. Yondu is being held captive by his own crew and manages to escape with the help of Rocket and Groot. Once they have escaped their cell, Yondu uses his main fighting technique, which involves a flying arrow that moves in response to his whistling and manages to take out almost an entire spaceship of people with ease. The scene is stunning with the arrow emitting a red light as it flows around the corridors of the spaceship creating absolute chaos to the sound of Yondu’s whistling.
Although the most entertaining use of music in the film is in the opening credits, the most important song in relation to the plot is Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass. The song is used twice in the film. In the very first scene, Star-Lord’s mother Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) and a young Ego are seen driving in a car in before Star-Lord’s birth with Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) playing in the background. The song is revisited later when Star-Lord and Ego are bonding and Ego explains his interpretation of the song. The song is used as a tool to symbolise the connection between Meredith and Star-Lord, and their strong relationship with Ego prior to their separate betrayals.
The standout performance in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is undoubtedly Dave Bautista as Drax. Almost every one of Drax’s lines had the audience either giggling or bursting out in laughter. Whilst slapstick, simple humour is not usually what I go for, they work perfectly for Drax’s character and never feel forced or cringe worthy. Drax is one of the least subtle characters I have ever seen, but this obvious humour definitely works making Bautista’s performance a major highlight of the film.
As previously mentioned, the film lacks subtlety making it predictable. Within the first few minutes, Star-Lord and Rocket are seen bickering in a way that clearly illustrates that they will have constant conflict throughout the film. Not only was this blatantly obvious, it was also an annoying addition to the plot and the dynamic of the film. Rocket is a character that is no stranger to conflict, but the conflict between him and Star-Lord felt immature. This unnecessary fragment of the plot was used to add an element of ‘friendship conquers all’ to the end of the film when they resolve their issues. The foreshadowing of Star-Lord’s father being introduced to the film was also painfully obvious in a scene where Star-Lord mentioning his father seems to be forced into the dialogue. This also felt unnecessary, as we had already seen Ego and Meredith at the very beginning of the film. Parts of this film felt like it was being ‘dumbed down’ for a younger audience, which is to be expected from a Marvel superhero movie but in this case was to its detriment.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is definitely enjoyable and does a reasonable job of being a successful sequel to a film that exceeded all expectations. The action, music and humour make this a very entertaining film, but the lack of subtlety does limit its memorability.