Spoiler Free Review
Right off the bat I have to come clean. 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite Marvel movie. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now tied with the original. I was like a little kid again, so happy.
Right from the start we join our favorite band of misfits in the middle of a job. The gang is all back, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper). Some other familiar faces are back as well; Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan) joined by newbies, Ego (Kurt Russell), Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), and Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). They make up part of a huge cast but Writer/Director James Gunn makes it work. Some criticism about the sequel I’ve heard is it follows the template of Vol. 1. I would say it’s only somewhat and I won’t spoil that discovery for folks. Great news, the trailers don’t spoil the movie. The basic plot without spoiling everything is heroes are placed in danger both individually and separately, a quest, sad stuff, and finally redemption and so many surprises!
I Am Groot
Baby Groot is a tiny but ferocious toddler that I wondered how would work in the sequel. Despite my hesitance, toddler Groot plays for more laughs and genuine tenderness than the audience and I could have expected.
Guardians Are a Family
What sets both Guardians of the Galaxy Volumes 1 and 2 apart from all the other Marvel and superhero films? Family. Peter/Star-Lord yearns to have a relationship with his father. Nebula and Gamora are sisters who are trying to work out their differences. Star-Lord has the hots for Gamora. Rocket likes to get in trouble but does so to pull the Guardians together. Drax suffered great loss in his life and recognizes you can choose your own family. Star-Lord and Yondu are father and son in a strange way. This is why I fell in love with the Guardians. They are a family by choice. They argue, laugh, live, die, and just are a family so you care about them and experience a lot of the emotions they go through as a result.
Let Go My Ego
Kurt Russell’s portrayal of Ego is a performance inside of a performance. It’s wonderful to have a seasoned actor bring something new to the franchise. His cohort Mantis featured in one of the hilarious trailers carries over that unintentional funny along with helping to move the plot along.
The only downside was a slow stretch in the middle of the film that thankfully did not last too long. Even that is hysterical when taken in the context that it deals with Ego.
The action sequences are larger than the original and the use of practical effects mixed into the CGI cosmos is welcome. More importantly somehow this movie had me laughing more than the first film. I definitely wasn’t expecting more laughs so that’s a huge plus.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, five out of five no-prizes (and Groots)!
The brilliance of GOTG V2 is that it’s not like any other superhero movie. This is a perfect mix of comedy, action, and music. I can’t wait to see it a second time tomorrow and hear all the jokes I missed because the audience was laughing so hard. And of course stick around for all the fun after credit scenes.
Director/Writer: James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Producer: Kevin Feige
Executive Producers: Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda, Stan Lee
Director of Photography: Henry Braham
Opens in theaters on Thursday, May 4th.