‘Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2’ (2017, 12A)

Is the second ‘Guardians’ story a galactic epic, or a film better kept guarded away?

After the events of the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movie, the team, led my Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), are hired by a group of beings called the Sovereigns to guard their priceless batteries. But, when mischievous Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) steals some of their batteries, things go south for the ‘Guardians’ as the Sovereigns chase after them. But this soon becomes the least of their problems as Quill discovers his long-lost father, Ego (Kurt Russel) — and the life he leads.

The thing the first ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ film was most famous for was its music — ‘Awesome Mixtape Vol. 1’, as it was called. Played through Quill’s Sony Walkman, the cassette featured upbeat 80s tunes that pushed the film forward. The sequel continues this tradition, Quill now listening to another cassette entitled ‘Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2’, which offers a whole other selection of 80s classics. However, one thing that I was a fan of was not just the songs, but where and when they were used. I felt the first ‘Guardians’ was trying too hard with the retro-nostalgia-eighties thing, whereas ‘Vol. 2’ I think only featured four or five songs (though hopefully more will be available on the album download!) and they were used to emphasise the emotions in a scene.

However, one thing that the director, James Gunn, didn’t decide to go subtle with was the grand end fight scene. In my opinion, it all went a bit over-the-top, CGI special-effects trigger-happy, with quite a Michael Bay-esque feel to it that I didn’t really like. I understand that in a sci-fi film — especially one with as bigger budget as a Marvel film — you’re going to find huge special effects and if used correctly, I love this. However, when you’re just bombarded with explosions and colour and noise, it all gets a bit much.

One thing that did stand out to me is the comedy in this film. Now I’m not usually one for outlandish and predictable gags, I prefer the subtler stuff personally. However, I found myself chuckling more in this ‘Guardians’ film than in most dedicated “comedy” films. David Bautista’s character, Drax, provides most of the laughs, as well as some from Pratt’s character and the rest of the cast.

Now, I would like to delve into the plot of ‘Guardians … Vol.2’ a bit more so it’s time for this:

WARNING! THE BELOW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ‘GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL. 2’. CONTINUE AT READERS’ DISCRETION

So the main part of the plot of ‘Guardians’ 2 is Peter Quill discovering his father, Ego, and who he is: a celestial (essentially a god of the universe) who is actually a planet but created a human form so he could go to different planets, plant a magical energy plant in each planet, have children with as many people as possible (including Quill’s mother) in the hope he will be able to pass on his celestial gene to someone else so that he can later pick them up, train them to use their power and then help him make all these magical energy plants explode into a massive wave of sticky liquid that will take over the planets and turn them into more Egos… I think. It was confusing, and I found that a lot of things weren’t explained in the plot regarding Ego’s powers etc.

But let’s not talk about that — let’s talk about ‘Star Wars’! No, not the trailer for ‘Episode VIII – The Last Jedi’, but ‘Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back’, straight from 1980 (fitting for a film powered by music from the decade). Of course, ‘Empire’ is most famous for its twist ending (Hint! Someone is someone else’s father!) and I always remember the words directly after this climax: “something something together we could rule the galaxy something something father and son”. I noticed that this scene is mirrored in ‘Guardians … Vol.2’ as Ego says something along the lines of: “something something something together we could be the galaxy something something father and son”. This could’ve been  a conscious decision from James Gunn, or just lazy filmmaking, though I’m sure it’s the former as it feels right for there to be a ‘Star Wars’ reference hidden in the film.

Overall, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is a strong sci-fi comedy, and its integration in the Marvel universe makes it even better. However, a bit of an OTT ending and a sometimes confusing plot makes it an eight-out-of-ten.

8/10.

 

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