Director James Gunn
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Kurt Russell, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Released: 28th April 2017

SUMMARY
The team’s adventures continue, taking them to the far reaches of the cosmos, where they uncover (amongst other things) the truth of Peter Quill’s parentage.

“Are we really saving the galaxy, again?”

It isn’t often that a sequel can be considered as good as, if not better, than its predecessor – however, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, James Gunn has been able to deliver a masterpiece that is on par with its predecessor. Stunning visuals, snappy dialogue, and a colourful array of new characters, carry through the theme of this unlikely saga, and keep it up there with some of Marvel’s greatest hits.

Chris Pratt returns as the Chris Pratt-like leader of the Guardians, Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quinn, and it is clear from the outset, that his immense daddy issues will be taking the forefront of the story. On a mission from The Sovereign – a C-3PO/human hybrid of people, for whom we are given an awful lot of backstory that no one asked for – the team find themselves in a spot of trouble from which only one man can save them. Enter Kurt Russell a.k.a. ‘Ego’ and Peter’s biological father (not a spoiler – it’s in the trailer) who quickly ferries them away to an early Rayman-level of a planet, an eerie Eden, where lush, if not slightly strange vegetation grows.

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However, Peter is not the only one with parental problems, as Groot’s reduction to ‘Baby Groot’ brings with it a whole new set of priorities for Rocket, who takes on the role of protector – reversing the pairs roles for the first film. It seemed, from the trailers, that Groot would be there to offer the film’s comic relief, and yet the little tree is involved in some of the most poignant scenes that Guardians…has to offer. And there are plenty, as each of the characters in our ragtag team go through points of revelation, where what they once knew is forever changed – it is this emotional arc to the story (and to each of the characters’ stories) that truly separate this film from the last. Whereas the first film took its time to introduce us to these weird and wonderful characters that many were unfamiliar with, this sequel has the chance to further flesh out what makes them human…or a raccoon…or a tree (you get the picture).

Something that cannot go unmentioned in discussion of this film is the cameo made by Sylvester Stallone – who, despite having few lines, makes a big impression on the story, and in particular Michael Rooker’s, Yondu. The Ravager leader makes a return in a more emotionally involved role, as we see a more brutal version of the Ravagers, more closely linked to the reputation that they have in the first film.

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It is unusual for a film – particularly a comic book film – to be able to find the balance between humour and pathos, but that is exactly what Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 does. Combining witty dialogue with heart-wrenching revelations, Gunn manages to push our team to the very edge, and yet still pulling them back together as a family unit, who fight, yet band together when times are hard.

Once again, Guardians…is tied together with an impeccable soundtrack of retro hits that perfectly capture the scenes as they unfold. A particular one to take note of is the opening sequence, set to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” it sets up the tone of the film straight away – far outdoing the first movie’s opening of Star-Lord dancing to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” with a bigger spectacle and a more humorous tone. And fear not – just because Peter’s mother only gave him two tapes, does not mean that the Awesome Mixes will end here.

VERDICT
Packed to the brim with trials and revelations, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is an impressive sequel that combines all the elements that we enjoyed from the first film, deadpan humour and weird and wacky settings and characters, with a new sense of emotional depth that balances out this humour and rounds the story off to give a deeper and richer story, while still staying true to its roots.

RATING: 9 out of 10

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