The Guardians of the Galaxy sequel opens in spectacular fashion with a fast paced fight scene set in slow motion as the camera follows around the adorable Baby Groot as he dances to ELO’s Mr Blue Sky blaring through Quill’s sound system as Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) fight a giant, alien slug trying to steal valuable and powerful batteries from the Sovereign – a proud, gold-skinned alien race.
The scene is indicative of what’s to come in the film – cheesy, fun sci fi action with impressive action sequences that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still has an interesting story line. One that in the climax of the film actually brought a tear to my eye – it’s surprisingly moving at times too!
The film picks up where the first instalment left off – the rag tag group of friends are still working together and still bickering as they fend off this monster after being hired by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) leader of the Sovereign for a very generous bounty – Gamorra’s sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan) who they had captured trying to steal the batteries herself.
But true to form, Rocket raccoon has other ideas and steals the batteries himself, which puts them on Ayesha’s hit list. These gold ethereal looking beings may look serene, but they’ve got a temper on them and don’t take kindly to being stolen from, especially from the very people they bored to protect them, heresy of the highest order, Ayesha calls it.
So the Guardian gang are on the run again – Rocket being stubborn and rude as ever, “I will put a turd I’m your pillowcase… Not one of mine, Drax’s”; Drax is still bluntly hilarious, “My turds are famously large”; Gamorra being sassy and trying to keep the boys in order, “What is wrong with you?!” and Star Lord, Peter Quill being the good guy with a quick wit and a taste for trouble, “You trash panda!”
Them there’s the adorable Baby Groot, who has started to regrow after he sacrificed himself to save the rest of the team in the first film. He is the most adorable baby tree ever; I defy you not to say “awww” at some point during the film at those big brown eyes full of empathy, intrigue and innocence. It’s Vinn Diesel’s most endearing film role to date (mind you he only actually says three words, albeit with different inflections, and he’s a computer animated living tree).
The story line is pretty ridiculous, but having seen the first film, that’s what we can expect. Quilł, who never knew his father, meets a mysterious, powerful being, played by the great Kurt Russell, claiming be a god, and also claims to be his father. Of course, Gamora thinks here’s something suspicious about the whole thing.
Gamora’s also got a side storyline of her own as she struggles wether to accept her sister or hand her over for a bounty. To be fair, Nebula was a bitch to her in the first film, so you can’t blame her a lack of sisterly warmth.
Then of course there’s the ongoing will they won’t they between Quill and Gamora as they continue to flirt and fight with one another. Or as Quill says, an unspoken some,thing – like in Cheers with Sam and Diane, but Gamora screams back at him – “I don’t know what Cheers is!!”
After the opening number of Mr Blue Sky, the rest of the soundtrack is solid, but not quite as cool as Volume 1. There is another great fight scene later in the film where Rocket and Yondu take out hundreds of Ravagers to the tune of Come a Little Bit Closer by Jay and the Americans. It’s reminiscent of recent slapstick action films like KickAss and Kingsmen: Secret Service. It’s all good fun and the rocking 80s soundtrack really adds to that.
Chris Pratt is on great form as ever, effortlessly cracking jokes and occasionally showing off his torso and post- Andy from Parks and Rec body. I don’t mean to objectify him, but, yum! He’s one of the most popular actors in Hollywood at the moment, both on and off he camera and it’s easy to see why – he’s like the Everyman action hero – likeable, funny, relatable but can still kick some serious ass. I think Dave Bautista is underrated – his deadpan jokes as Drax always land so well and I a film full of jokes and funny character he still manages to stand out as a comedian.
While Volume 2 is a great film, I don’t think it lives up to the original Guadians of the Galaxy. It’s visually a much better cinematic experience, with the scenes on Ego’s planet being particularly spectacular: it looks like Wizard of Oz meets Avatar’s Pandora by way of the Hunger Games District 1 Pamem. The new characters introduced were solid and the story continued the core characters’ story arcs well, but overall the story just isn’t quite as great. But definitely worth a trip to the cinema as the visuals deserved to be seen on the big screen. As does Chris Pratt.