Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 review – hilarious and entertaining

by | 28 Apr 2017 | Film Reviews

‘The team try to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage.’

Back in 2014, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) was a big gamble for Marvel. Thor (2011) had already tested the waters of expanding the MCU into the cosmic, but was still very much grounded in Earth. Could a film succeed then, that was set entirely outside of our galaxy, based around really obscure and lesser known characters, and helmed by a director who at that point, had only two small films to his name.

Turns out it could, and was not only financially successful, but was critically applauded. Audiences lapped it up, with its space opera setting, fun energy, and brilliant sense of humour. Gunn returns again, hoping lightning will strike twice with his follow up, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The story continues the exploits of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and baby Groot (Vin Diesel), who are now renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. They’re soon hired by a race known as the Sovereign, in exchange for Gamora’s sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan). When things don’t go as planned, they soon find themselves on the run and face to face with Kurt Russell’s mysterious figure, claiming to be Quill’s father.

There’s no doubt Marvel has done it again, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 being another roaring success within their filmography. Immensely funny and entertaining, there’s definitely a strong case for it being better than the first film. By not having to worry about introducing these characters, and getting the origin story done and dusted in Vol. 1, Gunn, who also wrote the screenplay, can get straight into the main plot and action. As a sequel, he doesn’t fall into the trap of just rehashing everything from the original, essentially making the same film but louder and bigger. Instead, he correctly focuses on the characters and continues their journey, giving equal time to each one and seeing them fleshed out some more.

Another thing that helps elevate this film and standout amongst the Marvel universe, is that it’s relatively self-contained. After nearly a decade of mostly earthbound movies, they’ve all become very interconnected recently, and a lot of background knowledge is required to understand them. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 feels refreshingly separate, and something that can be enjoyed on its own, with only really having to see the first film beforehand.

Its levity and comedy is something that will really be appreciated. In fact, it’s arguably the funniest Marvel movie to date, and Gunn has a very irreverent sense of humour running throughout, where almost no one takes anything seriously, even in the face of a cosmic catastrophe. This cinematic universe is hardly marked by its seriousness, but over the last few years, and particularly in the Captain America films and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), conflict has been brewing among the characters.

With the stakes rising exponentially and gearing up towards Avengers: Infinity War (2018), you can’t deny they’ve become slightly more sombre in tone. Clearly not having that issue, Gunn looks like he just wants to have some fun with his separate set of characters before they collide into the wider world of the Avengers.

Visually speaking, this is a good looking film with a lot of eye candy on offer and flawless CGI. Keeping that retro aesthetic and soundtrack from the original, Gunn injects a lot of colour into his film, filling it with great kinetic energy when it comes to action scenes. Thanks to the galactic setting, we get some fantastic and dizzying aerial dogfights, which is something no other Marvel movie offers at the moment.

All the returning cast do a brilliant job, although it can’t be that hard when Gunn has written their characters so well. For instance, he gives them all interesting and complex motivations, and goes deeper in exploring certain relationship dynamics. Whether it’s Gamora and Nebula’s volatile sisterhood, or Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his background, with some really deft storytelling, these are all emotionally engaging characters. Even Cooper does some fine voice work with Rocket, ironically bringing a fair amount of humanity to this CG character. Not wanting to spoil anything, but likewise, Kurt Russell’s new character is quite layered, having some excellent scenes with Pratt’s Star Lord, and looking like he’s enjoying every moment of it.

Standing out has to be Bautista’s Drax and Baby Groot. Like the first film, Bautista is almost perfect in his deadpan delivery, where his character has no filter when it comes to conversation or being tactful. He by far gets some of the best lines, especially in his interactions with Pom Klementieff’s Mantis. Baby Groot is unbelievably adorable, and his childlike naivety gives him some of the funniest moments.

‘With the surprise hit of the first film, there was a lot of expectation on a follow-up. Showing a lot of skill, Gunn knocks it out of the park with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and presents a sequel just as good, if not better, as its predecessor. Rightly focusing on character development and storytelling, and building the amazing action sequences around those elements, we get a movie that is not only full of spectacle, but is also grounded in a very human and relatable narrative.’

David Axcell

Film Critic

David has quite a broad taste in film which includes big budget blockbusters and small indie films; including International and Arthouse cinema. As long as it’s good in that particular genre, he’ll watch anything.

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