The hotly anticipated sequel to James Gunn’s 2014 intergalactic classic almost ticks all the boxes.
Coming out of the cinema like a herd of zombies at 3:00am last night, initial reactions to the newest chapter in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise were mixed.
That has been the worldwide reception to James Gunn’s latest work, which sees the original team return for an all new adventure in what is the 15th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Whilst this latest entry doesn’t reach the same level as Captain America: The Winter Soldier nor the original Guardians of the Galaxy, it is still an enjoyable, funny, action-packed thrill-ride which almost ticks all the boxes.
Chris Pratt is excellent once again as Peter Quill aka. Star-lord, who along with green mean machine Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a very comedic Drax (a fine performance by Dave Bautista, space racoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the adorable Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), find themselves in trouble with ‘The Sovereign’, a community of gold people after a mission goes south.
During their run-in with ‘The Sovereign’ they meet Ego (played by Kurt Russell) who claims to be Peter’s father. From there we are taken on a story which delves into the complexity of what a family is and what it means to be one.
It is a very clever script written by director Gunn, who is able to use the wonders of the universe to his advantage.
There’s colour, wonder, and an amazing use of CGI to create worlds that the creative teams of the Captain America movies can only dream of. Of all the Avengers, only the Thor movies have the power to match the wonders on screen.
A special mention has to go to Michael Rooker, who returns to play Yondu the blue faced space pirate. Rooker’s performance outshines the rest of the cast by a country mile. Yondu’s storyline goes in so many different directions, which allows him to showcase his ability as a actor, an opportunity grabbed with both hands.
Also returning from the original is Karen Gillian’s Nebula, sister of Gamora, whilst there are cameo appearances left, right and centre.
Once again the soundtrack is out of this world. Nothing Marvel produces in the future will outshine the opening credits to this movie. Fred Raskin and Craig Wood’s editing is superb, the music choice is perfect, Henry Braham’s cinematography is amazing. It all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.
The issue this film will inevitably face however is something that is out of their control. It’s how it coincides with the public’s expectations. The original was smothered with so much critical acclaim that perhaps following it up with a sequel that was just as good was always going to be a tough job. It’s obvious Gunn made a decision on where to take the franchise in order to push it forward, but it isn’t one that will please everybody.
In a nutshell, if you were hoping for a distinct sequel to the first, then you’ll probably come away from this movie disappointed.
The title itself tells us what to expect. The use of ‘Vol.2’ shows that this is a brand new story – like picking up the next comic book off the shelf – with no major links to the original. It works as a standalone as well as a sequel, kind of like how Star Trek Beyond fitted into that franchise.
The movie also reminds everyone that Guardians isn’t closely connected like the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Where Avengers: Age of Ultron ties in with Captain America: Civil War, which subsequently then ties in with the upcoming Spider-Man and Black Panther movies, the Guardians still seem lightyears away in their own world despite sharing it with all these other superheroes.
However, that will surely change soon. For the first time we get a first hand account of just how awful Marvel’s big baddy Thanos really is from daughter Nebula. This could be the link where our heroes on Earth and the Guardians cross ahead of the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, which is penciled in for a May 2018 release. It will be then that the main villain will finally get the screen time Marvel fans have been aching to see for the past 10 years.
12A, 138 mins