“Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” Recaptures The Brilliance Of The Original

If the phrase “I am groot” brings a smile to your face then this film’s spectacle, jokes and heart will hit your sweet spot.

The first Guardians of the Galaxy was considered Marvel Studios’ biggest risk to date in their ever-expanding cinematic universe. The first film is now a firm fan favourite with its jukebox soundtrack, unique humour, and huge sense of fun and irreverence.

So, can lightning strike twice? The sequel finds our Guardians Of The Galaxy, Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) running for their lives from an alien race called The Sovereign, when they are helped by Ego, The Living Planet (Kurt Russell), an ancient being who claims to be Peter’s long-lost father, all whilst Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) have unfinished business with the Guardians.

The sequel lacks the surprise of the first film and comes with the baggage of expectation. So, the task for writer/director James Gunn was a daunting one, but there is no other blockbuster that is as funny, moving and entertaining as this. Volume 2 surpasses expectations and captures the tone of the first within the opening sequence. An incredibly cute dancing baby Groot immediately steals the show as the centre piece in the opening action scene, with the excellent jukebox soundtrack. The script recognises the strength of the first film was the characters’ banter and interaction especially the literal Drax, who has all the best lines. This team and their supporting characters are a joy to spend time with and the focus on character does mean the plot is slightly rushed to insert a villain in the final third, but it was so much fun getting there this didn’t bother me.

The villain also has an element of humour unlike the first film’s generic villain. The CGI heavy finale may lack the sense of originality that shines through the rest of the film but moments of humour amid high emotional stakes are intertwined with great craft. The film also manages to capture the emotional crescendo of We are Groot as there is genuine peril and sacrifices required to save the Galaxy a second time.

The returning cast are all at the top of their game. Now a genuine movie star thanks to the first film Pratt carries the swinging emotional-to-humorous tone very well. Saldana has more to do especially with her sister Nebula (Gillan) and has a satisfying arc that reveals more of their background. Drax often steals the show and interacts well with sweet newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Bradley Cooper’s Rocket is still the effective loose cannon of the group and has a great escape scene with Yondu (Rooker) also accompanied by a great song. This follows one of the weaker scenes based around a character called Taserface and the only misuse of Baby Groot but everything else hits such a high standard this slight misstep is easily forgiven and forgotten. Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) is not given as much as the other new characters but still produces a few laughs in her plot driven arc. And finally, Kurt Russell is as charming and watchable as ever with some great scenes with his son. There are also some minor appearances from some big stars that are likely to be more involved in future instalments.

It’s tough to say if it surpasses the first film as the expectation is so different but it is not a disappointment. The tone is spot on, the balance of action, fun and emotion is perfect. The focus is on character at the expense of plot for two thirds of the film but this works for me. The universe may be at risk, but the drama is small. However, the small stakes family drama might not work for everyone and could make the film appear slightly baggy.

If you didn’t like the first film this won’t convert you as this is more of the same. It builds beautifully from the first film capturing the unique and enjoyable tone that I am bound to watch multiple times at the cinema. Marvel shows no sign of letting their standard fall and seems to have learnt lessons from Age of Ultron as there is less mandatory inserted scenes relevant only for future films. There are too many post credits scenes (five) – fun but inconsequential.

If the phrase “I am groot” brings a smile to your face then this film’s spectacle, jokes and heart will hit your sweet spot.

guardians of the galaxy vol 2, film review, four stars

Written by Lyndon Wells

Directed by: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan

Released: 2017 | Genre: Action
Country: USA | IMDB
More reviews: Latest | Archive

About the Author
A film geek and cinephile masquerading as a Doctor, husband and father. With my dog Bilbo by my side I seek to prescribe a healthy movie experience through accurate diagnostics. Find me on Twitter: @lwellsfilm

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  1. Avatar
    Callum Reply

    I loved every minute of it. I actually thought it was better than the first, and I loved the first too. Great review.

  2. Avatar
    Jeff Reply

    Totally agree with you here. Marvel have outdone themselves with the best sequel to their product since Iron Man 3.

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