Film review by Claire Durrant of Guardians Of the Galaxy 2, starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana.
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Peter Quill/ Star Lord (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the Guardians are infamous across the galaxies. Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) has asked the team to protect valuable and precious batteries from a space monster, but when Rocket (Bradley Cooper) steals them instead, Ayesha and her people attack their ship. The Guardians are mysteriously saved, and their saviour reveals himself to be Peter’s long lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell).
Review, by Claire Durrant
Back in 2014, the first Guardians of the Galaxy film was released, and is what I consider one of the most important superhero films. When filmmakers were relying on the bigger Marvel and DC superhero names, James Gunn made a film about a lesser known comic book team.
GOTG is now one of the biggest box office successes for Marvel, as well as being regarded as one of their best films. Thus it proved that a fresh script, zany characters, and comedic performances are far superior to another sequel/remake from a popular name such as Spiderman or Thor.
I hoped that GOTG2 could continue to impress and it did – for the most part.
Firstly, I have to commend the film for continuing to differ itself from the rest of the Marvel productions – especially in its visuals. This film is gorgeous to look at! Every scene is saturated in different hues. Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) green skin has been brightened as well as Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) blue skin, making these characters stand out when they’re on screen. Ego’s planet itself is also a sight to behold!
Star Lord is still charming and full of pop culture references, this time David Hasselhoff and Pac-Man being mentioned. Drax gets approximately 95% of the best lines and one liners. Credit to Dave Bautista for mastering deadpan humour and perfect timing, he truly is hilarious to watch.
Yondu for me however was a surprising shining performance, with Rooker adding a wonderful gravitas to the film.
Whereas the first film was plot and narrative driven, Gunn has chosen to focus his sequel on character development. Interestingly however, it’s not the characters you’d think of. With the exception of Peter, the rest of the original team are not allowed to flourish in terms of their character journey.
Instead we are treated to seeing more of the previously smaller roles; Nebula and Yondu. We find out more about Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora’s childhood as sisters, as well as Yondu’s somewhat fatherly relationship with Quill.
Yes, the famous ‘F’ word is one of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 main themes. The word of course being family, and how family extends to more than just our relatives. However, it is appreciated that this messaged is not forced down our throats like it is in the Fast and Furious franchise.
(That being said, the fact that it takes our heroes destroying an “Ego” before they can admit to desiring familial love is not subtle, Mr Gunn.)
Due to the expanding of the unorthodox family, bonds between the guardians shift to create new companionships. Rocket and Yondu have great chemistry – made more impressive due to one being a CGI raccoon. Drax and Mantis (Klementieff) also have a fun ongoing gag of him teaching the empath about the world and herself.
However, with so much storylines happening at once, they unfortunately don’t get the screen time they’re needed. Gamora and Nebula’s reconciliation seems rushed throughout the film. Rocket doesn’t shine as much as he did in the original, and Baby Groot (once again voiced by Vin Diesel) is there to be cute.
More time is spent on the focus of the story, which is Peter overcoming his father issues. Gunn progresses and develops Quill’s relationship with Ego in a suitable manner. Yet, it is Yondu’s devotion to Peter that results in the film’s most poignant moment.
It’s just a shame that a film which wants to be about family and camaraderie comes across as being more concerned with Peter and his sidekicks.
So yes, while the film does falter due to pacing issues, as well as moments sometimes bordering cartoonish, it still possesses a lot of what made Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 the powerhouse it is in the first place. It’s camp, it’s fun, boasts a great soundtrack and has a plethora of actors and characters you can’t help but be drawn to and charmed by.
Cast & Credits
Director: James Gunn. 136mins. Marvel/WaltDisney. (12a).
Producer: Kevin Feige.
Writer: James Gunn.
Camera: Henry Braham.
Music: Tyler Bates.
Sets: Scott Chambliss .
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Gunn.