Wow wah wee wah. When you’ve got a film as good as ‘Guardians of the Galaxy‘ a follow-up could be a difficult nut to crack. Not for James Gunn. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘ builds on the first film in so many great ways it put it on a very equal awesome level with it.
Set a couple of months after the first film, the Guardians are now heroes of the galaxy and hired to get rid of a big space monster in one of the most joyful opening scenes I’ve ever seen. They find themselves on the run from a species of arrogant gold people and wind up meeting Kurt Russell’s Ego, who also turns out to be Star-Lord’s father. Coincidence huh? Meanwhile, Yondu is on the bad end of a Ravager mutiny and the group is split up as they meet new and old characters and their relationships are explored. The plot is pretty solid, with some good twists and turns, even if Elizabeth Debicki’s villainous golden high priestess Ayesha does end up being largely inconsequential to the plot.
The focus of this film is more on family. And not in the dumb, barely believable way the ‘Fast & Furious‘ films use it in, but in a real way. There’s father and son stuff, sisterly rivalry stuff, outlaw-loner type stuff. It’s all there. And it’s all great. Every relationship feels so real and meaningful because the characters have real angst and real problems. Chris Pratt does a great job as Peter Quill, who just wants a dad. His acting is great and the relationship between he and Ego really carries the film. And Russell does a great job too, as he does in everything he is in. That’s not to say that everyone else doesn’t do a great job though.
Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan are great to watch as battling sisters Gamora and Nebula. Their rivalry really develops over the course of the film and becomes more tragic the more that is revealed. Dave Bautista as Drax is hilarious. Almost everything he says is comedy gold, but he also gets some more emotional beats with newcomer Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, who can feel people’s emotions. Both share some great moments and they develop a friendship which gives both more human qualities and makes them less like the machines they’re sometimes treated as.
Vin Diesel’s Baby Groot is as adorable as you’d expect, stealing every scene he’s in. He’s so cute it would be the only take home from the film if everything else wasn’t so good. Two of the stand outs to me though were Bradley Cooper as Rocket and Michael Rooker as Yondu, two guys who are really not as bad as they pretend to be. Their relationship with one another is one of the deepest and most meaningful and makes for some really emotional scenes. A lot of this film is very emotional, but also utterly hilarious.
This film is funnier than most comedies. There might be one or two jokes that don’t hit quite as well as the others and the first half is definitely funnier than the latter, but I found myself laughing almost all the way through. It’s honestly so funny and enjoyable that I could have walked out of the cinema and walked straight back in to another showing. And let’s not forget the soundtrack. After the soundtrack of the first film was a huge hit, the pressure to choose some great songs for the sequel must have been high. But rest assured, I enjoyed every single song choice in this film and they all fit so well. The ones I knew, the ones I didn’t. They’re all great.
And ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2‘ is a great film. Very funny, very emotional, very action packed and enjoyable. A real development from the first which some nice set up for the future. Great special effect, great music, great characters and so much great humour. Definitely as good as, if not as fresh as, the first film.
JACK’S SCORE: 5/5