Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: a spoiler-free review
Grab a comfy seat, strap yourself in, dial nostalgia up to eleventy-stupid and here we go: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (GOTGV2) - the second film instalment of the Marvel comic book franchise.
This film picks up on the mystery of the first film - who is Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) dad? With the soundtrack provided by "AWESOME MIX-TAPE VOL. 2" our intrepid team of Guardians is doing odd-jobs to earn a buck or two when they bump into Peter's Dad and then lots of stuff happens. Do you need to have seen the first film before seeing this? Yeah, I think so otherwise there will be some stuff that does not make any sense in Vol. 2.
This is a spoiler-free review so in honour of that, no spoilers and no clues as to the ending.
The same team of Guardians turns up again for this film. Along with Chris Pratt we have Zoe Saldana as Gamora and Dave Bautista as Draz. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper provide the voices for Groot and Rocket respectively. Fresh from her performance in The Circle, the excellent Karen Gillan also returns as Gamora's sister. Thankfully in GOTGV2 she has a more expanded role and we get to see some sisterly interaction and understand her motivations better. Ultimately that's what this film is about - family. It explores the sisters' relationship, Peter's relationship with his Dad, Ego (Kurt Russell) and Peter's ongoing romantic relationship with Gamora. As if this was not obvious enough, our heroes say it out loud a few times, just in case you were not paying attention.
And so to the plot. Let's just say that underneath all the wise-cracks, the classic pop tracks, the jaw-dropping spectacle, there is not much in the way of plot. If it were not for the need to fill its 136 minute running time, the plot could have been condensed into something a lot shorter. But that's not what these films are about. They are about humour, spectacle and nostalgia.
The script sparkles with witty dialogue and jokes so it never takes itself too seriously and we neither should we. For all the zingers in Vol. 2, I thought the first film had a better script. Don't get me wrong, it is still enjoyable. The almost perverse plot-drivers are wonderful. From the opening sequence in which our heroes battle a giant space monster while Groot dances to Mr. Blue Sky from the Electric Light Orchestra I knew we were in safe hands.
Honourable mentions go to Michael Rooker who reprises his character Yondu and to Sylvester Stallone who makes a cameo as Stakar Ogood who, if you are up on your Guardians' lore, eventually teams up with the Guardians. Delving even deeper in to the lore, one of GOTGV2's five, yes five, post-credit scenes announces the creation of Adam Warlock.
For me, GOTGV2 is not as good as GOTG. Director James Gunn has done a fantastic job however the first film caught us all by surprise. It featured a bunch of characters we never heard of, on planets we never heard of, fighting baddies we never heard of. Yet, it was a huge success. The witty, sharp script kept us engaged. GOTGV2 has the same witty script however its plot is its weakness. Maybe I was expecting too much. And the end of the film we are treated to a nod to classic sci-fi series with the end title proclaiming "The Guardians of the Galaxy will return".
Will I see Vol. 3? Definitely.