The first Guardians was a bit of a gamble for Marvel Studios. On one hand, it was something entirely unique that we hadn’t seen before and it had the potential to be awesome. On the other, it was such a ludicrous idea that it could have just crashed and burned even though it had the Marvel name on it. Luckily for us (and Marvel), it ended up being a box office smash, and now we’re blessed with another crazy adventure from the Guardians. Volume 2 absolutely delivers on thrills and laughs a minute. The jokes and action come at you so fast, it’s hard to catch your breath. Baby Groot is every bit adorable as you imagined he could be and then some. Dave Bautista is once again hilarious as Drax, delivering his dead pan honesty with some serious comedic timing. Let’s just say it’s great to have the gang back together. I didn’t realize how much I missed Marvels dysfunctional space family.
The story begins with Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and the crew protecting the Sovereign, a conceited race of golden fleshed people led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and their precious “batteries”. This involves the Guardians battling a giant beast with tentacles, while Baby Groot dances around amidst the chaos. This scene is totally worth the price of admission alone. If you don’t have a smile on your face during it, I don’t think we can be friends. After the battle, Ayesha gives them Gamoras (Zoe Saldana) sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) as a reward. It wouldn’t be any fun though if things were just cut and dry. Rocket (voiced again by Bradley Cooper) has taken some of the Sovreigns batteries for himself, which of course puts a giant target on their head. This leads them to be attacked by a massive fleet of Sovereign ships. After the Guardians ship takes considerable damage, they crash (in hilarious fashion) on an unknown planet. Star-Lord is confronted by his father Ego (Kurt Russell), and this is where the team splits up into two groups. Drax, Gamora & Star-Lord go with Ego & Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to discover what exactly Ego has been up to all these years. Rocket, Baby Groot & Nebula repair their damaged ship. It’s a shame that the team is split up for most of the movie, but it really gives Rocket & Yondu (Michael “I’m Mary Poppins ya’ll!” Rooker) some time to shine. I won’t say how they meet up, but they have some really great chemistry in the film. Some scenes might bring a tear to your eye (never thought a talking raccoon would make you weep did ya?). Mantis & Drax share some moments as well, usually involving Drax mistaking Mantis for coming on to him when that’s not the case at all. Everyone has their moment in this one. Even a Ravager named Taserface gets in on the laughs.
One thing to note is the language and violence in the film. If you don’t want your kid asking what a “Scrotum head” is, maybe let them sit this one out. It’s a tough choice because there are a ton of visual gags here that could have kids laughing hysterically. It’s just there’s that funny raccoon that says “shit” a lot and people get impaled by Yondu’s arrow in bloody fashion. Just a precaution. If they’ve seen the first one, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. If this is the first Guardians film they’re seeing, half the jokes will probably fly over their head. They’ll be too busy worrying about when Baby Groot is coming back, or being dazzled by the amazing special effects. Also, it’s a Marvel movie, so of course you’re gonna stay till the VERY end of the credits. There’s only 2 noteworthy end credits scenes, the other 3 are really just for laughs. The soundtrack is fantastic, with plenty of classics ranging from Cheap Tricks ‘Surrender’ to Jay and the Americans ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’. Once again, the songs fit the scenes in the film perfectly.
If you were a fan of the first one, there’s plenty to love here. James Gunn is that rare director in Hollywood that’s up to the challenge. He’s got the guts to take a giant property like Marvel and bring one of their most obscure comics to the forefront. Guardians of the Galaxy continues to be that gem that delivers on laughs and feels, and sets itself apart from the Avengers (I’m actually starting to prefer the Guardians over the brooding Avengers from Civil War). It’ll be interesting to see where Volume 3 goes, considering the implications that events in this one have on the entire universe (including Earth). They’re setting us up for that giant team up in Infinity War and I personally can’t wait. Definitely go and check this one out. You’re guaranteed to leave the theatre with a smile on your face. – NVJ