Back in 2014 Marvel released Guardians Of The Galaxy and overnight it became a huge success, it was easily one of the most fun and entertaining films of that year. It took characters that were not well known by mainstream standards, and made them household names. James Gunn provided a space action adventure of the likes we haven’t seen since Star Wars, and it worked. Not only was the action exciting, but the characters weren’t flawless and they developed a formidable team that have remained quite memorable. To say expectations are high for Vol. 2 of this saga is an understatement, for many this is one of 2017’s most anticipated films. But have they made a worthy follow up?
Our group of the galaxies biggest misfits are back as Peter Quill ‘Star Lord’ (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are still working together and taking jobs to keep the galaxy safe. Their latest job gets them in a bit of trouble as Rocket decides to steal from their clients, and they aren’t too happy about it. Whilst on their getaway, the team discover a mysterious ship that apparently holds the key to Peter’s true parentage. But what does this mean for the crew and the universe?
Much like the first film, this one does deal a lot with character development, especially as it pertains to Peter. He is the leader of the group, and as we found out at the end of Vol. 1 Peter’s father is an alien and there is something special about him. Here we explore that a lot more, and find out where Peter does come from and what it all means. But he isn’t the only one who has substance here, Nebula (Karen Gillan) makes a comeback and the relationship between her and Gamora is given more time. There were only hints and glimpses as to their animosity in Vol. 1 and it gets more time to really develop.
As well as those characters, Yondu (Michael Rooker) is also back and there is more brought forth about the Ravagers and why he has been exiled by them. Look out for some really fun cameos with those, no spoilers will be given here. Rocket and Groot are as fantastic as always, with Groot being reborn as a baby and he really does steal the show. There are some fantastic scenes between Rocket and Yondu that help these two gain an understanding of each other. Then we have Drax, who is now the laugh a minute man who is out for fun and exploring everything. When he meets the mysterious Mantis (Pom Klementieff) they form a bond over their quirks and these scenes are priceless.
The team in this film are split up for parts of the duration and it was quite a departure from the first film, there are separate things going on that each character must deal with. They have their own journey to go through as well as aiming to save the galaxy yet again. It was a brave move to have this sequel be quite different, it did not repeat the same formula. Their task at hand is very different and much more personal, the stakes are still very high and of course laughs and fun are had along the way. It doesn’t lose any of the charm it had before, and it very much is James Gunn’s labour of love. The cast connects on a deep level, the chemistry is natural and the new additions and returning faces blend in just as well.
Performances are all a lot of fun and each actor definitely relished in playing their roles. Chris Pratt really does feel like Peter Quill and he doesn’t skip a beat in this one. He perhaps showed more range with his emotions and helped expand upon the character. Zoe Saldana had her best scenes with Karen Gillan, the duo are a natural pairing and both actors shone brightly together. Dave Bautista once again just nails it as Drax, he plays it less serious and it works very well. The chemistry he shares with Pom Klementieff is fantastic, they worked magic against each other and there needed to be a few more scenes between them. Pom herself was exceptional, Mantis is a unique new character who fit right in and just belonged with the crew.
Michael Rooker almost steals the show as the returning Yondu, there is a lot more learnt about his character and he played it with so much love and care. He has some key scenes that just feed the eyes and ears, there were smiles to be had. Kurt Russell always does a great job and in his role as Ego he really had a ball, he was the right choice for this film and role. His scenes are quite intriguing as is his character, as things developed along he made sure to play his cards right. There is no faulting the voice work of both Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, they were perfect once again. Rocket and Groot are easily the most memorable in the film, much like they were before.
What would this film be without a fantastic soundtrack? It would be … well not right, so thankfully it was followed up with more memorable and classic songs that fit each scene like a glove. The visuals may have even been better, it was all extremely colourful and fantastical. The places they visit and the things they see felt as real as could be, it all really came alive and despite knowing it was CGI it didn’t feel that way. James Gunn has delivered another fantastic entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is not a carbon copy of Vol. 1 and still has so much fun and sets itself aside from the other superhero films. Our team will likely play a role in the Infinity Wars Saga, they have come across Thanos and have two of his daughters on their side. As much fun as it will be to see them collide, Guardians should have their own standalone films as Vol. 1 and 2 have proven. This is a great ride, and on par with what came before it.