The opening couple of scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 do a great job in allaying any fears that this Marvel property could be a one-hit wonder. The introduction of the Guardians in this second movie is simply sublime and instantly recaptures the style, essence and genuine comedy of the first film, marking out a sequel that truly entertains throughout.
A very brief period of time has passed since we last left the Guardians. They have been tasked with protecting a valuable asset for The Sovereign, an enlightened but arrogant race of beings led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). Star-Lord aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is still seeking the truth about his father. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) remains emotionally stunted towards Peter, while Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is his usual brash and sarcastic self. Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is still growing up and has now become the child of this unconventional family and Drax (Dave Bautista) still delivers the harsh and unfiltered truth in his own amusing, oblivious way.
After Rocket steals some valuable batteries from The Sovereign, they go about chasing the Guardians, and hire their old nemesis Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his crew to aid with their capture. But soon an ethereal figure named Ego (Kurt Russell) appears and saves the Guardians of the Galaxy from attack. And he also has some startling news and revelations to tell Peter in the process.
Once again, it’s Chris Pratt who leads the line exceptionally well. Now a fully-fledged star in his own right, Pratt finally has the Hollywood standing to match his undoubted talent and he’s a joy to watch here. Zoe Saldana does some great work as Gamora, who is slowly getting more in touch with her emotions, both towards Peter and her sister Nebula (a quite brilliant Karen Gillan).
Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel lend their considerable vocal support to the film again. Baby Groot is a marketers dream. Fully expect the shops to be flooded with Baby Groot merchandise this summer as the character makes a real impression throughout the film. Rocket also has an even bigger role to play in the narrative and is more pivotal than ever. Once again, credit must also go out to Sean Gunn – he not only co-stars as space thief Kraglin (this time in a much more expanded role), but he also portrays Rocket for physical scenes shot using performance capture on-set.
Then there’s Drax, who once again steals the show with a tear-inducing medley of gags and truth-bombs that will leave you in fits of laughter. Dave Bautista is sensational once again; deliver both the physical and emotional side of Drax to sublime effect. His exchanges with newcomer Pom Klementieff (who does a great job as the empathic Mantis) are the best gags of the film. Speaking of newcomers, screen legend Kurt Russell is wonderful as Ego, and thankfully has a very large part to play in the story. The same can be said for fan-favourite Michael Rooker as Yondu, who struggles to deal with some of his past decisions. There are also plenty of great cameos, some are spoiler-filled so I won’t go into detail but the inclusion of Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord is excellent.
Writer/Director James Gunn has delivered yet another resounding hit that resonates with its audience on every level. The writing is sharp and emotionally charged. The set-pieces of the film are truly memorable and the tone seamlessly continues from the first film. Then there’s the music. It’s no surprise to see that this Guardians of the Galaxy sequel is known as Vol. 2, a reference to the mixtapes that Star-Lord cherishes. The music really plays an important role in this story, with classic songs from the likes of George Harrison, ELO and Cat Stevens propelling this film into unabashed toe-tapping territory.
Then there’s the IMAX factor. Recently, quite a few films have been released that really warrant the IMAX upscale. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is certainly one of those movies. This is a vibrant, colourful and larger-than-life film that demands the best viewing experience available and IMAX easily provides this.
The IMAX release of Guardians Vol. 2 has been digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience, with proprietary IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology in use. The crystal-clear images (which are stunning), coupled with IMAX’s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio (which really transports you into the action), create a unique environment that has to be experienced. You also experience more of the Guardians antics than those that see the film in standard cinemas because the majority of the movie has special IMAX formatting – presented in an expanded 1.9:1 aspect ratio – which means you see more of the image compared to standard presentations. This makes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 a must-see in IMAX.
Full of real emotion and stunning spectacle, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a resounding success from start to finish. By now you should all know that you have to stay until the very end credits too. This time Marvel have outdone themselves with five (5!) post-credit stings. Thankfully, James Gunn has signed on for a third Guardians film, with the characters having a huge say in the new direction Marvel take in the lead up to Avengers: Infinity War. With much more to come, it’s a very exciting time indeed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, who have delivered yet another gem with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock Director: James Gunn Writer: James Gunn Released By: Disney / Marvel Studios Certificate: 12A Duration: 137 mins Release Date: 28th April 2017