The original Guardians Of The Galaxy was one of my favourite “surprise hits” of the year back in 2014.
Sure, Marvel Studios aren’t known for producing flops, but I remember a lot of trepidation before the James Gunn-directed superhero offering hit the big screen.
This time around, expectations were through the roof ahead of the second outing for the ‘Cosmic Avengers’ – and I’m pleased to tell you that it’s another resounding success.
Picking up a few months after Peter Quill/Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) – it’s now baby Groot, FYI – saved the Galaxy in the original, the team are now essentially intergalactic guns for hire.
We re-connect with them working a mission for the bizarre Sovereign (led by Elizabeth Debicki’s brilliant Ayesha), but things go south when one of the Guardians double-crosses and insults them – leading to the first of many incredible space fight sequences.
With Ayesha hunting them herself and hiring Yondu’s (Michael Rooker) team of Ravagers to assist, much of Volume 2 sees the team either on the run from or battling them across various beautiful locations.
But, while it’s a very enjoyable element of the plot, the lead story this time around is the introduction of Kurt Russell’s Ego, who was rather publicly cast as Star Lord’s father (something that is established at the very start of the film).
Yet while we know he’s Quill’s dad, Star Lord isn’t so sure. Indeed, one of the underlying themes this time around is determining if he needs a real father, or if the likes of Yondu and the other Guardians are already filling the void as his family.
With so many plates spinning at the same time, the Guardians are split up into two teams for much of the film, but this makes for some excellent combinations.
I enjoyed the interaction between Yondu and Rocket, while Baby Groot perhaps steals the show in the same thread. Drax is once again hilarious – especially when introduced to Pom Klementieff’s Mantis, another excellent new character who can read emotions via touch.
Throw in Gamora’s returning sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), the constantly ridiculed Ravager Taserface (Chris Sullivan) and even Sylvester Stallone’s cameo as Stakar Ogord and there are so many great characters to digest this time around.
Naturally, finding out Star Lord’s lineage is the highlight, but you’ll be pleased to see each and every character enjoy a meaningful arc.
Guardians 2 is also one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen in 3D. Be it Ego’s gorgeous planet of the many amazing battle sequences, the visuals are just incredible.
That is accompanied by another retro soundtrack, which once again hits the mark in fine fashion.
Although there is a bit of an overload on the joke front this time, there are some emotional moments – including one that will surely stay with the team as they head into the next film.
Add some memorable villains and Volume 2 doesn’t fall into any of the usual traps superhero films are often criticised for.
Child friendly but also great fun for adults, there really isn’t anything to dislike about Guardians 2.
As with the first film, the lead characters are all great and this only builds on the fondness you’ll feel for them.
Easily one of the best films of the year, this is a must see at the cinema.
Voice Verdict: 9/10 (reviewed at Boston’s West End Cinema)
+ Very funny
+ Gorgeous, especially in 3D
+ Plethora of great characters led by Pratt and Cooper
+ Strong villains
Boston’s West End Cinema (Fri, May 5 to Thurs, May 11)
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOLUME 2 (12A)
2D: 10.45am (Sat/Sun), 2pm (Fri/Sat/Sun/Wed), 5.20pm (daily), 8.20pm (daily)
3D: 12.45pm (Sat/Sun/Wed), 3.40pm (daily), 7pm (daily)
A DOG’S PURPOSE (PG)
10am (Sat/Sun), 12.15pm (Sun), 2.45pm (Sat/Sun), 4pm (not Sat/Sun), 6.15pm (daily)
1.30pm (Wed), 8.40pm (daily)
THE PROMISE (12A)
5pm (Wed), 5.50pm (Fri/Mon/Thu)
FAST AND FURIOUS 8 (12A)
2.30pm (Fri/Sat/Wed), 5.20pm (not Thu), 8.20pm (daily)
THEIR FINEST (12A)
3.30pm (not Sat/Sun)
BOSS BABY 2D (U)
10am (Sat/Sun), noon (Sat/Sun), 3pm (Sat/Sun), 6pm (Sat/Sun)
PEPPA PIG: MFCE (U)
8.40pm (Not Thu)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (PG)
Sat/Sun 10.15am – Lego Batman 3D (U)
Wed 11.30am – The Promise (12A)
Tuesday 5.50pm – Guardians of the Galaxy 2 2D (12A)
**FREE LIST SUSPENDED