Director: James Gunn
Having retrieved some valuable batteries from Nebula (Karen Gillan), who was trying to sell them, the Guardians then find themselves pursued by the owners of said batteries namely The Sovereign who had tasked them to recover them. Led by the golden Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) the Guardians find that Rocket (Bradley Cooper) had helped himself to a couple of these precious batteries. When all seems lost the Guardians are miraculously saved by parties unknown until the revelation comes and Peter (Chris Pratt) finally meets his Father, the aptly named Ego (Kurt Russell). From here we learn more of Peter’s heritage but things don’t go as planned and soon the Guardians are saving the galaxy again.
Like my Fast and Furious 8 review I’d like to highlight the newcomers to Guardians rather than go over old ground with the returning cast. Most of the original movie’s main players return and you get exactly what you would expect from them but naturally the bond between them is much stronger now that they are a firmly established group.
There’s some variation for Nebula and Yondu (Michael Rooker) as their story arcs expand but their characteristics remain constant just with slightly different emotional leanings.
So let’s start with the big introductions first. Kurt Russell joins the cast as Ego, Peter’s long-lost Father. Claiming to be a celestial being he’s every bit Peter’s father. Kurt applies a mix of his Snake Plissken and Jack Burton roles to Ego and it’s a good mix. As Ayesha, Elizabeth Debicki plays a very good woman scorned as she sees she has been betrayed by the Guardians. Her vengeful pursuit of the Guardians is a colourful experience but it’s worth remembering she’s not the only variant they have to deal with. It took me a while to place her but Debicki was recently seen in the excellent BBC drama The Night Manager and it looks she may be popping up again as time goes on. Also new to proceedings is Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Ego’s ‘companion’. She presents as quite the likeable individual who builds a bond with Drax (Dave Bautista) despite his unkind insistence that she is quite ugly!
To quickly touch back on the original cast, briefly, Vin Diesel returns this time voicing Baby Groot who has about as much to say as his predecessor but as you would expect the little guy totally corners the cuteness factor that the film carries despite Mantis maybe trying to steal it a little.
I was a little late to the whole Guardians thing. Originally I met it with the same apprehension I save for all Marvel releases, just another one off the factory production line; some of which were occasionally very good. I was pleasantly surprised and the quality of the original so that spiked my interest in this sequel and it’s fair to say I was not disappointed. The film retains the chemistry and character of the first movie and builds on that in good fashion. My only real complaint would be that the story was a little weaker than before. In Volume 2’s defence the original stories are, nine times out of ten, always better. The effects are excellent as you would expect and the film’s humour (there are some very funny moments) remains as strong throughout the two hours. I do think, though, that the after credit scenes are getting a little bit too many (there were five!) and these could maybe be trimmed down a little. It will be interesting to see what happens next for the Guardians and if they maintain these standards it should be a great ride.
3.5/5 Stars: Volume 2 doesn’t quite reach the same stars as Volume 1 but it is a worthy sequel.