Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 **Slight SPOILER ALERT** Review
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Elizabeth Debicki, Sylvester Stallone, Chris Sullivan, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, Evan Jones, Rob Zombie, Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, David Hasselhoff, Seth Green, Stan Lee, Gregg Henry
I've fallen so far behind on my reviews, I have eight films I've seen prior to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 and I've seen Vol.2 twice already! I wanted to do a rewind review of the first Guardians the of Galaxy before also, but time has not been kind (plus, admittedly, I've been a little lazy, it happens okay.) But, this can't wait any longer, especially with it getting it's US release this weekend! [you can read my GotG review here]
I loved the first, and James Gunn proves that he can do it again, putting the cool back into awesome, and the awesome back into epic proportions. I actually appreciate the prequel more having watched this, but, I have to say I wasn't convinced at first viewing and only actually fully appreciated it more after watching the first again before hitting the IMAX
You need to have seen the first to know who's who. It's where each character gets introduced and this film jumps straight in there after and like the first, there's a great balance between all the heroes. In fact, this one embellishes on the heroes key traits, like Drax's literally sense of humour and Rocket's mischievous gadgetry, he's more lethal than MacGyver locked inside a Walmart.
Now the Guardians are established and have set up shop as mercenaries for hire they quickly go about running errands for interplanetary employers, until Quill's father makes himself known; and it isn't J'son, who was originally Quill's dad in Marvel lore. Let's just say Gamora and Nebula aren't the ones with serious father issues.
A lot of questions get answered here, and at first, I use to be annoyed when films didn't stick to the canon, but now, I've actually warmed to it, as long as it's a good twist. Otherwise how boring would it be for true marvel fans to already know what's going to happen. Like metaphors for Drax, many of these cameos, references and twists go over viewers heads but spurs intrigue and awe in the avid comic book fans. Like the appearance of the original Guardians of the Galaxy (that included Yondu) the mention of Adam, which can only mean Adam Warlock, the quip about Rocket being a Badoon; an enemy of the guardians; and the Watchers standing with Stan Lee during the portal jumps which has triggered some very interesting theories about all of Lee's cameos. you can read more here in an article on Bustle.
It proves that GotG are in good hands with both writers and director, this one being a giant step in the right direction. Though, there's no connection to the incoming Infinity Wars yet which will possibly wait until vol.3 or, keeping the fans guessing, maybe somewhere else in the MCU. My money is actually on Thor: Ragnarök, seeing as Goldblum's Grandmaster appears during the colourful disco credits.
Something else that'll be wasted on younger audiences, not that it's a criticism, purely an observation, but the constant references to 80's pop culture which seems to make up most of Pratt's lines. It brings a smile to us older viewers understanding Quill's analogies but kids not familiar with the source might be left guessing. Still, there's plenty for the kids, enough naughty humour like hinty curse words that feels like it's winking at the younger audience, with the right eye.
It actually goes Fast and Furious, almost ripping off, "I ain't got friends, I've got family" line. But you really do get that vibe of misfit unison and the unlikely alliances grows even more with Gamora's sibling rivalry and Yondu's supposed change of heart earning some surprising sympathy. The daring silliness doesn't stop there but is done in brilliant comic fashion. It does breach the realms of silliness above and beyond a cybernetic raccoon and a walking, taking (with limited vocabulary) sequoia. Pacman makes an appearance, I so wanted Quill to do a hadouken and there's a scene that's goes all Ren & Stimpy which makes Groot yak. Not forgetting to mention Zardu Hasselfrau.
Probably the star of this film is Baby Groot who just oozes incredible cuteness no matter what he's doing, whether he's beating on Drax, dancing to tunes or eating M&Ms. No one can deny wanting a baby Groot for themselves after watching this (I've renamed my jade plant after him.) I also think Quill takes the back seat to Rocket and even Yondu on this venture. And yes, Diesel reprises the voice of Groot and also provides the motion capture this time round
The action is superb with Rocket's comical booby trapping, the dogfights and especially Yondu's and company's escape. His whistling arrow has to be one of the greatest weapons in the know universe. All accompanied by an awesome soundtrack. It seems Rocket has inherited Quill's affection for the funky soul soundtrack, himself, a number of times actually having music on while they work as a priority. Having watched it both in 2D and IMAX, I favour the IMAX version strongly as the film's vibrant visual effects are stunning with plenty of opportunities to show off what IMAX can do. It's superbly paced for a 136min runtime, it doesn't drag at all and I could have happily sat there and watched more, I want more.
You can't talk about this film without mentioning the soundtrack as it plays an integral part of the film, especially with that comical and adorable opening using ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky", Jay & The American's "Come a Little Bit Closer" playing during the arrow massacre, Sweet's "Fox on the Run", Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain" and a touching use of Cat Stevens' "Father & Son". Zardu Hasselfrau, sorry! I mean David Hasselhoff featuring not just in the film but on the soundtrack too, pretty much reprising his duties from Kung Fury and leads me to predict an appearance in the coming Baywatch film. Tyler Bates returns to do his score, but it does get overplayed by the soundtrack. It's definitely, by far, the best soundtrack out of all of the Marvel films, but it's been the only one really been allowed the freedom to rock out, apart from Iron Man maybe. It's even inspired me to make a playlist which you can listen to here.
The whole production and marketing is quite unique, clearly being the coolest out of the franchise bringing back everything that was awesome about 80's film posters. One of which being a copy of Ramones' "Rocket to Russia" album cover which is genius and some out of the many promo prints looking like trading cards. Even the trailer is smartly cut together not giving anything away being a mashup of the entire film.
It's an absolute blast, with big guns, big laughs and a whole lotta love. It's the ideal perfect comic book movie minus the captions and exactly the sequel fans will be expecting. It screams out to the inner geek in us all. Now to write up the first!
Running Time: 10
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 10
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for Baby Groot and the epic soundtrack.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: oh hell yeah!
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