Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017) Dir. James Gunn.
Picking up sometime after the events of the first film, The Guardians are now a fully fledged working unit…for the most part. The opening sees them carrying out a mission on behalf of an alien race called the Sovereign. Things get a little bit complicated and the team are soon evading attempts on their lives by this race of beings at which time, they are rescued by a mysterious figure claiming to be Quills father. Cue some soul searching between father and son as an old foe makes his way toward the team to carry out some unfinished business…
The first film never really caught my attention from the off-set as it seemed to with so many other people! I missed it in cinemas, watched it when it came out on Blu-ray (felt obliged to add it to my 3D Marvel collection) and thought it was…ok! It was alright. I watched it a second time and enjoyed it a little bit more but it still didn’t live up to the hype I’d heard about it!
Fast forward three years and I actually found myself pretty excited but the trailers for this sequel. Maybe I just was bored of origin stories by the time the original film was rolled out into the MCU, or maybe I just simply wasn’t ready for that tonal shift in humour. Since many of the Marvel films have become more funny as proceedings have gone on (Ant-Man and Civil War both feature some hilarious comedy sequences) maybe I’ve just become more accustomed to it? Who knows. What the reasoning, I was very excited by how this film looked…
Unlike ‘Alien Covenant’ in my previous review, this film lived up to expectations and indeed surpassed them! This is far from being a perfect film but it is everything most would look for in a cinema night out. Action, comedy, adventure and a few touching moments thrown in. The touching moments are however, where some of my problems lie…Whereas in the first, we were completely taken aback by the sudden and unexpected self-sacrifice of Groot amidst all of the silly humour of the first, this film tries to slip in a few more similar moments – and it does seems bit try hard at times and even out of some of the actors emotional range surprisingly! However, this wasn’t enough to sour the overall experience.
The very opening of the film sets the tone for what is to come, with a hilarious and visually stunning set piece involving the team trying to take down a huge creature, whilst a baby grout amuses himself as he is too young to take part. Fantastic! What follows is just a fun film which doesn’t take it self too seriously (apart from the aforementioned try hard moments) and provides stunning cinematography with another iconic (maybe not so much as the first film) soundtrack.
There seems to be a hell of a lot more humour in this one from the get go. Granted, the first film had the job of establishing characters and relationships, so it was probably a bit harder to go as slap stick as this one goes, but this one is definitely funnier. Some have said that it is too over the top with the humour and sure, maybe this is why the more serious moments did jar slightly with me. But I generally found this sequel more entertaining than its predecessor.
I’m still intrigued as to how these guys are going to slot themselves into the ‘Infinity War’ story and can’t wait to see how it plays out. My guess is that our team of Avengers will begin the battle in the first chapter of the two part epic, and there will be a significant loss to the team. At which point, word will get out and Gamora & Nebula will catch wind of where Daddy is, and set a course for the Guardians to venture to Quills home planet. The current theme in the MCU for the last few films, seems to be setting up the idea that just like the comics, the team rosters will change and we’ve already had a glimpse of the next possible line up of Avengers minus Iron Man, Hulk and Thor. In keeping with that, this film also, for keen eyed fans – teases at another possible team of Guardians for a future handover.
This film has everything the first film does and more. It is a little of a simplified plot to some degree and isn’t as far sprawling across space as it’s original, but this is up there with one of my favourites Marvels to date. Just very good, shameless fun!