Marvel hit us with another Awesome Mix.
Marvel’s cinematic universe, arguably, is the greatest ever, a true milestone of this film age that continues to impress. Proof of that was in the studio’s gamble back with the first Guardians, which turned out to be one of the most charming, fun-filled oddball superhero outings ever seen, not to mention a killer soundtrack. Director James Gunn has took us back to our favourite team’s galaxy in an adventure that shoots for the stars but loses its grip on occasion.
The Guardians of the Galaxy – Star Lord aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot – are on the run from a pretentious but dangerous group called The Sovereign. They then run into a mysterious figure called Ego (Kurt Russell) who claims to be Quill’s long lost father.
It seems like Marvel are incapable of disappointment. The lowest of the series came from Thor: The Dark World and even then it had moments of greatness. Thankfully, this sequel doesn’t forget what made the original so loved – the Guardians themselves. Much of the film is spent enjoying their dysfunctional dynamic, with Rocket and Quill going at each other’s throats throughout. Bautista’s Drax is in fine form also, stealing the film’s best lines (“I have famously huge turds” brought out a cackle), and Saldana’s Gamora is given more attention. One thing is for sure though, everyone needs a Baby Groot. Potentially the cutest character to ever grace screens, he’s also a force to be reckoned with. You could easily spend 2 hours just watching the group bicker and banter, but it’s a movie so we need a plot and villain somewhere, which is sadly where we lose rhythm.
From the outstanding opening sequence which showcases Gunn’s wicked humour and puts Baby Groot in the spotlight, you feel right at home. Like Star Wars, Guardians has its own tone that people will compare other films to in years to come (much like Lockout being described as Die Hard in space). That is something truly special, a fact Gunn clearly knows well as he turns up the volume consistently. The perfect cast includes Michael Rooker’s return as loveable space pirate Yondu, playing a much bigger role. Then we have Russell’s Ego, which despite the faults with the way he is handled scriptwise, is on point thanks to Russell’s reliable charm. From Fast and Furious 8 to this, he’s clearly having the time of his life across the titanic franchises.
But it has to be said, there are issues. Whilst it’s a relief Gunn hasn’t lost his touch, the film has a tendency to give us too much of a good thing, losing the balance of the first particularly towards the end. Some jokes don’t land either, and the soundtrack – with the exception of a few numbers, such as ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac – simply doesn’t live up to Vol.1. Sadly, this does mean it loses its charm at times, but thankfully the misfires don’t outweigh the hits. The action is splendid, with screen-burstingly colourful, galaxy hopping sequences (the best scene in the film is a totally bonkers, LSD-ridden galaxy trip that brought out more laughs than some of the best comedies). Tears of laughter and sadness are all to be expected, as this outing may not be as fresh, but it has one thing if nothing else – a beating heart.
To sum it up…
It won’t top the “Best MCU Films” lists, but it’s still a hilarious, terrifically entertaining blockbuster. The wait for the Guardians to meet that other superhero team is more painful than ever. In short, I am Groot.
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Author: Cameron Frew