Produced by Kevin Feige
Written and Directed by James Gunn
Based on Guardians of the Galaxy
by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista,
Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker,
Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki,
Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone,
and Kurt Russell
BEWARE! SPOILERS BELOW!
The lovable bunch of a-holes are back in Vol. 2, the much anticipated sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy.
Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) leads and ends up expanding the team who have garnered a galactic reputation as true Guardians in the months since the last film.
So much so, that Peter’s father, a comic book favorite Ego (The Living Planet) played by Kurt Russell sprouts up to reunite with his son.
Much like the first film, James Gunn uses humor and a thick goopy layer of ’70s and ’80s nostalgia to gel the team together. Dave Bautista performance as Drax the Destroyer induces belly laughs, but is given space to breathe in the expanse of space.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) kicks plenty of ass and we are given more insight into the shared childhood experience of her and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). Gillen gives more to her blue alter-ego than she did with her debut in the first film, this Nebula is sympathetic, and grows on you but we find out this time around what her motivation is to go toe to metallic toe against Gamora.
It turns out their father Thanos wasn’t such a great guy. Who would have guessed?
Is there anyone else on the team? Who might I be missing? Oh yeah, right! The adorable dancing Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) and his furry bio-engineered friend Rocket (Bradley Cooper). The movie opening credit sequence puts Baby Groot front and center as the team rages against a space beast in the background as Groot dances to the retro tunes playing on a boom box. Rocket is there to support the team in battle because he has the best inventions, but still can’t seem to get along with everyone all of the time.
You won’t think that you will laugh when Baby Groot says, “I am Groot” again…but you will. Oh you will!
When the team is brought to the golden High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) we see a side of Quill we haven’t seen before! In a nod to Captain Kirk, Star-Lord proposes the idea of teaching her the old way of breeding, as her people the Sovereign have all been genetically engineered. And when I say Kirk, I mean full on Shatner! Well played.
With a nice callback to the ‘Galaga’ line in The Avengers, The Sovereign control their space armada remotely in a room of pods, while classic video game noises ping and ding. James Gunn must have played a lot of the full sized After Burner in his childhood!
Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his sideman Kraglin (Sean Gunn) appear as we are introduced to a whole slew of Reavers, the space pirates that Quill was raised among. Yondu is disavowed by Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone) for breaking a Reaver code not to deal with children as assets, and when Yondu stole the young Quill that was grounds for dismissal. Even with a tiny bit of screen time, Stallone’s appearance is awesome.
I started out with a warning about spoilers, some might be offended by mentions of Stallone’s character without such a warning, but I will not reveal the biggest moments of the film. By the time you read this you may have gone to a Star Wars Day Guardians double feature! That’s a great way to celebrate, and I did prep for the thing myself by rewatching Vol.1.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe really is expanding like the Big Bang, as evidenced by scenes in Doctor Strange, Ant-Man and the upcoming Thor:Ragnarok.
GOTG VOL.2 is a large scale space movie that separates itself from Star Wars and Star Trek by including Stan, Jack and Jim Starlin’s ideas about Celestials and Eternals, the concepts of ‘gods’ — lowercase ‘g’. Much to be said for the respect toward Bill Mantlo and the Abnett and Lanning runs on the Guardians comics as well.
Starting from a virtually unknown property to the general public to being a blockbuster movie of the summer is really something else. Who else did that? Oh yeah, it was Iron Man, the keystone to Marvel Studios success.
Come for the Groot, stay for the emotions, and have a great time laughing and slapping your knee at this over-the-top GOTG movie experience. James Gunn and Company, you have done it again.