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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Movie Review

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - Movie Review

4 stars…in which writer/director James Gunn (Slithers) invites us to dance right alongside him to the deep cuts of the 1970s that he has playing on the turntable in his head AND heart.  Can I get an amen!  Our lovable ragtag gang of spaced invaders is back! 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an unyielding sequel that explores – now that these cosmic avengers have been assembled – the ramifications of their actions in the Marvel Universe.  Things have gotten easier and harder for the hard-hitting crew.  While Marvel has had its fair share of weak sequels (Iron Man and Thor), writer/director James Gunn keeps his trigger finger itchy and helps to make this second installment in the ongoing Guardians franchise a whole hell of a lot of wacky fun. 

I’m a comic book geek.  Growing up, I had a core of friends who understood that passion.  There were also those who didn’t.  However, I am still tripping out over some of the visuals I thought I’d never see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Guardians Vol. 2 goes deep into Marvel’s cosmic catalog and that makes me forget all the bullying my friends and I took back in the day.

Even if its plot is predictable, the characters zooming in and out of focus in this cosmic stomp are strong.  Gunn knows the material and beefs this aspect up, masking the straight path of the plot.  The type of fun these characters are having is truly contagious (and worth the extra 20 minutes in the running time).  If you are anything like me, that alone will keep you coming back for more as our heroes have now become gigging agents of hire after word spreads of Ronan’s defeat.  Pay us and we’ll take care of your big bad monsters.

And the Lovecraftian monster at the beginning of the movie is just a snippet of the new kind of thrills they are experiencing together as a team.  The sequence, full of great moments for the main cast, definitely gets the movie vibing in all the right places. 

Admittedly, Guardians Vol. 2 might not quite be up to the highs of the original, but – thanks to hefty sprinkling of comedic bits, playful infighting for its expanded cast, and a memorable villain (a usual weak spot for Marvel) – there’s a good a good enough contact high to keep the film buzzing.  All the pieces are in place to make for a spectacular spacey adventure – with colors and vistas that arguably have never been arranged so vividly – that reveals Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) mysterious papa, the human form of Ego The Living Planet (Kurt Russell) and a dark underbelly of activity that definitely (maybe) suggests the rumbling of war is coming all too soon.

The cool thing about the second film in the franchise is the way that Gunn – who everyone suspected would take the heat for Marvel’s first flop (remember?) – has doubled down on everything that made the first film so insanely grand and geekalicious.  We get more songs (with the use of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” being a really nice moment for the group), more splashes of neon soaked colors, more pop culture references, and much more heart.  We also get a sense of humor that is both engaging and ridiculous and truly of its own otherworldy creation.

To top it off, the Stan Lee cameos get an explanation that will melt even the coldest of Marvel’s fans.  It all makes sense now!  He’s a … (nuff said)

Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista, whose literal interpretations continue to make him the comedic champion), Rocket Raccoon (again voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) are all in tow.  Quill can’t go wrong with this team.  Things might go unexpectedly bizarre, but never wrong.  Yet it is Michael Rooker’s Yondu and a whistle-guided arrow that steals a lot of the show, proving that Rooker is an untapped architect of mayhem for Hollywood.  Karen Gillan’s Nebula is also of interest in her constant back-and-forth with Gamora. 

With Pom Klementieff as Mantis and Sylvester Stallone as Starhawk along with his Ravagers (I’ll leave some surprises) rounding out the cast, it becomes easy to see that Gunn doesn’t even try to match the original when it comes to the story.  There are simply too many characters.  There are also blink-and-you’ll-miss cameos and namedrops that stretch to Nova clear to Adam Warlock.  Everyone from Jeff Goldblum to Howard the Duck (Seth Green) is in this one.  Fortunately, all of the characters in this dazzling alignment of worlds are very colorful and interesting and that’s where the movie, for me, earns its wings. 

If you like weird and kooky characters doing incredibly cool things in space, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is your summertime jam.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.
Runtime:
136 mins
Director
: James Gunn
Writer:
James Gunn
Cast:
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
Genre
: Fantasy | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Obviously.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You need to find a woman who's pathetic, like you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Official Site: https://marvel.com/guardians
Release Date:
May 5, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians sequel continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.

No details available.

 

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