The first Guardian film was a surprise hit, no-one including Marvel anticipated the films success. No box office names on screen, a CGI racoon and tree as part of a gang with a convoluted origin story.
This time around, a large fan-base exists, Chris Pratt “Starlord” is a big star, Bradley Cooper “Rocket” (voice) is much in demand, as is Zoe Saldana “Gomarra”. Expectations are high and with Kurt Russell joining the film as “Ego”, over hype is possible.
The film starts with one of the best pre/during credits sequences ever set to film. ELO’s “Mr Blue Sky” sales will increase exponentially. If you don’t have a smile on your face at the end of dancing Baby Groot, you should check your pulse.
Of course like any Bond film opening, the movie must settle and does so well. The gang are all back, including “Drax” Dave Bautista, unfiltered as ever. The sister relationship dynamic between Gomarra and “Nebula” Karen Gillan is further “explored”, the therapy approach is both unorthodox and explosive.
“Yondu” Michael Rooker interacts with the gang more than before, bringing his controllable curve bow with him again. The film also reintroduces the sweet “Mantis” Pom Klementieff, although Drax has differing opinions on her charms.
Plot wise the film is messy and rather self indulgent, the tone so brilliantly captured in the first film is somewhat erratic. All fun, penis, turd jokes and talking car references one minute, deaths and poignancy the next.
A new race is also introduced to the series, perfect beings covered in gold led by “Ayesha” Elizabeth Debicki, whether they turn out to be good trading partners is part of the story-line.
However, is it fun? hell yeah. Any film with a cute talking tree voiced by Vin Diesel and a murderous racoon is never going to fail but it could have been tighter with writer/director James Gunn excesses reigned in with a simpler story-line.
All the actors are clearly having fun, Van Diesel shows his considerable range, “I am Groot”. Cooper relishes every line, Bautista continues to impress. Pratt and Saldana continue their gentle unresolved sexual tension (UST) dance, literally at one point. Russell later unbalances the dynamics and story-line, essentially a fault of the screenplay, not the actor.
Music was also a huge part of the first film, mix-tape vol.2 is evident here and again the film uses older classics to great effect, especially the opening sequence.
The film descends into the usual orgy of CGI effects towards the end, which is pity. The film is more entertaining when concentrating on banter within the group/family. When the script concentrates on these interactions, the film is better for it. Baby Groot confirming bomb arming instructions and the search for a roll of tape, is a case in point
Watch out for multiple post credit sequences and an unexpected star cameo.
Despite not entirely avoiding the inevitable “difficult second album” syndrome, this remains an entertaining and enjoyable second outing.