It’s showtime, A-Holes!
In 2014, Marvel Studios introduced audiences to their first galactic family in Guardians of the Galaxy. Starring rising Hollywood star Chris Pratt as the wise-cracking Star Lord, along with Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, and voice acting by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, Marvel gave a glimpse into the hilarious adventures beyond the grounded challenges facing Earth’s heroes. The unexpected success of a relatively unknown property warranted a sequel by the superhero movie studio. I think this sequel checked the most important boxes to remind us how much fun it was with these characters.
Picking up the story three months after the original film, the Guardians: Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Batista), Rocket (voiced by Cooper), and the adorable Baby Groot (voiced by Diesel) have established themselves as galactic heroes for hire. While collecting bounties and pissing off royal sovereign worlds, Quill has questions about his lineage after finding out that he is half-human during the first film. As the heroes avoid capture by the Ravagers, led by Quill’s former employer and role model, Yondu (Michael Rooker), they encounter the all-powerful Ego (Kurt Russell). Revealing himself as Peter’s biological father, Ego leads the Guardians into his world while seeking to fulfill a hidden agenda.
This installment into the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t its best, but definitely one of the more colorful and funniest. The chemistry between the main cast remains entertaining as they sling insults while protecting one another. Each character has their own shining moment, especially Yondu, Rocket, Baby Groot, and Quill. Saldana and Gillan have wonderful scenes together as we explore the relationship between the sisters. The new cast members seem to fit in with the original crew as Kurt Russell plays Ego with a airy grooviness to him that you could instantly trust. The empathic Mantis played by Pom Klementieff had comedic chemistry and bonds with the no-nonsense Drax out of all the Guardians. Baby Groot is as adorable as you think, but still as violent. Chris Pratt once again shines as the leader, cracking jokes and exploring the emotional depths of his character.
While it took a little while for the plot to get to its core after the first act, the action picked up in the second and third. Saving the galaxy again is the main goal for the heroes but the subplots dominate the film. The story of being and remaining a family and the father-son relationship is where the real meat of the plot lies. Peter learns two lessons from this adventure: an person can be a father but a real man is a daddy and what you are looking for could already be standing in front of you. It’s that unspoken thing that we realize when the time is right (and there are a few unspoken things in this film). The effects are dazzling and full of color so you’ll get the full effect of the movie in IMAX. If you were worried about the soundtrack, don’t worry. While it’s not full of Pop like Volume 1, Volume 2 is filled with songs with deep meaning to the story or just to make the audience feel good during that particular scene. Songs such as Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”, Jay & The Americans “Come a Little Bit Closer” (used to hilarious effect), and Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” will have you going out to buy the soundtrack after the movie (I’ve already listened to it on and off for the past week).
While this film was not as strong as the original, Volume 2 holds its own and establishes the Guardians of the Galaxy as a solid story separate from the Earth-grounded Avengers. The next time we’ll see this band of A-holes will be next summer’s Avengers: Infinity War and I think they will be more than ready. Go out and get the summer started with this amazing Marvel Cinematic Universe installment.