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| 24 April 2017 | Reply

Directed by James Gunn
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9 ½ /10

When a film is so big, so successful (artistically and commercially), such a huge budgeted extravaganza, and as universally loved as Guardians Of The Galaxy – even the damned soundtrack was awesome, and awesomely popular – it is impossible for everyone from the filmmakers, stars and audience not to feel the crushing pressures of higher expectations.

Sequels are almost never as good, right? With enough money to buy a country or two riding on the box office for this one, a lot of people must be wanting to have a say in the final product, and we have to be concerned that Marvel Studios haven’t over-stretched themselves with the many movie and TV franchises they’re juggling.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief – director and co-writer James Gunn has steered the ship with a firm hand and delivered a film which captures the essence of the first instalment, building on the bedrock of the Marvel comic books, full of adventure, action and fun.

The Guardians of The Galaxy – Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and the insanely cute Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) – open this second instalment protecting the golden race of the Sovereigns’ power batteries from a gnarly mutant space beast, before incurring their wrath when Rocket pockets said batteries to sell off-world.

Pursued by the Sovereigns’ battle fleet, all seems hopeless for our heroes before they are saved by the intervention of Ego (Kurt Russell) – who just happens to be Quill’s mysterious father.

Pratt balances the delicate emotional clash within as he yearns for a parent to love, whilst knowing that all is not quite right with Dad, and we rock and roll towards an amazing climax involving not only the Guardians, Ego, the Sovereigns, but also Quill’s former adoptive father figure, mercenary leader Yondu (Michael Rooker), Gamora’s treacherous sister Nebula (Karen Gillan, unrecognisable from her Doctor Who days as Amy Pond), and Mercenary chieftan Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone in a rare foray into sci fi).

“So we’re saving the galaxy again?” asks Rocket.
“I guess so,” replied Peter Quill.

Once again the soundtrack is a great mix-tape trawl through the ‘70s; the visuals are simply mind-blowing; and the performances all serve the story, which whilst playful, is never frivolous, with the destruction of the entire universe at stake. There’s meat and potatoes here underneath all the fancy garnish, and (to really stretch the metaphor) subtleties of flavour and a balanced spicyness.

There’s a lot going on in GOTG2, and Gunn has done a superb job in giving all the different threads the appropriate amount of time and depth, before expertly pulling them all together for a tour-de-force climax, ensuring that the movie will be another huge success, and the franchise will undoubtedly be back for more.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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