Back in the summer of 2014, Guardians Of The Galaxy was a surprise smash – yes, it was part of the Marvel comic universe, but it didn’t boast any characters non-comic-book fans would have heard of. And its cast consisted of an actor best known for US TV roles (Chris Pratt’s starring role in Jurassic World wasn’t til the following year), and a former wrestler (Bautista), while the lead actress (Saldana) was painted green and the two most recognisable names (Cooper and Diesel) were in voice-only roles as a raccoon and, erm, a tree.
Thanks to the infectious mix of non-stop humour, eye candy special effects, fun performances, 80s pop culture references and that addictive retro soundtrack, GotG deserved all the five star reviews it received. The challenge then, three years later, was how to follow it up with a sequel as terrific as the original.
Writer/director James Gunn and his likeable cast do a pretty good job of delivering a satisfying sequel that – while not better than the first movie – remains faithful to its quirky origins, complete with mentions of a few classic 80s heroes (parents may want to explain what Cheers and Knight Rider was for their kids to get a few of the jokes).
Beginning with a frenetic action sequence that reintroduces us to the Guardians – Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill (Pratt), Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), raccoon Rocket and adorable sapling Baby Groot – we learn that our oddball band of heroes are protecting some special batteries for a golden-skinned race of aliens led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), in return for Gamora’s twisted sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) being released into their custody. Of course it all goes wrong – these aren’t the slickest (or most honest) heroes, after all – and soon Peter and his pals find themselves on the run with a fleet of armed spaceships in hot pursuit.
Coming to their rescue is a man/god named Ego (Russell) who tells Peter he is his father, leading to two doses of family navel-gazing as Peter adjusts to having a celestial being for a dad, and Gamora wrestles with her own issues regarding her sister’s acidic sibling rivalry. With Groot, Rocket, and Rooker’s Yondu off elsewhere, these developments split up the team – a shame, as Guardians is at its most fun when they are all together, bickering – before the threads are all brought together for a slightly rushed finale.
Those quibbles aside, much of this movie is a fast, flashy, and massively fun treat, boosted by some of the most enjoyable characters (Drax, Yondu, Rocket) getting extra screen time. The star of the show, however, isn’t any of them, nor Pratt’s loveable Peter (though he gets a few nice moments). This sequel belongs to Baby Groot, from his sweeter-than-a-kitten dance at the start to his amusing appearance in one of the five (yes, five) scenes that appear during the end credits.
Come for the Marvel action, jokes and sing-a-long soundtrack but stay for the cutest plant in the history of the movies.
Is Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This is a 12A certificate in the UK due to some action sequences, fights and explosions that may scare very young viewers.
Young/sensitive children may find some of the creatures and characters frightening, especially a large squid-like alien at the start of the movie, and during the final battle at the end of the movie.
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