Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the biggest surprises of 2014. No one expected it to be a hit. Despite having no big stars attached to it (Chris Pratt was not yet a box-office commodity) and despite them pulling from an obscure source material, the film raked in a major bank. While every other superhero flick was cautious about their humor and scared of seeming campy, Guardians didn’t take itself too seriously. It was fun and silly with loads of humor and it hit big with audiences around the world.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 takes the same outright humor and multiplies it by two.
The film opens with the legendary Kurt Russell sweet talking the object of his affection. It must be said though that what you’ll see is the young Kurt Russell. Think Overboard Kurt Russell or maybe Big Trouble in Little China Kurt Russell–with the big hair and the smug grin. We quickly realize that the woman he is so intent on wooing is Peter Quill’s mother. For the uninformed, that is not a spoiler; it’s actually crystal clear in the trailers. On one hand, the opening sequence immediately answers the question that hovered over the first film: “Who is Star-Lord’s father?” while simultaneously setting the tone for the rest of the new film as it is drenched in daddy issues.
We then catch up with our beloved group of space misfits carrying on with business as usual, guarding the galaxy as their name implies: Star-Lord as the de facto leader, and the rest of the gang not following his lead. At all. After successfully fending off your space variety leviathan, The Guardians go and do what they really do best: they offend an alien race. Rocket has stolen from a group called The Sovereign, an extremely powerful, genetically-perfect race with the sense of humor of a tin can. They are led by a creature named Ayesha played by Elizabeth Debicki giving her best Tilda Swinton impersonation.
Outnumbered and overmatched, The Guardians flee and thus encounter Ego (Kurt Russell). They seek refuge on Ego’s home planet which turns out to be…him. Ego is literally a planet. Ego then goes on to reveal that Star-Lord is his spawn.
One of the best aspects of this film is the fact that the depth of the characters is thoroughly explored. Yes, there are explosions and flashy sequences, but James Gunn really focuses on their story more than anything else. He goes to great lengths to examine each character’s story and struggle. Sometimes slowing down the film We see how Peter comes to grips with the fact that his dad is an actual god. We see Gamora try to iron out her relationship with her step-sister Nebula. We see Rocket tussle with his own issues. Even some of the smaller characters from the last film get some shine. Yondu (Michael Rooker) makes a case for one of the most charming characters this time around.
Easter eggs and great cameos abound Vol. 2. Most notably, we get a quick look at Sly Stallone thus marking the first time Russell and Stallone have shared the screen since Tango and Cash. If you listen very closely, you’ll also hear Seth Green’s voice at some point in the film.
As is the case with many sequels, it fails to capture the same magic, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is still damn good. You can tell that James Gunn made the film with lots of love: love for the source material and love for the superhero genre.
Oh and it’s a Marvel movie, so stay for the post credit scenes. There are 5 of them. That’s right, there are f-i-v-e post credit scenes.