There is a moment in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when, after arriving on an alien planet, the film’s hero is told he can control all matter on it. He immediately cautions, “I’m gonna make some weird shit.”
Well you would, wouldn’t you? He is Peter Quill, or Star-Lord, and he and his spacefaring team continue from the first Guardians film by giving valuable batteries to the golden Sovereign alien race, in return for their member Gamora’s villainous sister Nebula. When another of the Guardians, Rocket Raccoon, decides to steal the batteries, they are pursued by Sovereign drones. They are rescued under mysterious circumstances by a man whose home planet is where Star-Lord learns of his powers, and the truth about his parentage.
The film suffers slightly from the Deadpool problem, in which the main character has all the funniest lines, leaving the villains looking humourless and at worst, undermined. Karen Gillan has a hard time making Nebula seem at all threatening when no one takes her character seriously. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an example of a sci-fi film with comedy and a sense of peril that Guardians 2 lacks. To tone down the humour of the ‘Guardians’ franchise is to weaken it, so perhaps what the superhero team need is an antagonist who can challenge their wit in both definitions of the word.
All is forgiven, however, for this is a hugely entertaining movie. Aliens struggling to behave within human social boundaries never gets old, as in Thor, and here, Dave Bautista as Drax provides excellent incomprehension. The tree-man Groot was reduced to infancy in the first film, and here Baby Groot is just as clueless and kind, and his scenes are cute without being mawkish. One in which he and Rocket are careening through space was even reminiscent of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had both the pressure of meeting the expectations of a sequel, and that of producing a difficult second album. Its soundtrack keeps to the seventies theme of the first film, and with good reason – the acoustic sounds play off the electric visuals beautifully. This is some brilliant, hilarious, and exuberant shit.
Image: Gage Skidmore
All Films reviewed at Cineworld, Edinburgh