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Monday, 1 May 2017

At The Fleapit: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)


If you love the first Guardians Of The Galaxy as much as I do, then Vol 2 is going to blow your socks off.

Is it high art? Of course not, it's extreme, delirious, cosmic comic book space opera writ large; science-fantasy done right.

Once again writer/director James Gunn have woven his magic, entrancing the audience from the get-go and holding their attention for a surprisingly quick 136 minutes.

The raucous crowd I saw the film with laughed outrageously at all the funny bits (and there were many, many funny bits) but also watched the more tender, personal, moments in rapt silence.

The story here is about family. Having become a family by the end of the original film, the team must confront the fallout from the mystery of Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) father, with the appearance of Ego (Kurt Russell).

The Guardians find themselves on the run from a race called The Sovereign, because of Rocket's sticky fingers, and Ego drops in to - apparently - save the day and re-unite with his son.

Meanwhile, there's rebellion in the ranks of The Ravagers, and Yondu (Michael Rooker), Peter's surrogate father-figure, finds himself in a sticky situation when he continues to support the Guardians.

The Ravagers have been hired by The Sovereign to capture the Guardians, and Yondu must decide where his loyalties lie.

Effortlessly juggling an even-larger ensemble cast, Gunn has taken everything that worked in the first movie and cranked it up to 11, even to the extent of having not one or two, but five extra scenes around the final credit sequence.

What begins as an action-driven, almost plot-free, sleigh-ride through wonderfully realised alien environments and races - complete with great music, cracking cameos, and a slew of comic book Easter eggs and homages - soon morphs deceptively into an intelligent (but never dull or preachy) tale about the bonds that hold families together.

With a much-more rounded villain that Ronan, this movie surpasses its predecessor on many fronts.

It could be said that it adds very little to the overall canvas of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except to open up the cosmic side - hopefully for further exploration in future films.

As it is, barring a couple of fleeting mentions of Thanos and some hero-free scenes back on Earth, Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 is pretty much self-contained from the other movies in Marvel's portfolio.

However, the main takeaway from Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 is its overwhelming sense of fun. Although it has its tragic, dark, scenes it never takes itself too seriously.

And still, after all these years, people have still not got the message that...

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