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Critic Column: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Marvel have launched many films over the last few years as they continue their all out assault to conquer Hollywood, with none a more risky venture than Guardians of the Galaxy saga. The first film had us hooked on a feeling; the second installment however didn’t quite go all the way…

I remember leaving the cinema following the first film unsure what I’d just seen yet enjoying it more than any Marvel film I had seen to that point (disclaimer: Deadpool had not yet been released). Marvel had managed to turn the lazy fat guy from Parks and Recreation into a comic book Captain Kirk. It literally had audiences worldwide buying into a weapon-toting raccoon and a tree with a speech impediment more so than established comic book heroes from the Avengers.

We screamed for more and the ever audacious (and Disney owned) Marvel studios had obviously predicted this by promising the return of this lovable band of misfits long before the end credit scenes (that hardcore fans remain seated for) had even begun. It has been a long wait since 2014 – not that we haven’t had enough superhero films to keep us going! – but it has been worth it.

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Global Panorama – Flickr

Whilst the first film was focused on launching Chris Pratt’s career and a plot that introduced us to this unfamiliar realm of the comic book world; the sequel has spent time and carefully placed one liners to develop the other members of the squad just in time for the colossal gathering for Infinity War.

I don’t think the plot was as good as the first film and certainly Ronan/Thanos were stronger, intriguing and more evolved villains providing extra oomph to an already stacked film. The sequel however, relies on arcade-shooter game playing Ferrero Rochers and an unexpected plot twist to try and match up to which in my opinion it fails.

I was also disappointed that John C Reilly and the lovable people of Xander didn’t at least make cameos though I understand the need to show us other corners of the galaxy under their guardianship.

However, if there were a set of characters strong enough to take over a film it is these guys and without trying to ruin it for anyone Drax absolutely steals the show. Having been limited in previous role such as Spectre, Dave Bautista has the potential to be the next successful WWE star to transfer their talents to the big screen. He apparently wasn’t initially fond of the script but his role is similar to that of fellow wrestling-turned-actor star Dwayne Johnson in Pain and Game. He is the love-able meathead who’s brains reside in their biceps whose one liners pack a Hulk sized punch! Baby Groot adds cute relief that should be incredibly relatable for any parents at the screening whilst giving a whole new spin to the character and his relationship with Rocket though I fail to see how Vin Diesel was credited for the voice over!

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Gage Skidmore – Flickr

Mantis was an interesting addition to the cast who enabled Drax to really bounce off a character in ways limited in the first film whilst the returns of Yondu and Nebula were strongly welcomed and enabled some emotional character development. For big 70/80s movie fans there’s also an expensive and unnecessary cameo from Sylvester Stallone who I can only assume was scripted in due to his alien inability to speak human dialects.

There’s an element to the film that feels like it was potentially rushed in order to squeeze it in before the Infinity Wars keep all the stars busy because the plot seemed weak in terms of its backbone whilst the soundtrack was a lot weaker with ELO and Fleetwood Mac being its saving grace. The film still has some incredible action scenes, beautiful film imagery and the humorous/cheeky edge that made the first so successful but I feel they missed a beat by straying from the Thanos story line Marvel had appeared to be heading towards.

A strong sequel that is packed full of entertainment whilst at no point straying beyond the natural end time but not quite hitting the bar set so high by the previous attempt. I certainly look forward to the Infinity Wars and seeing how they tie these characters with the Avengers but I do wonder if the ideas board of Marvel is beginning to become stale.

 

7/10

 

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