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TAC Reviews...Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

 

The fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy sees Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper reprising their roles as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket respectively. Joining them is Michael Rooker as Yondu also reprising the role, but new cast members include Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Trailer

 

Guardians of the Galaxy was a film that made Chris Pratt into a star and thrust him onto the Hollywood A-List, so many people were keen to see him return to this role, myself amongst them. Naturally the trailers made this film look pretty awesome, but Marvel trailers have stung me before, so the question of whether or not this film was as good as I was hoping will be answered later, but first let me bring you up to speed…

 

In 1980 Missouri, we see two people on Earth, the woman describing the man as her “space-man” and he planets something on the ground that looks like a flower. Jumping ahead 34 years the Guardians of the Galaxy have been hired by a powerful leader of a race called the Sovereigns to kill a creature that is attempting to steal sacred batteries from them, in exchange the Guardians want Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula handed over to them (after she was arrested after trying to steal the batteries). They are successful but during the mission Rocket decides to steal some batteries although the other Guardians are unaware, Drax finds out but finds it more amusing than anything else. However, the Sovereigns realise they have taken batteries and send a fleet of drone ships after them to kill them. Their ship is heavily damaged but they are saved by a figure in a strange pod-like craft but their ship crash lands in a nearby planet. The pilot of the ship that saved them, lands and identifies himself as Ego (Russell) and claims that he is Peter’s real father.

 

Meanwhile Yondu and his crew have been exiled from the Raveger community for child trafficking, something that goes against the Ravager code. They are hired by the Sovereigns to go after the Guardians and reclaim the batteries. They track them to the planet they crashed on but Peter, Gamora, and Drax have already left with Peter’s father to his home planet to learn if he is who he claims to be. Groot and Rocket are captured, and Yondu is imprisoned after his crew mutiny against him. Nebula is also captured by she makes a deal with the Ravager crew. Yondu’s supports in the crew are executed by the mutineers by throwing them out of an airlock into space. The only hope the pair have of escaping from their prison on the ship is to rely on Baby Groot who wasn’t killed or imprisoned because he was too cute.

 

On Ego’s planet, Ego tells Peter about himself and Peter’s mother, and that he had to return to his own world or he’d die which is why he [Ego] abandoned her on Earth. He ordered Yondu to retrieve Peter from Earth after his mother’s death but Yondu didn’t deliver him, and Ego has been searching for him ever since. It was only after Peter was able to hold an Infinity Stone (from the end of the first film) in his hand without being killed immediately that Ego was able to find him, because no human should have been able to hold an Infinity Stone without being killed.

 

As Peter starts to grow closer to his father, Rocket and Yondu escape their confinement where they high tail it to Ego’s planet because Yondu knows that Peter is in danger, and on the planet Gamora also begin to realise that Ego is not all he seems…

 

First off it is good to see the characters back and they are obviously still enjoying themselves, Dave Batista is clearly having a ball, with Baby Groot being both incredibly cute and managing to steal the show on several occasions. Peter is also still trying to get Gamora but it is unclear if she has feelings for him or not and in a rare move they didn’t get together at the end of the previous film nor do they in this one (spoiler). The retro soundtrack is also really good fun and fits superbly in with both the action sequences and slower moments. The cast have great onscreen chemistry and the characters themselves, that were forced together in the first film, are wondering if they should stay together or if they were better off on their own. This sequel also takes place only a short time after the first one so Groot is only a baby rather than the adult he was in the first film, and just like in that film he will only say “I am Groot”, albeit in a very cute voice I didn’t know Vin Diesel could do.

 

The Sovereigns are golden humanoids and are decent enough enemies, they manage to get a few good lines, and the scene where their leader is walking on a carpet that two servants are slowly rolling out for her was quite amusing. However, the fact that Rocket steals the batteries does seem to be a bit of a contrived reason for an authority to be chasing after our heroes, and give us various space battles. Fans of Farscape and the last two seasons of Stargate SG-1 will spot Ben Browder portraying a Sovereign Admiral, although, he only pops up in a couple of scenes.

 

The special effects are really good, the cast bounce off each other superbly and Batista is clearly having a ball, unfortunately, the film does have some issues.

 

Right I might as well drop this here…

 

(...Spoiler Ahead...)

 

So, the main focus on this film is how and why Peter was able to hold the Infinity Stone at the end of the previous film, and who his father was. Now in this film the writers go full, for want of a better term, balls-deep with how he was able to do this. Ego is a Celestial, basically a God-like being which basically makes Peter half-human and half-god. Ego has existed for millions, possibly billions of years and started off as consciousness but became aware, sought out new life in the galaxy, and came across numerous species as he travelled throughout space. Naturally his intentions seem harmless, he loved Peter’s mother and had to leave her otherwise he’d have remained on Earth with her and died, however, as the film progresses Gamora learns that his intentions are far more sinister…

 

 

…how original…

 

I mean seriously, how many seemingly omnipotent or omnipresent entities have we seen that are like this??? VIKKI from i, Robot that sought to make life better for everyone by taking over, Skynet that saw human beings as a virus that needed to be destroyed, the machines from The Matrix films that enslaved the human race, the Ori from Stargate SG-1, this list just goes on…supremely powerful beings always want to either enslave or destroy humans. So, guess what, it turns out that Ego is the bad guy…I know…who’d have thunk it??? Plus, when they arrive on Ego’s planet Peter starts pulling hitherto unseen superpowers from his arse, and all this because he held an Infinity Stone, couldn’t that have been left as a little bit of a mystery?? Also in the climax of the film Peter is seemingly overwhelmed by Ego’s superior powers until Ego tells him something that gives him the strength to fight back, and again, you just think why did you say that?? Did you really think that you’d win him over to your side by admitting what you did, I won’t tell you because I have spoiled a little already, but I did role my eyes a little when Ego said it.

 

This is the first time that I have really noticed it, but this film seemed to be more of a set of sequences rather than a following story, you have the sequence when they fight the monster at the beginning (the monster seen in the trailer), the sequence where they run from the Sovereigns’ ships, the sequence when they crash, the sequence when Yondu and Rocket escape their cell and take revenge on the Ravager crew that imprisoned them and killed their friends…so it goes on…the sequences are very entertaining but the story itself seemed to be a bit disjointed and seemed to want to be a smaller story about Peter’s origins but because it is called Guardians of the Galaxy…key word: GALAXY…it has to be a universe wide threat that they have to face and defeat otherwise they aren’t really Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

In my opinion the film struggles with its tone, it kind-of wants to be an action-comedy romp, like the first film, but it also wants to be a bit more gritty when dealing with the death of Peter’s mother and his issues with his father suddenly appearing after years of absence. One moment we have Stan Lee sitting on an asteroid talking to three Watcher (seriously that happens) and the next we are dealing with potential universal genocide. So there is quite a lot of times when the film jumps about, and this relates back to my previous point about it being more of a series of sequences than a flowing narrative

 

Basically the film was not as good as I thought it would be, however, I have to say that overall I did still enjoy watching it. Admittedly, it was not as good as the first one and has no links to the other Marvel films set on Earth (as there is not Infinity Stone and only a mention of Thanos) which is a pity considering the Guardians are going to meet up with the Avengers at some point so not sure how that is going to work. Anyway, it is definitely worth seeing and whilst it is by no means the worst of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it is not one of the stronger ones, like its predecessor was. I am still giving the film a Thumbs Up, and just so you know there are five, yes five, post-credits scenes.

 

 

7.5/10 – I struggled with this score because the film was not as good as the first which I gave an 8/10 but to give this one 6/10 or 7/10 seems too stingy, but 8 is too generous, so I shall stick to 7.5/10. It wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be but I wasn’t left spitting blood like I was after watching The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Like I said the film is not as good as the first one but it is definitely worth going to see…plus Abbie thought 7.5 seems a fair rating.

 

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© Chris Sharman