Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell, Bradley Cooper, Cheyanna Lavon Zubas, Sylvester Stallone (Rated M – 137 min).
The encore of Star-Lord at the forefront can’t match the sneaky overwhelming surprise fun of Volume One, however the virtuoso ensemble of irreverent intergalactic self proclaimed guardians is still an absolute blast. Albeit deeper, darker with too many plot lines which is fine for progression if one does not expect closure.
Since the 2014 original, our anti-heroes are still being tracked by various space hunters in particular blue Yondu (Michael Rooker) with his loop to loop accurate arrow of death until the team are suddenly saved by Ego (Kurt Russell), a mysterious man who ‘is’ his own living planet.
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) style revelations are made on the spot with emotions high for Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) learning fragments of his foggy childhood stopping just short of pandering or being a monumental Greek style tragedy.
In the meantime, gold-plated aliens led by Australia’s own Elizabeth Debicki (Great Gatsby, Man From Uncle) remain in pursuit while an assortment of romantic arcs are also inflated to both sweet and awkward.
Among the standout special effects-laden battles, the comedy works best when one-liners seem off the cuff as the obviously scripted jokes are less naturally effective on the run. Music, or the quoted mix-tape soundtrack, is important to everything. Cool classic rock-pop songs craft whole scenes and part of the entire retro rogue style it excels in. Pop culture references are at a premium.
Cameos will be welcomed by all, especially Marvel comic universe fans already aware that next year’s release, Avenger’s Infinity Wars, may or may not link into the misfit Guardians. Pay attention to details in the background at times too.
Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) ironically has a three word vocabulary that remains the perfect anecdote to any troubled situation as opposed to outspoken colleague Rocket (Bradley Cooper), the rudest racoon in the universe.
Not a better sequel but the high spirit of Volume One is in tact. Definitely big screen must-see for pure blockbuster enjoyment. Legendary Sylvester Stallone shows up but I’m not telling you who he plays. And as is almost a custom now, do not leave before the end credits are done.
Shane A. Bassett