With Marvel now apparently able to pump out successful films at will, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 landed this spring to an expectant global audience that had made the first film such a massive – and unexpected – hit.
Set just a few months after the first instalment, this one sees our disparate bunch of heroes fighting off attacks by the genetically engineered Sovereign people, after Rocket steals from them for the sheer hell of it.
Hopelessly outnumbered, they bump into a godlike being who helps them escape – but what does he want in return?
In the meantime, the leader of the Sovereigns has hired Yondu to hunt them down, Gamora and Nebula are continuing their sibling rivalry and Baby Groot is slowly growing, but is confused about buttons on nuclear bombs.
It’s been suggested that this new film doesn’t feel as fresh as the first – well, there was never going to be quite the surprise factor – but it’s a rollicking good romp, with banter, action and laughs by the bucketload.
Chris Pratt as Star Lord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Groot, Michael Rooker as Yondu and Karen Gillan as Nebula all reprise their 2014 roles, while they’re joined here most noticeably by Kurt Russell as the celestial Ego and Sly Stallone as a Ravager leader.
And of course, Stan Lee gets to have his now expected cameo (except here, it serves to ensure that Stallone is not the poorest actor in the whole shebang).
It would be easy to assume that a film like this is easy money for Diesel, who only has one line to say as Groot – “I am Groot” – but he has to say it so many different ways and say it so slowly that it won’t be lost when it’s processed that he more than earns his corn.
The underlying theme of family works well and benefits from being handled lightly and never allowed to water down the rebellious nature of a bunch of characters who are accidental heroes with attitude rather than boring, sanctimonious super saints.
The whole looks great and the latest Awesome Mix Tape helps keep things going nicely.
So, it’s huge fun – do wait until the very, very end of the titles before leaving – and more than enough to make you glad that writer and director James Gunn has made it clear that there will be a third film.