by Jai Hutchison
“I’m Mary Poppins Ya’ll!” (Yondu)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Director: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn
Based on the Marvel comics by: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
The Guardians are back for what we hope will be a fun filled, action packed, side splitting adventure of a movie! And for the most part, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 holds up to that. Returning to our screens for this second instalment is Chris Pratt as our Guardians' leader Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord, Zoe Saldana as the stunning Gamora, Dave Bautista as the quirky Drax, the cocky Rocket voiced by Bradley Cooper, and melting our hearts is Baby Groot voiced by Vin Diesel. When we first rejoin our Guardians, they are mid-battle with an Abilisk: an inter-dimensional monster that eats energy sources.
After they defeat the Abilisk and get Nebula, the Guardians set off only to be attacked by the Sovereign’s drones due to, as Drax reveals, Rocket stealing some Anulax Batteries. Oops! But thankfully a mysterious ship passes by, defeating the entire Sovereign drones, saving our Guardians and allowing them to make a sharp exit, and a crash landing on a nearby planet. This mysterious ship however follows the Guardians onto this planet, and we discover that aboard the ship is Ego the Living Planet, played by Kurt Russell. Ego is a celestial and a member of a primordial race with god-like powers, and beyond that, he is Star-lord’s father. This is where the main plot of the movie stems from: Star-Lord finding his father and discovering his celestial heritage.
Although the main story focuses on Star-Lord’s relationship with his father, there are several other stories that take place throughout the movie. In this more intimate sequel there is an ongoing theme of family. As well as finally discovering his biological father and going through a variety of emotions with this discovery, Star-Lord also goes through a journey of self-discovery and questions his relationship with Yondu, played by Michael Rooker. Yondu also goes through quite a transition in regards to which side he is on and what his priorities are throughout this movie. We are also given an analysis of the relationship between sisters Nebula, played by Karen Gillan, and Gamora, including how Thanos affected their history as well as their present relationship. In the first movie their sibling relationship was portrayed quite black and white with Nebula being the bad guy and Gamora the good, however it is a lot more complex than that, and we really get to see that in this movie.
As well as our beloved Guardians, there are also some new additions to the cast line up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. As mentioned we meet Star-Lord’s father, Ego, and with him he brings Mantis. Mantis, played by Pom Klementieff, is an empath and she also has the ability to manipulate the emotions of others. She has lived alone with Ego since a very young age and due to this does not know how to interact well with others. She does however bond well with the Guardians, especially Drax, adding to the awkward dynamic of the group, which works really well.
There was one new character that for me did not work. Actually let me rephrase that. I was not a fan of the actor playing the role of Stakar Ogord. I was really disappointed with this casting. I don’t know what happened here, I mean the guy can barely talk, never mind act. I think maybe his agent called up Sarah Finn (casting) and said something along the lines of “err.. Sly has always wanted to be in a Marvel movie, it’s on his bucket list, please?” Money talks right? For me Sylvester Stallone was the only thing in this movie that did not work and that I did not enjoy.
Just like with the first movie, this one too is packed with visual effects. And if you are planning to see it, I recommend you do so in IMAX. The scenes are presented in an expanded 1.9:1 aspect ratio, which allows audiences to see 26% more of the image than in standard movie theatres. If that isn’t enough to convince you, you can watch director James Gunn HERE giving his IMAX explanation. Gunn also states that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will have “the biggest visual effect of all time”. Speaking with Empire Magazine about the sequel, the director spoke proudly of the work involving Ego The Living Planet and stated:
“We have over a trillion polygons on Ego’s planet. It’s the biggest visual effect of all time. There’s nothing even close to it. Which is cool.”
The movie is impressive visually and I would recommend that you see it in IMAX, but I don’t think it compares to what we saw visually in the MCU movie Doctor Strange.