(Rated PG-13) 3 1 /2 guardians (out of 4)
The superhero take over of theaters has begun with the release of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, the sequel to the 2014 original. Even though I am a comic book geek, I must confess before the release of the 2014 original I knew little about the Guardians.
I certainly had seen pictures of them, but that was the extent of my knowledge of the space wondering crew. To me the Guardians are more “Star Wars” than Avengers due to their travels in the cosmos. If you saw the first film, all the wise-cracking characters are back: Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt); Gamora (Zoe Saldana); Drax (Dave Bautista); Baby Groot (Vin Diesel); Rocket (Bradely Cooper). Also joining in the story are Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), sister of Gamora, and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). The jest of the story involves Peter finally meeting his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), and how his supposed dad is actually up to no good.
Ego is actually a Celestial, a mysterious and ancient cosmic being, who in the film is seen in human form but is actually a “living planet”. Got all that? We are talking a comic book movie after all. At the beginning of the movie the Guardians are fighting off a horrible monster bent on stealing valuable batteries from the Sovereign race (solid gold in appearance), in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula if they are victorious. During the course of the film the Guardians are separated a great deal, which is a weak point of the film as these characters function better when together. After all, what is better than seeing Drax hurl insults at Peter, and baby Groot hanging after all the Guardians. The plot gets a bit heavy-handed when Peter interacts with Ego, but I suppose there needs to be at least a bit of drama between all the insults and witty dialogue.
The Guardians are provided plenty of opportunity to fight in space and on the ground, and the film moves at a steady pace. The Sovereign race in all their gold splendor provide a creepy touch with their too perfect looks and lifestyle. The film kept my attention throughout even though I, along with those not familiar with the comic book, may have been lost at times, so I recommend taking an expert on the Guardians to the film with you. The highlight of the film for me was the often confused baby Groot, and the daring Rocket, a talking racoon, for those who are clueless about the character. With plenty of action, a plot twist here and there, and actors comfortable with their characters, leads this film to be par with the first film. I felt the film was trying too hard at times to ram as many jokes as possible into the film to please non-comic fans. While that is not a bad aspect, at some point the filmmakers need to reign back on the jokes just a bit. While all Marvel films contain a scene or scenes at the end of the film, this one contains 5, and nearly all of them left me confused if not for a good explanation from my friend Daniel. If you are looking for a fun “popcorn” flick, then take flight with the Guardians in their new adventure “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”.