Big Screen: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
May 24th 2017
More than any other Marvel film, the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise captures the spirit of comics. They’re fun, they’re zany, and they’re usually filled with a madcap blend of sarcastic quips and dynamic action-scenes to keep the punters happy.
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, director James Gunn takes that Guardians formula and gives it new life. The space-faring mercenaries are back, led by Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, aka Star Lord. They’re as banterous and mismatched as you remember them, only this time they’re at the height of their powers – meaning Gunn had to find new and interesting ways to challenge the group.
When the Guardians crash-land onto a planet after a deal gone bad, they run into Quill’s father Ego – because, comics. Intent on starting up a new relationship with his son, Ego invites half the gang back to his home world, while team members Rocket Raccoon and Groot The Tree fix the ship. Again, comics.
That’s when things start to get really good. Unlike the first film, Vol. 2 doesn’t need to show how well the team operates together. We’ve seen that movie already. So instead, Gunn splits the group – demonstrating why each member deserves to be called a Guardian of the Galaxy, but also giving us these moments where they rise above their catch-phrases to develop as characters.
Even the villains of the movie blow most other Marvel films out of the water. The Guardians aren’t chased by generic bad guys who need swathes of exposition to justify their actions. They’re chased by former employers who are pissed that the team broke their contract. Space pirates get involved, because their messy internal politics conflict with the Guardians. I didn’t need to be told why the villains were the villains, I knew because I’d seen it on the screen. That’s just good writing!
Gunn’s direction has evolved as well. He did things with the action scenes that we don’t often see in break-neck blockbusters. He allowed for pauses. Those pauses make the inevitable destruction and visual gags way funnier. While the original Guardians film was divided into clear action and comedy scenes, Vol. 2 does a great job of combining the two, making it a genuine action comedy not just an action film with comedic bits attached.
As a result, the film resonated with me way more than the first one. The Guardians might have been separated, but they were linked by an emotional core. It felt like a more accomplished story and culminated in, what I thought, was a pretty beautiful payoff.
If Vol. 1 was about finding your new family, then Vol. 2 is about appreciating your friends. Grab your mates and go have some fun with it.