Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
dir-scr James Gunn
prd Kevin Feige
with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Kurt Russell, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone
release UK 28.Apr.17, UK 5.May.17
17/US Marvel 2h17
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Saving the day, again: Pratt, Saldana and Bautista

russell cooper diesel
See also:
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 More controlled than the freewheeling first film, this entertaining sci-fi action romp adds a rough sarcastic edge to its humour and a more brutally violent tone to its action. But it's still a lot of fun, thanks to the continual banter between the attitude-filled characters. And the biggest surprise is that it carries a series of strong emotional kicks in the final act.

Just as the Guardians complete an assignment, they are thrown into two separate adventures. Peter (Pratt) takes Gamora and Drax (Saldana and Bautista) to find out if the god-like Ego (Russell) is really his father, visiting a colourful paradise planet where Ego's only companion is the naive empath Mantis (Klementieff). Meanwhile, Rocket and Groot (voiced by Cooper and Diesel) face attacks by Peter's former mentor Yondu (Rooker), as well as an angry high priestess (Debicki). And then there's Gamora's sister Nebula (Gillan), whose misplaced anger draws her into the middle of the fray.

Actually, all of this movie's action is sparked by anger, with vengeance as the primary purpose. Even the team members are furious with each other, liberally exchanging raucous insults. Intriguingly, this reveals the complex emotional connections between them, which helps provide the wave of feeling as the story explores the true meaning of family: is it based on DNA or on who you rely on? But it also means that most of the on-screen interaction is caustic at best.

Each actor gets to add some depth to his or her role. Pratt has particularly strong scenes with the terrific Russell, plus amusingly pointed interaction with Saldana, who in turn also gets some powerful moments with Gillan. Rooker shines as well, adding extra meaning to his complex role, while Cooper's racoon becomes a proper lead, although his exasperation is a bit exhausting. And even with these and other nicely fleshed-out characters (plus the amusing cameos), Bautista steals the show as the jolly, loyal, hilariously un-nuanced Drax.

Writer-director Gunn gets more caught up in the demands of the genre this time. Aside from the stupendously cool title action sequence, the fights are pretty routine, complete with choppy editing and an over-reliance on digital effects. And the story's various strands frustratingly refuse to resolve themselves, taking tiny steps rather than strides. Still, the soundtrack is fabulous, and the film's design is pure eye-candy. We look forward to spending a lot more time with these characters. Even with all the mayhem, we want to live in this galaxy.

cert 12 themes, violence, language, innuendo 24.Apr.17

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