The first Guardians Of The Galaxy’s chief weapon was surprise. When the quirky quintet made their debut back in 2014, they represented Marvel Studios’ biggest gamble to lớn date. Sure, it was the company that had taken an Aussie surfer, given him a magic hammer và still created another hit to địa chỉ to its roster of box office behemoths, but the received wisdom was that a sci-fi film featuring a talking raccoon, a sentient tree, an ex-wrestler, a green warrior woman, và a roguish bloke best known for being the tubby guy in Parks and Recreation would be a step too far.
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Well, received wisdom can go hang. Driven by the indie, often delightfully deranged sensibilities of its director, James Gunn, Guardians was a joy, combining humour và sci-fi action in a manner that out-Star Warsed most Star Wars movies, danced a jig at the global box office, and became a fixture on many ‘Best MCU films’ lists. In short, we were Groot.
But when you’ve lost the element of surprise, following that is no easy task. Happy lớn report, though, bar a few last-act wobbles và the odd tonal shift, Gunn has done it again, crafting a sequel that keeps the focus on the characters we fell for first time around while pumping up the volume.
After the success of the first one — and perhaps learning from the travails of Joss Whedon who, by his own admission, had to lớn endure a fair amount of interference and second-guessing on Avengers: Age Of Ultron — Marvel has handed Gunn the keys lớn the kingdom. And that confidence is evident from the film’s credit sequence, which presents an kích hoạt set-piece in a hilarious and highly unorthodox manner, while giving the incredibly dễ thương Baby Groot a glorious moment in the spotlight and serving notice that 'Awesome set Vol. 2', the mix-tape that drives the film’s soundtrack, is going lớn be every bit as earwormy as 'Vol. 1'.
And, for the terrific first hour or so that seems khổng lồ be the case with the movie as well. If the first film was about bringing this group of A-holes together, then convention dictates that the sequel should be about forcing them apart. But Gunn is clearly uninterested in what he should do and so this is actually a film about the group realising that, despite their huge differences, they function best as the universe’s most dysfunctional family. Yes, family — thematically this has a lot in common with Fast và Furious 8, with the F-word said so often it would overheat Dom Toretto’s carburettor. Almost everyone here has daddy, mummy, or sister issues, with Quill in particular finding himself in a weird version of My Two Dads, torn between the dependably swaggering Russell’s aptly-named Ego và Michael Rooker’s gnarly space pirate, Yondu. But the emotions this engenders are unexpected and genuine. Beneath the film’s sass — và there’s plenty of that again — there’s a real beating heart.
Vol. 2 is at its best when this motley crew are bickering và bantering amongst themselves (with Bautista’s wonderfully unfiltered Drax getting the lion’s giới thiệu of the best lines again, including the T-shirt-worthy, "I have famously huge turds") and outside parties, this time including Ego, Pom Klementieff’s sweet Mantis & Gamora’s aggrieved sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), given more to vì this time around. Hanging out with them is so much fun that it’s a shame when Gunn finally makes a concession lớn convention & remembers that films lượt thích this typically have lớn have a) a plot and b) a villain.
With the introduction of both, that’s when the movie starts to falter. What was previously assured becomes a little abrasive and, at times, unappealing. Jokes that landed unerringly start khổng lồ miss the target, including a running gag about a bad guy called Taserface that’s not as funny as it may have seemed on paper/on set/in the edit, while one sequence which is meant lớn be a moment of triumphant heroism comes across as a tasteless misstep. And the final battle, try as it might, can’t help but become a greenscreen jamboree.
Still, even when the pixels threaten lớn overwhelm, Gunn finds refuge in his main characters. There’s plenty to lớn enjoy here, whether it’s the perfectly deployed Baby Groot moments, or a general strain of anarchic weirdness that runs all the way through the credits and which still feels unique to this franchise, not just within the MCU, but blockbusters in general. It’s easy to overlook the odd off cảnh báo when a phối is this awesome.