In these times of hardship, just remember, we are Groot
By Aidan Bayford
James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the visual equivalent of stuffing your face with every sticky, swirly, rainbow lollypop Disneyland has on offer – and it is just delightful.
In a galaxy made safe from ‘a thousand years of Kree justice on Xandar!’, the Guardians find themselves doing intergalactic odd-jobs. Their employment is short lived as Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) bags himself some of the Sovereign’s shiny batteries: this sees Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), and the team blind-sighted by the freshly offended Sovereign in outer-space. One crash landing later, the film introduces planet-turned-daddy Ego (Kurt Russel), and his emphatic associate Mantis (Pom Klementieff). From here the team is divided into four (or so) individual story threads. This structure results in the elaboration of many previously undeveloped relationships that were, for the most part, entertaining to witness.
On closer inspection, the film’s dialogue was quite hit-and-miss. On occasion, a character would drop something as unexpected, and hilarious, as ‘I’m Marry Poppins Y’all!’. Yondu (Michael Rooker), with that one unforgettable, and totally hilarious line stole the entire film. Alternatively, expect cringe-as characters declare what they’re about to do, or need to do. Who is this for though? If the planet is collapsing, it is obvious that Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Nebula (Karen Gillan) need to bail – doom is imminent, please, just go.
Volume 2’s 80’s soundtrack is simply top-notch – each song catches the moment to which it is paired wonderfully. The introduction sees the team being hurled around during combat whilst Baby Groot busts shapes to ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’. The sequence is incredibly energetic, and exciting. Furthermore, despite the space squid, it feels warm, and familiar; it is a great way to re-introduce the team whilst simultaneously allowing the audience to meet, and adore, Baby Groot (Vin Diesel). Later, the team prepares for blast off alongside Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah’s ‘Lake Shore Drive’ – a song I have not stopped listening too since.
Some notable performances include Pom Klementieff’s Mantis. Her take on the team’s new recruit is very sweet, and authentically odd. Dave Batista, as Drax, gave great comical delivery to many of his lines. My inner nerd is slightly confused though, as the previous instalment led me to believe Drax’s species to be entirely literal, but I’ll let it slide because his recently acquired sarcasm is brilliant. Both Mantis and Drax spend much of their screen time together, and, despite being insanely different, they are wonderfully similar. This is a joy to watch, and it makes for some of the film’s best comedy. I would mention Rocket, but I adore him, and all my opinions are aggressively in favour of him – big up Bill Mantlo!
Marvel’s next cinematic outing is a super-fun and very enjoyable sequel, but, just because it did not consistently blow my mind does not mean it did not consistently blow my eyes out. It is completely gorgeous, hilarious, and I would like to purchase a Racoon please.
4 out of 5 star rating
Image courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures