By Ryan Keating-Lambert
Guardians 2 is a clever and entertaining sci-fi / action romp with amazing pop culture references and wit, which towards the end, is almost completely ruined by ridiculous plot twists, poor leads, and layer upon layer of cheese. Thank god for Baby Groot.
Peter ‘Star-Lord’ Quill (Chris Pratt) and his gang of guardians, while getting up to their usual mischief, stumble across Peter’s real father Ego (Kurt Russell) – a living breathing planet. Everything seems to be going just fine until Gomora (Zoe Saldana) senses that something is up.
Like the first film, Guardians relies on its humour and its soundtrack, which is a fantastic mix of past pop hits. The humour goes deep into slapstick territory on a number of occasions, obviously to impress the kids in the audience. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. At least there were no overly sexual and egotistically lame jokes like Peter’s ‘Pollock’ joke in the first one.
Majority of the jokes are pop culture references which are thoroughly enjoyable. That Mary Poppins moment was the icing on the cake. On top of that, there was always Baby Groot to make you laugh. Without his adorable whimsy, some of these scenes would have lost their appeal altogether. That opening credits scene was PHENOMENAL, and such a good scene to set the tone for the film. Wild colours, banging tunes (see Spotify playlist), beautiful monsters, and Baby Groot. I even got used to all the green screen CGI which doesn’t often happen. A job well done to the VFX crew.
Another stand-out character was Nebula, brilliantly played by Karen Gillam. Her character arc over the course of the film is so involving and you feel sorry for her. She also has a subtle sense of humour that makes her a bit human, despite all her machine parts and general Terminator chic. She’s one actress to keep an eye on in the future. I expect great things.
Most characters have equal screen time when it comes to humour and they’re all pretty good, but special mention must go to Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his speedy fin and arrow scene, and Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and her golden army, who seem like spoilt millennial gamers. However, surprisingly, it’s lead couple Peter and Gomora and their love story that is just so mind-numbingly boring and predictable. Gomora is about as much fun as a postal worker, and Peter is just… well Chris Pratt – trying to show depth but doesn’t quite know the definition of the word.
And unfortunately, he brings the plot down with him. The third act (which is way too long) is all about working out his daddy issues which are neither convincing nor particularly interesting, and then when it finally ends, you’ve got scrolling credits of GIF-like character dances, written dialogue and of course, the after-credits scenes. It went from fun action/adventure to franchise universe overload. Less is more.
But, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is overall an entertaining watch. A Saturday night movie to catch with family or friends. Safe fun. Check it out in 3D if you want the full experience.