There are few films in 2017 that have more expectation placed on them than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Since the release of the first volume in 2014, audiences have been wondering if Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) will discover his celestial heritage and what the next stop will be for this much loved crew of misfits. Director James Gunn has put the new mixtape in the proverbial cinematic Walkman and the next chapter of the adventures of the Guardians is released to the world.
In this instalment, the Guardians are doing what they do best, guarding the galaxy from alien invaders. They have been hired by the Sovereign’s leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) to protect their planet from a dangerous alien invader who wants to eat their primary energy source. In amongst the dancing and family-like bickering, they defeat this technology ingesting beast. Their reward for the effort is to gain the release of Gamorra’s (Zoe Saldana) cyborg sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan). Hoping to get the bounty for her capture.
Prior to leaving the technology-rich planet, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) decides that he will help himself to some of the high-powered batteries of these golden beings. This simple, but foolish decision leads the Soveriegn leadership to send an armada to pursue the Guardians across the galaxy. The goal is to retrieve their property with the intent to imprison the offenders for this highest of blasphemies. During the chase through an astroid belt, an unknown force comes to the rescue of the band of outlaws and helps them to allude capture. After landing on a remote planet to assess the damage to their ship, the entity that saved them from apprehension reveals his identity to the team. To the surprise of Peter and crew, their saviour turns out to be the celestial being Ego (Kurt Russell) who also happens to be Starlord’s father. All of the events occur within the first 15 minutes of the film and jumpstart the team’s journey across the universe. A quest to discover more of Peter’s past, the reason Ego wants to find his son and unwittingly to unveil the Guardian’s real purpose in the cosmos.
Unlike much of the Marvel Universe, the storyline of Peter Quill’s crew offers an expansive set of new characters and a galaxy that is unfamiliar to audiences. Besides the rabid graphic novel fan, few people would be aware of the history of this motley band of space warriors or Peter’s parentage. This new edition in the canon of this comic book cast offers many of the answers that fans desire from the original film. The explanations behind key cast relationships and the reason behind some of the decisions made in the past by many of the characters should satisfy the inquisitive, but director James Gunn adds a plethora of new twists to keep everyone around for Volume 3. The current chapter is much darker and touches on a broader range of emotions than first adventure. This outing provides a depth needed when discussing the familial connections of many of the characters and does lead to a longer experience and one that may not be appropriate for the younger fans.
The genetically enhanced racoon, Rocket, moves into more significant role in this outing and makes up for the literal small part that Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) plays. He adds the bite, emotion and humour that is needed to counter the serious tone of Peter Quill’s family reunion. The development of Gamorra and Nebula’s relationship adds a new dimension to the family element, but merely becomes a distraction from the drama of the Quill family. The newer inclusions of Sylvester Stallone as Stakar and Pom Klementieff as Mantis do provide the layers that set up future volumes of this franchise. Specifically the influence of Mantis on the red-tattoed beast Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). Her unique skills in mood manipulation aids in the development of the emotional side of stoic Guardian which does add an uncharacteristic, but appealing human quality to him.
The challenge was for James Gunn to fit in all of the elements that made the original special and add the expected links to the Marvel Universe. In the attempt to do all that, it does make for an overly long experience and some unnecessary confusion. It was not as enjoyable or as fresh as the first flight into the galaxy, but it is intriguing enough to encourage multiple viewings in the future to capture all of the nuances and potentially come to love it as much as the first mixtape.
REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
- Should we seek revenge? (Matthew 5:38-39, Romans 12:19)
- What part does loyalty play in your life? (Ruth 1, 1 Corinthians 13)
- What does it mean to be a ‘true’ friend? (Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 18:24, Proverbs 17:17)
- What is the true definition of fathers? (Psalm 103:13, Proverbs 20:7, 3 John 1:4)
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