Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★★½

"I'm gonna make some weird shit."

Insanely fun, this is the definition of cinematic entertainment.

All of our favourite characters return, along with some of the smaller roles and enemies from the original film. Additionally, we get a scene-stealing character played by the wonderful Kurt Russell and a few new faces including Sylvester Stallone. It's a visual feast, with an absolutely vivid colour palette and wonderful cinematography choices.

Humour is front-and-centre, and fortunately the writing is on point from start to finish. Marvel's MCU films have always been light-hearted, but I'd say the Guardians films are the only ones which can be firmly placed as comedies (there's maybe an argument for Ant-Man). Laughs come consistently and there's some inspired lines - with most of the best one's coming from Dave Bautista's Drax, but every character gets a chance to shine.

Speaking of which, I was surprised at how character-focused this film's story was. There's explosive action most of the way through, but the film has a heart based around the pain of various character's past, and their need to put it behind them. Family is a strong theme (coming unfortunately close on the heels of the similarly themed Fast & Furious 8), both in terms of found family and actual blood relationships. Be prepared for some quite emotional scenes.

To criticise the film a bit, I found it quite flabby. The original was a tight story that flowed in a clear and natural way from point A to B, whereas Vol. 2 is much more scattered. There's a lot of characters and some of the factions involved feel quite unnecessary. Battles go on longer than needed on a few occasions, and tonally it maybe interrupts emotional beats with comedy a bit too quickly. Good luck understanding what any of the after credits scenes are about if you don't know the comics, too.

Absolutely great overall, though. Another fun soundtrack and worth seeing for Kurt Russell alone, as well as the best de-aging effect I've seen in a film yet. This is also the the first thing I've seen Ben Browder in for a long time.

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