2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” happens to be my favorite Marvel Studios film to date. Writer/director James Gunn was-able-to take a group of comic book characters that most people have never heard of and create one of the most enjoyable sci-fi epics in decades. Needless-to-say, I was very excited for volume 2, which arrives in theaters this weekend.
Set just months after the events of the first film, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are working as a team, taking odd jobs around the galaxy. As the film begins, the Guardians are hired by the Sovereign race to protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster. As the team battles the monster, all the focus is on Baby Groot who decides to dance instead of fight. Much like the first film, we get an opening sci-fi dance number and I am hoping Drax gets one of these in volume 3.
There is a lot going on in “GOTGV2” with a handful of new characters. We have Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) who is the leader of the Sovereign race. She wants the Guardians to pay for stealing from her. There is also Taserface (Chris Sullivan), the Ravager who leads a mutiny with Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) against Yandu (Michael Rooker) and of course there is Star-Lord aka Peter Quill’s long lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell). Because there are so many characters and events taking place, the Guardians spend much of the film apart. Rocket and Baby Groot are with Yandu, held prisoner on the Ravager ship, while Peter, Gamora and Drax are taken to Ego’s planet with Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
Gunn is able to keep the creativity going in “GOTGV2”. The love for the characters is still very evident and the humor is still very much one of the best elements of the series. I laughed almost as much here as I did in the first film. However, even though so much of “GOTGV2” works well, it’s just not as fun as the first film. Running at 136 minutes, it feels like it goes on a bit too long. Kurt Russell is a great addition and has quite a bit of fun with the role, but for me the standout scenes are between Drax and Mantis. Plus, Baby Groot steals every moment he is on screen. If you are a fan of the first film, you are surely going to enjoy volume 2, however you just might not enjoy it as much.
By: Marc Ferman