Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, and more.
Directed by: James Gunn Written by: James Gunn Based on the Marvel Comics by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Cinematography by: Henry Braham Music by: Tyler Bates
Premise: After finishing a job for the Sovereign, the Guardian's find themselves in trouble when Rocket filches some of the goods they were paid to protect. Saved by a stranger, the group meets Ego, Peter's father. But the Sovereign are not about to let the Guardians' transgression remain unpunished. They hire others to do the work. And as Peter finally embraces the fact he's found his father, Gamora realizes something about Ego is not quite right. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of lovely and strong performances from all members of the cast. All the weird and sometimes clashing personalities are fun to watch. Several emotional scenes were beautifully carried out by all parties. Michael Rooker deserves added attention for his intense and emotional conversation with Rocket - and for pulling off a metallic 50's hairdo with style! :P
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There were lots of great effects and visuals in the film. Mantis's antenna and her bug like eyes were so well done, you never doubted she looked like that.
All the Sovereign people were gold from head to foot, and it looked natural. Their throne room, gadgets, and remote controlled ships looked great. And the giant tentacle monster? Awesome!
Ego's palace was gorgeous. His ship and the molding platform were lovely. The moment reconstructions in the egg like receptacles were neat and loved that they had a different texture than everything else. There were several body repair sequences, and these were fab! The view of Ego from orbit said it all.
The big fight on Ego's planet was spectacular. And kudos on making Kurt Russel look young and long-haired once more! He looked great! :)
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: On several levels, the plot for vol. 2 is a lot darker than the original film. The main point of this one is discovery. Discovery of self, of what's been there all along, of things you never knew you possessed, and fear of acknowledging emotional needs. Every single character has a revelation of one form or another. Many are not ones they are happy to find out about, even as they bring a sense of growth, depth or even a bit of peace to their souls.
There are a ton of wonderful little moments. The opening section ties directly back to the beginning of the first film as well as the end. Adorable!
Several major items that have shaped Peter's life are made clear. Things are not always as we assume.
I did think some of the action was less believable this time around. While our heroes are intrepid and hearty, some of this went way beyond. Almost like overcompensating for the darkness and going too far with the size of the action. This took away rather than added to the film.
As always, be sure to sit through the credits. Not only is the cool backdrop of a record album ala Jefferson Starship entertaining, so are the "I am Groot" word plays, and the multiple extra scene snippets! :)
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Most of the stunts are CGI-assisted, but no less fun. Some of the gags were taken to a much higher level than the last film, which stretched believability quite far. Still impressive to watch though. :P
5) Music - Total Thumbs Up: While all the great 80's music and visual 50's music homage was fun, I was a little disappointed that they used those almost exclusively rather than more music by Tyler Bates. Some of this they made up with the neat, nostalgic treatment of the original theme by the Steepers in "Guardians Inferno." Very disco and reminiscent of Meco and their cool renditions of Star Wars music and other popular science fiction soundtracks of the time.
Conclusion: While not as good as the first, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is still worth a watch. Darkness and discovery, as well as lots of humor, awaits!
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)