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New Release Review - GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 review
Starlord is reunited with his father.







Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: James Gunn

Starring: Chris Pratt, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Rooker, Pom Klementieff

guardians of the galaxy vol 2 poster


Just as critics and audiences were beginning to accuse Marvel of stagnation in their cinematic ventures, 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy arrived to inject new life into the comic book studio. Prior to its release, there was much talk of GOTG potentially becoming Marvel's first box office flop, which is laughable in hindsight, as everything about that movie seemed custom made to appeal to the largest demographic possible. Its sequel is essentially a more dumbed down version of its predecessor, this time custom made to appeal to the lowest common denominator.


guardians of the galaxy vol 2

Writer-director James Gunn likely got the original GOTG gig due to his success with offbeat genre indies like 2006's Slither and 2010's Super (the latter one of the more novel takes on the superhero genre to date), but this isn't the Gunn of Slither and Super on display here, this is the Gunn of Tromeo and Juliet and Movie 43. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the sort of juvenile potty-mouthed exercise you expect from Troma, the low budget studio that gave the filmmaker his start, all turd jokes and outdated sub-Tarantino pop culture references (where the first movie mocked Kevin Bacon, here it's David Hasselhoff; I guess it's Chuck Norris's turn next time).

The plot is practically non-existent. After stealing batteries from an alien race who appear to have spent too much time in the tanning lounge, the Guardians are rescued by a mysterious figure named Ego (Kurt Russell, whose Tango & Cash co-star Sylvester Stallone can be seen in a cameo elsewhere), who reveals himself as the father Quill/Starlord (Chris Pratt) has been searching for. Another family reunion occurs when the gang take Nebula (Karen Gillan), sister of Gamora (Zoe Saldana), prisoner. Taking its cues from the Fast & Furious franchise, this time the villains of the previous movie now become the heroes of the sequel, with Michael Rooker's blue-skinned baddie Yondu also joining the team.


guardians of the galaxy vol 2

Not a whole lot happens for most of GOTG2's lengthy running time, as the gang hangs out with Ego and discusses their favourite '80s TV shows, listen to awful '70s MOR tunes courtesy of Quill's Walkman, and make the sort of jokes the average suburban Dad would be embarrassed by. Then in the final half hour we get the obligatory overblown and overlong Marvel climax, in which a badly choreographed battle occurs in an indeterminate geographical space while beams of light shoot around the sky. Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Coming weeks after Logan explored the possibilities of doing something interesting with comic book characters, GOTG2's lack of innovation is especially highlighted. If you're old enough to remember the heyday of Saturday morning cartoons, you'll recall how animation studios would take shortcuts and the same shots and backgrounds would reoccur across numerous titles. Well the same process seems to now be happening with Marvel movies. GOTG2 is so generic I wouldn't be surprised if it were made by an algorithm rather than any human hands. There are camera moves here lifted directly from previous Marvel entries, as are other elements, such as the now de rigueur prologue featuring a digitally de-aged actor.


guardians of the galaxy vol 2

GOTG2 is a new low for Marvel, a cynical venture that's best described as a product rather than a movie. Much of it feels like those payday loan commercials that have prospered on UK TV in recent years, to the point where I was surprised that its calculatedly 'cute' title sequence - in which Baby Groot (the bastard lovechild of Jar Jar Binks and Wesley Crusher) dances to ELO's Mr Blue Sky - didn't close with an appeal to purchase car insurance.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is in UK/ROI cinemas April 28th.



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