The benefit of any sequels, specifically that of the Marvel franchise, where precious time has to be spent introducing and establishing a multitude of characters with deeply complicated back-stories, is that they simply get to hit the ground running.
Guardians Vol. 2 does this in spades. Opening to a thrilling and highly comical action-comedy set-piece, amusingly cut into the freeze-framed title sequence, the tone is instantly set for the whole film: Thrilling action. Hilarious comedy. Jukebox soundtrack.
Of course to try and briefly sum up the plot would be bewilderingly complicted as well as spoiling the fun, but those who have seen – and loved – the first Vol. will know that it focuses heavily on Star Lord Peter Quill discovering more about his heritage when a familiarly genial actor crops up as a character quite deliberately named ‘Ego’.
Much like this month’s Alien: Covenant, the true machinations of the plot take a long while to reveal themselves, and in the meantime the film just skips along (much like Vol. 1) from one relentlessly entertaining and hilarious set-piece to the next.
Several running gags pepper the film (Trash-Panda! Tazerface! Drax’s inexplicable disgust towards the beautiful alien psychic Mantis) and the humour is very much in the Mike Myers vein: both incredibly clever and stupid at the same time.
The whole cast of course play the film for laughs and invite the audience to laugh along too, leading to some genuinely brilliant one-liners: “You look like Mary Poppins,” says one male character to another as they float to the ground on laser assisted parachutes. “Is he cool?” comes the gormless reply. Another character yells the hysterically lame insult “Hey there, JACKASS!” before promptly dropping a gimormous spaceship on top of the goon’s head.
Yondu’s character development is nicely expanded as he becomes a central figure tot he film and his laser-guided arrow provides the film’s most strikingly-shot action set-piece.
Karen Gillan returns as Nebula and is as solidly evil as her accent is flawlessly American. Chris Pratt is…well, Chris Pratt. Much of the comic relief also comes in the form of a twitchy redneck space-pirate and turncoat Kraglin (played by the Director James Gunn’s Son Sean).
But, of course, again, the real star the show is Dave Bautista’s Drax, who easily walks away with all of the films funniest scenes. He actually manages to be even funnier this time round, with his non-plussed demeanour and hilariously pithy one-liners, none of which I’ll ruin here.
So, all-in-all, the film is everything you’ll expect and love from Vol. 1 and more. Exciting, brilliantly choreographed action set-pieces, a solid plot (complete with apocalyptic finale).
Faster, sillier, more rollicking juke-box numbers and somehow even funnier than the hysterically droll Vol. 1. Patient fans who stick around for the credits will be rewarded with mid-and-post credits bonus scenes too.
Relentlessly brilliant entertainment.