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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – “An all-out intergalactic party movie”

Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is once again written and directed by Vol. 1’s James Gunn (Slither), and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel as the beloved intergalactic reprobates: The Guardians of the Galaxy.

After a flashback of a very creepily de-aged Kurt Russell and Star Lord’s mum courting, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2’ hurtles straight into action. The gang have been hired to protect some batteries from a giant worm monster, and kill time waiting for its arrival bickering. Gamora (Saldana) and Peter Quill/Starlord (Pratt) share charged banter, while Drax (Dave Bautista) says things that are rude because he doesn’t know they are rude, and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) grabs crotch and snarks about Peter insisting on playing music all the time. Then the best title sequence in ever kicks in: While the rest of the Guardians fly about, zapping and shooting and stabbing the monster, Baby Groot (Diesel) plays ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ and dances around lovably, while the battle happens out of focus behind him in one shot.

It is an astounding beginning, but it is also a precursor of what is going to be repeated throughout the entire first and last act: a scene being punch-lined by Drax being rude, an old pop song being played, or Groot being cute. Which is cool a few times – but certainly starts to wear the tenth or eleventh time.

Sandwiched between these fan-service-checklist sections is a mopey middle that really drags. With this many beloved characters, there are too many mouths the film feels beholden to feed, so absolutely everyone gets a full arc, which would be cool if they were not all the same. Every Guardian is sad because of a family member: Peter and his dad, Drax and his dead wife, Gamora and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillen), and Rocket because Peter called him a “trash panda”; and these outpourings are all cued up one after the other until a big bad is revealed, and we can have happy space fun times again, and resolve everything with some fighting, flying and fancy shooting.

This sounds super negative, I know, but it is certainly not to say that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2’ is bad. When it is fun, it is an awful lot of fun, and the beginning and ending are an all-out intergalactic party movie with your favourite space reprobates. It is also a loud crazy cool and colourful sugar rush, with far out visuals and a killer soundtrack. It just repeats what it gets right – and what you loved from Volume 1 – ad nauseam, and makes you wade through too much repetitive woe. And stay through the whole of the credits – there are a million stingers.

Again – cool – but drowning you in something that you like.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is released in the UK on the 28th of April.

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