Best Family Reunion in the GalaxyMay 03, 2017
Directed by: James Gunn
Written by: James Gunn, Dan Abnett
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Zaldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillian, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone
All photos courtesy of Marvel Studios.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is the rare sequel that improves on the original and it does so with a perfect blend of action, comedy, and drama. This is no small feat especially when you consider what writer/director James Gunn accomplished with GOTG 1. He took an obscure Marvel comic book that most had never heard of and shepherded the story to nearly universal applause. The fact that GOTG 2 is claiming the coveted “Summer Blockbuster Kickoff” weekend is a testament to just how much is riding on this return to the world of Peter Quill and his seemingly-mismatched team.
After a brief prologue that partially answers the biggest question from the first GOTG movie (Who is Peter Quill’s father?), Gunn playfully recreates the fantastic opening credits sequence that had Chris Pratt dancing his way through a deserted city to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.” That sequence set a playful tone for the movie that Gunn and his ensemble held true to, taking an obscure comic book title and turning it into what many believe is the best Marvel movie to date. What Gunn does with the opening credits of GOTG 2 shows that he not only understands the pressure he’s under to recreate the magic of the first film, he has clearly embraced that challenge with creative gusto. It’s a confidence that you see in nearly every scene.
This time around, the Guardians have been hired by a powerful race of golden aliens, called the Sovereign, to protect their batteries from an energy-devouring monster. Even though the Guardians are successful in their task, things go astray in the aftermath and the team of Starlord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Drax (Dave Bautista), and Groot (Vin Diesel) find themselves being pursued by the Sovereign as well as their old friends Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his band of Ravagers. In the midst of this pursuit a mysterious man named “Ego” (Kurt Russell) shows up, claiming to be Quill’s father. Before you know it, the entire galaxy is in danger again.
While the old saying, “You don’t get to choose your family” is true, nearly all of us has experienced the bonds of family that develop through close friendships. In his second go-round at the helm of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise, Gunn does a masterful job of exploring familial themes against a backdrop of colorful aliens, frantic battles, and perfectly-timed one-liners. The ensemble cast has a great screenplay to work with and they breath life into each scene, giving their relationships depth and familiarity that just doesn’t feel like a family, it feels like they’ve been through dozens of adventures together. Like all families they know the best ways to irritate each other and push that irritation right up until the point of explosion. But the depth of affection they have for each other is always there, just beneath the surface, rising up when one of their members is threatened.
When a movie can make you laugh out loud and wipe away a tear, all while weaving together live action and believable computer generated images…you know you have something special. Just when you think Marvel has peaked, along come the Guardians of the Galaxy to raise the bar again. And best of all, they’ve done it with another Awesome Mix of great music.