ReelBob: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’
By Bob Bloom
Beneath its fast-paced story, great visuals and a toe-tapping, mixed-tape soundtrack, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a story of family — in all its dysfunctional glory.
The film’s major narrative centers on unraveling the secret about cocky, arrogant space jockey Peter Quill’s true parentage.
Quill, a k a Star Lord, with his “family” — Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax and sapling Baby Groot — are cashing in on their newfound celebrity as the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
However, they cannot control their rogue-like ways. They double-cross a race named the Sovereign, who pursue the Guardians and offer a bounty for their capture.
This ignites a chain reaction of events that leads to the Earthling Quill finally meeting his father, a dashing, immortal celestial named Ego, portrayed with panache by Kurt Russell.
The plot is secondary as writer-director James Gunn emphasizes the various relationships between these disparate and flawed Guardians.
Quill (Chris Pratt) is overjoyed to finally meet his father; though, he questions why Ego abandoned him and his mother.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) captures her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), a rival assassin who has vowed to kill her older sibling whom she blames for turning their father against her. Gamora tries, in her own clumsy way, to make peace with Nebula.
Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) deals with his anger and trust issues, while trying to comprehend the true meaning of friendship.
The killer, Drax (David Bautista), seeks peace, while still mourning the loss of his family, and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) continues to grow and learn.
These personal issues are the backbone of the story. And Gunn’s script is so well written that his main theme is not buried beneath the movie’s special effects and fine utilization of 3-D work.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” like its predecessor, has a loosey-goosey vibe. While the movie does provide sequences of death and destruction, it feels lighthearted.
The near-constant bickering and bantering among the Guardians neither grows tiresome nor repetitive.
The performances are strong, with Pratt’s Quill showing an emptiness and vulnerability beneath his bravado and Saldana displaying compassion under her warrior façade.
Michael Rooker’s Ravager, Yondu, is a delight. His character is like an extraterrestrial redneck, who, in general, enjoys a scrap, a drink, a woman and raising hell, yet displays a nobility that keeps him apart from others in his clan.
“Guardians” simply is fun. With a soundtrack loaded with hits from the 1970s and ’80s, the film rocks you along, allowing you to bypass the flimsy plot by emotionally connecting with not only its main characters, but some of those peripherally involved in the various escapades.
These Guardians also advance the main story line of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as whet your appetite for their future adventures.
Bob Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and Rottentomatoes (www.rottentomatoes.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
3½ stars out of 4
(PG-13), science-fiction action and violence, language, suggestive content