Guardians of the Galaxy, review: ‘First fifty minutes are absolutely blinding’

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 with Chris Pratt. Picture: Film Frame/Marvel Studios

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 with Chris Pratt. Picture: Film Frame/Marvel Studios - Credit: Archant

Marvel’s latest sequel starts off sharper and funnier than the first, but loses its way in the second half

Guardians of the Galaxy was the Marvel film for people who don’t like Marvel films. Primarily because it wasn’t a superhero movie, but also because it was a determinedly unpretentious, unstuffy space opera, with numerous nifty strategies for winning over people who wouldn’t normally be down with that kind of thing.

Plus, when it was released back in 2014, the idea of a fun Star Wars movie was still novel.

The fact that nobody much knew who these characters were, meant the filmmakers had much more freedom to take liberties with them, could play up the comedy aspect even more than Joss Whedon did with The Avengers.

Even the best of arses can get too smart, but all the glib humour was grounded by it being a very basic, almost childlike sci-fi vision. Aliens are humanoid but are green or blue skinned and the space police wore shiny space police uniforms. The lack of originality made it seem all very innocent.

Vol 2 takes on the mystery of who is Star-Lord’s non-human father. I thought they’d string that along for another couple of films but the opening sequence reveals it to be Kurt Russell. For the first fifty odd minutes Vol 2 is absolutely blinding, seeming sharper and funnier than the original, but somewhere in the second half it loses its way, and the fun becomes more of an effort. Firstly, the selection of tunes on Vol 2 of Star-Lord’s dead mums’ Awesome Mix tape aren’t nearly as good, or as recognisable as in the first film. The selection this time seems much more American than before, I knew barely half the tracks.

Taking in Kurt Russell isn’t the only aspect of Fast and Furious that the film has adopted. Like the Furious Family, this series seems intent on picking up any strays it comes across and includes loads of almost instantaneous allegiance swaps where sworn enemies go to aw-shucks,-put-it-there in a matter of minutes. Perhaps the biggest drawback though, (and this could count as a spoiler) is that the plot flirts with aspects Star Trek V, the calamitous one William Shatner directed where the crew find God, and get into a fight with him.

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Rating: 3/5