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  • Andrew Lynch


Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) took the world by storm, surprising even MARVEL who took the risk on a talking racoon and sentient humanoid-tree. So, how do you follow up the biggest surprise of the decade? Well, keep everything the same; be unoriginal; and have a bloody good time doing it.

Vol. 2 is set a few months after the events of Vol. 1, the Guardians are heroes and, logically, become mercenaries. After offending a snooty race called the Sovereign, the Guardians are separated and on the run. Oh, and Star-Lord’s dad turns up.

That’s the plot, without spoiling major plot points. It really shows the paper-thin quality of the plot. Each scene fells like a comedic vignette, that vary wildly between hit-or-miss. The characters meander about from scene to scene, with no direction until reveals are made and the third act kicks in. There is no clear indication of a villain or a plot until the final act.

That’s not to say the film is not some of the most fun you’ll have this year. Watching the Guardians interact is still entertaining, especially with the addition of Yondu and Nebula. As a comic-book reader, it is disappointing that Mantis has become “Young, Quirky, Socially-Awkward” Character #9 in the Marvel Universe; her interactions with Drax and additions to the team is sometimes painful to watch, with the majority of her humour not hitting nearly as well as the creators must have thought.

Mystery has surrounded Kurt Russel’s character, Ego (The Living Planet), excluding his connection to Star-Lord. Initially, he is the Han Solo-esque character people expected the father of the roughish, lovable scoundrel Star-Lord to be. Then he jarringly smash cuts into a comedically menacing villain, undercutting the purpose of the Sovereign in the beginning.

Sadly, the film revolves around Star-Lord and dear old papa, delegating the rest of the leads to comedic support or vastly more intriguing sub-plots. Characters like Rocket, Yondu, Gamora and Nebula are further explored, with Nebula and Gamora suffering some sisterly-love and Rocket and Yondu are a match made in heaven.

Visually however, the film is stunning with a rainbow of colours exploding all over the screen in orgasmic fashion. Praise to Gunn who managed to break away from MARVEL’s control and utilise his own visual and creative style to deliver a unique Marvel film, stylistically at least.

Although characters like Star-Lord, Drax, Groot, and Rocket are not given any or cliched character development, secondary characters from the original Yondu and Nebula are fully fleshed out, particularly Yondu. Nebula’s story clearly sets up Thanos for Avengers: Infinity War (May 2018), but it also adds heart to her and a connection to Gamora that will come into play in the aforementioned Avengers film.

By the end of the film, it is clear that Gunn had a message to deliver about father-figures, which is beautifully portrayed in Yondu. His relationship with Peter and the Ravagers is tested, and is fully fleshed out and delivered upon in the most emotional moment in the entire MCU. Marvel, more of this please.

With a new Awesome Mix comes a new, less memorable soundtrack. It is clear that James Gunn took care in choosing certain songs for the film, with scenes matching the song or the song being the basis for a scene. However, Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is overall more exciting and diverse than Vol. 2. The same can be said for the films themselves.

Vol. 2 is as enjoyable and watchable as the first, but sacrifice the compelling characters and unique plot to be less memorable.

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