Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It’s finally here. After 28 years, we have a sequel to Tango & CashWhen we last saw our heroes (Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell), they were high-fiving in a ditch. Now, they’re interstellar smugglers in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Raccoon boy (Bradley Cooper), Twiglet (Vin Diesel), The Rock (Dave Bautista), the Wicked Witch of the West (Zoe Saldana) and Chris Pratt (Chris Pratt) return in this, the other Vin Diesel franchise about family. Quite why they keep paying Vin to say the same 3 words over and over is unclear, though the same goes for Catherine Tate. Fortunately she’s not in it, but another Doctor Who companion (Amy Pond) is, putting her internship in the TARDIS to good use.

This time, Pratt meets his father, Ego (a fantastic Kurt Russell), while fleeing a golden army – like Hellboy II in space. Sly Stallone also shows up for no reason other than to seed a sequel, which doesn’t bode well considering the inaudibility of his few lines. Every time he opens his mouth it sounds like an earthquake. You’d hide under your cinema seat if you were less worried about what was down there.

The other big problem is the comedy, such a strong selling point of the original movie, here barely raising more than a few chuckles. The quantity-over-quality approach to its obvious, over-explained jokes mean that the characters spend much more time laughing than the audience.

There’s still plenty of fun to be had in these characters’ company; give me a snarky raccoon over Captain America any day. It’s just a shame that the main one has to be Boring Man Chris Pratt and his intergalactic daddy issues. But everyone else is given plenty to do, including the brilliant Michael Rooker as Yondu, and Pom Klementieff as Mantis, the most useless empath since Deanna Troi.

The film’s threat doesn’t properly materialise until the third act, but when it does the screen lights up with some unique ideas and Marvel’s dazzling, psychedelic visuals, particularly effective accompanied by the 1970s music. And having started out with films like Slither, director James Gunn knows his way round the weird, oozing creature effects that open the movie.

Essentially it’s more of the same: lots of humour, outlaw characters and a jukebox soundtrack, whose highlights include ELO and Fleetwood Mac. That said, while nowhere near as prevalent as in Warner Bros.’ recent offerings, we can do without the literal music cues, in this case ‘Father and Son’ by Cat Stevens. You might as well be using ‘Daddy Cool‘ by Boney M. At least you can dance to that one.

Like its predecessor, Guardians 2 looks likely to set the box office alight with its disco-Firefly meets Pirates of the Constellations mash-up appeal. It may not be as funny as the first, but the colourful characters and action scenes continue to charm. Or as our friend baby Groot would say: “I am Groot.”

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