Talk about a demotion. In their last adventure Drax, Star Lord, Rocket Racoon, Gamora and treant toddler Groot saved the universe. When this sequel begins we see that the titular Guardians of the Galaxy have been reduced to the role of security guards. Hired by a race of walking Academy Award statuettes, called the Sovereign, our quintet of heroes are tasked with protecting some glorified Duracells from a giant tentacle monster. In exchange for their services the Guardians secure custody of Gamora’s cybernetic sis Nebula, who is currently languishing in a Sovereign prison. Things go smoothly until furry bandit Racoon helps himself to some of the batteries he is supposed to be safeguarding.
After detecting that some of their energy cells have been pilfered, the Sovereign Empire sends out a fleet of remote controlled craft to destroy the Guardians. Outnumbered and outgunned, it appears that Star Lord and pals are doomed. Thankfully for them, at the very last second, a mysterious ship turns up on the scene and annihilates the Sovereign forces – rescuing the Guardians from certain destruction. One crash landing later, the identity of the Guardians’ saviours is revealed. The pilots of the unidentified spaceship are an antennaed female empath named Mantis and her bearded master Ego, who claims to be Star Lord’s long lost alien daddy!
Furious over the Guardians’ escape, Sovereign leader Priestess Ayesha recruits the Ravager space pirates and orders them to track down Star Lord’s band of misfits. Led by blue skinned whistler Yondu, the Ravagers manage to apprehend Groot and Racoon, who were in midst of repairing their downed ship. The remaining Guardians are elsewhere, visiting Ego’s home planet. Can Star Lord, Drax and Gamora save their chums from Yondu’s clutches? Regrettably that will have to wait, because they have other concerns to deal with. A shocking discovery calls into question whether Ego truly is the benign parent he claims to be. Never trust a pop that has failed to pay child support in thirty years I say.
My rating for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is four stars. I am going to go against the grain by proclaiming that Vol. 2 is slightly better than its predecessor. For me the sequel was funnier, which is saying a lot given that the original was no slouch when it came to comedy. Like the previous movie, Vol. 2 has a soundtrack rich in golden oldies and some top-notch action. I was impressed by the UFO dogfights, laser gun shootouts and a sequence were Yondu fells an entire army with a single arrow. Despite the plentiful hysterics the script isn’t devoid of drama. I thought the father/daughter bond that formed between Drax and Mantis was rather sweet and the movie’s finale succeeded in tugging at the heartstrings.
Like with most modern films the running time could have done with a trim. The fairly straightforward plot didn’t warrant a 136-minute running time. Director James Gunn could have easily reduced the duration by shortening the overly long final battle and lowering the ridiculous number of after credit skits. Exorcising the pointless Star Lord/Gamora romance, which lacked chemistry, would have salvaged a few more minutes too. Their feelings of love felt more artificial than the green screen environments. Shame that the pairing flopped, because the camaraderie between the other characters is one of the movie’s biggest strengths… along with Groot’s cuteness. Disney is going to make a tree-mendous amount of money selling adorable Groot merchandise.