Beginning where "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014) left off, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" has Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) wondering who exactly is his father, and why did Yondu (Michael Rooker) not deliver him to his father when he had the chance? The motley crew comprised of Peter, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are currently in the middle of defending a genetically perfect race, the Sovereign, led by the high priestess, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki).
When Rocket double-crosses Ayesha, the Guardians are forced to flee Sovereign's alien planet, with a rather large fleet on their trail. Hot in pursuit, the Sovereign's force is mysteriously thwarted by an unknown ship, which turns out to be manned by Ego (Kurt Russell), a celestial intergalactic explorer and his constant companion, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an insect-like alien.
Written and directed by James Gunn, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is genuinely as much fun and entertaining as the original, which he also wrote and directed. Utilizing "Awesome Mixtape #2", and special effects which are truly out of this galaxy, the team assembled proves again why they were so popular the first time around.
Special effects supervisor Chris Townsend was tasked with creating Baby Groot, after beloved Groot was felled in the first movie. Now he's a little guy, but no less adorable, still maintaining his
mischievous qualities --- and his potty mouth. Even Rocket mentions that the two of them need to discuss his use of profanity (which is never distinguishable).
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" was shot at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Fayetteville, Georgia due to the size of the production and the new worlds which are explored in Vol. 2. Production designer Scott Chambliss was able to expand on the Ravager universe, especially their ship, the Elector, which was the largest set built with a 360-degree view in all directions. Obviously, all of this attention to detail by Gunn and his crew pays off handsomely in making "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" the eye candy it is.
All of these components go hand-in-hand in creating a sequel which is sure to be as successful as its predecessor. "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" delivers what every fan wants --- and then some.
Opinion: See It Now!
I could almost cut-and-paste my previous review of the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014) and not skip a beat, but that would be a journalistic no-no, and Jeanne would kill me. However, know that "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is just as entertaining for the same reason as the original --- it doesn't take itself too seriously. And it features "Awesome Mixtape #2", a splendid sound track, featuring nostalgic hit songs from the sixties, none catchier than "Come A Little Bit Closer " (Jay and the Americans).
In an homage to previous cultural phenomena and his own childhood, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) mentions David Hasselhoff numerous times, speaking of the singer-actor in almost reverent tones. Moviegoers under 40 will have no clue what all the fuss is about, since his hit TV show aired about 35 years ago. But that's part of the fun.
"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" features the rag-tag crew fans are quite familiar with: the group's leader, half human/half alien, Quill, the green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the muscle-bound, tattooed Drax the Destroyer (David Bautista), the living tree-creature, now Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and perhaps most importantly, the lean-mean-fighting-machine raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper). Added to this mix is a beautiful alien (but only beautiful on the inside, according to Drax) named Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
Yondu (Michael Rooker) has a more prominent role here, and Sylvester Stallone has a couple of brief scenes. Kurt Russell has an extended part as intergalactic explorer Ego, and I won't ruin that surprise. But much of his on-screen time gets redundant, and could have been shortened.
The interactions of the Guardians are what makes this franchise really click. Seeing the massive Drax coddle and protect Baby Groot is typical of their love for one another, and that translates into a "family" we can all admire.
Opinion: See It Now!