Review: The tunes aren’t quite as good second time around in Guardian Of The Galaxy Vol 2

Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in Marvel sequel Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Picture: Marvel

Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in Marvel sequel Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Picture: Marvel Studios/Disney - Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

The sequel to the Marvel film for people who don't like Marvel films is sharper and funnier than the original, but somewhere in the second half it loses its way.

Guardian Of The Galaxy Vol 2 (12A)

***

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.


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

The fact that nobody much knew who these characters were, meant that 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.

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Even the best 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 and the lack of originality made it seem all very innocent.

Vol 2 takes on the mystery of who 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 50-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 Volume two of his dead mums' Awesome Mix tape aren't nearly as good, or as recognisable as in the first film.

Rooker's big moment is a single handed prison escape in which his character massacres a heap of people, kind of in the style of the corridor sequence in Oldboy, but the song they use with it doesn't register at all. 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 the film has adopted. Like the Furious Family, this series seems intent on picking up any strays it comes across and including loads of almost instantaneous allegiance swaps where sworn enemies go to aw shucks put it there in a matter of minutes.

While the finale of the first film was a magnificent aerial battle scene – Marvel can do wonders in blue sky sequence – the big final scene here is an overblown exploding-planet-universe-saving CGI blur which is hard to get involved with.

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 Shatter directed where the crew find God, and get into a fight with him.

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