Review: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

A new Marvel film on the calendar is always an ideal opportunity to spend some quality screen-gawking time with my eldest comic-obsessed offspring. Having basked in several weeks of the pre-release hype and media buzz, we finally dragged our butts down to the local cinema to gorge ourselves on two hours of spaceships, gunfights and a traditionally retro soundtrack. Having plucked the characters from the almost total obscurity of the Marvel back catalogue, the original Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) was a surprise success mixing marvel production values with Chris Pratt’s off the cuff wit. Coming at a time when the cinemas were already at Marvel-saturation point with multiple features starring the default cash-cow A-team (Hulk, Cap, Iron Man, etc), Guardians felt like a welcome jog in a new direction.

This new entry in the series sees (almost) the original ensemble fending off the wrath of a million-strong army of golden aliens who become more than a little vexed when a deal goes bad. Along the way, the crew encounter Star-Lord’s biological father, Ego (played by Kurt Russell) and the party splits to take the action both to the mutinous crew of Yondu’s ravagers and out beyond the stars to see Ego’s world.

New additions to the lineup include Mantis, ego’s empathic assistant played by Pom Klementieff and slightly less new (or more, depending on how you look at it) is Groot’s new child-form after his destruction and subsequent ‘re-potting’ in the original movie. Both compete to be most adorable thing on screen at any given moment but it is most often mini-Groot that steals the show, especially for the kids.

Old enemies also find themselves with reasons to question old grudges and by the time the movie is over we find ourselves facing a roster swelled with a mixture of new and old.

Without giving too much away, the film’s dramatic balls-to-the-wall action finale is followed by an endearing farewell to an old foe who, having found redemption receives a touching goodbye of worthily impressive scale. It’s very endearing and I was surprised to find myself left quite emotional by it.

Family Friendly?

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is rated 12A in the UK which usually means that the majority of the content is safe enough for viewers over that age but that some scenes may be unsuitable for younger viewers. That’s certainly true of the original film. Even now we prefer to skip the first scene due to the heavy emotional scenes of Peter Quill seeing his mother die of cancer, preferring instead to start off the experience with Star-Lord skipping across an alien landscape in search of the artifact. The same is broadly true of the sequel except that whilst adult themes remain, there’s no heavy emotional scenes for children to be particularly troubled with. Parents may want to consider the following points

In the UK the movie was preceded by trailers including a Sky promo for
their new series Jamestown which did make me briefly worried I may
have to explain what was going on here.

 

As for the film itself, the violence is all fairly cartoonish although sensitive kids may not respond well to seeing a lot of Yondu’s arrow whistling through the bodies of his enemies. There was also a fairly graphic scene of ย pirates being subjected to the ‘death-by-airlock’ style of execution. It’s probably not worth missing the movie for but you may want to skip ahead slightly if you’re watching at home.

In terms of sexual content it’s very minimal and there is no nudity to speak of. There is one scene featuring what is clearly a building full of yellow sex robots though but it’s a backdrop, not the focus of the action. There’s also a scene that features quite a lot of penis talk but that only left the boys we brought in fits of giggles.

Fans of after-credits scenes will be pleased as this features not one but three additional scenes that play at intervals as the credits roll. It’s actually pretty interesting that this is the very first movie where I noticed the ’embellished credits’ (i.e. the ones you see before they inevitably drop back to plain old black and white) lasted all the way to the end of the roll. So, whilst waiting for the scenes to pop up, we were watching something far more animated and interesting than the usual scrolling text. So, weirdly, Marvel must now realise that, in putting ‘post-credits scenes’ at the end of the movie, they now have an opportunity to make the credits themselves that much more engaging and worth sitting through.

Overall we found the film to be a worthy successor to the original and we’re looking forward to, as promised, when ‘the Guardians of the Galaxy will return’.

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