Dog’s Movie House: “Guardians: Vol 2” Kicks Off The Summer Movie Season With A Bang!


Howdy Folks!  It’s The Kendog!


Chris Pratt & Dave Bautista In “Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol 2.”

I’ve been reading the reviews of some of my colleagues regarding Marvel Studios latest release, “Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol 2” and I’m surprised at how many of them seem to say “It’s great . . .but” like some sort of qualification is needed to enjoy a movie.  The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that it’s not the “breath of fresh air” the original was.  Here’s the memo:  “OF COURSE IT ISN’T!”  The is the second film featuring the same characters, similar situations, and all of the things we liked about the first film.  There is obviously going to be a sense of familiarity with the second film.  That doesn’t mean “Vol. 2” can’t be as good its predecessor.  In point of fact both films are equally great, but for very different reasons. 





“Guardians 2” picks up a short time after the first film ends, with Peter “Star Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) and his group of rag-tag heroes engaged in helping defend an arrogant race of gold-skinned aliens called the Sovereign from a nasty interdimensional beast.  The team, including Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the adorable Baby Groot (voiced By Vin Diesel) save the day, but Rocket’s thieving nature gets the better of him and they are soon being hunted by their former employers. 







Salvation comes in the form of a being named Ego (Kurt Russell in fine form) a powerful alien who not only has created the embodiment of a living planet, but also claims to be Star Lord’s father.  While Quill, Gamora and Drax head to Ego’s homeworld, Rocket, Baby Groot, and Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s adopted sister, stay behind to fix the ship, where they are besieged by the Ravagers led by the highly amoral yet highly entertaining Yondu (Michael Rooker)  After several misunderstandings, everyone teams up to head to Ego’s home world to ensure that Ego is on the up-and-up.




As you can tell by the synopsis, “Guardians 2” has a lot of balls in the air, thematically speaking, but writer/director James Gunn is a master juggler when it comes to this stuff.  The story is ostensibly about family and the beats Gunn hits are about as subtle as a drummer in a college marching band, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  If the first film was about the Guardians coming together as a team, then the second film revolves around them strengthening their bonds as that team and learning that family is more than just blood.  The cement that holds these bonds together is the constant and very funny bickering and wisecracking the members of the team do with one another on an almost constant basis.




For banter to work, you have to have the actors in place to do the job and the returning cast is aces.   Pratt is a more mature Star Lord this time around, but not much, and the personal journey he engages upon with Ego is the biggest emotional journey in the film.  He gets wonderful support from Dave Bautista as Drax who, while just as funny as in the first film, gets a fuller character to work with.  Drax is the only one who believes completely in his dysfunctional family from beginning to end, and in many ways he provides the moral bedrock for the team.  That doesn’t stop him from continuing to say the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time, however, often with hilarious results.  Cooper continues to invest Rocket with a combination of snark and rage that really resonated with me as a viewer.  Rocket has a chip on his shoulder a mile wide and with good reason, but his becoming a trusted teammate and friend relies on the challenge of him growing beyond that and learning to trust anyone who isn’t a talking tree. 





Saldana’s Gamora has an arc of her own in dealing with her murderous sister.  Her scenes with Gillan’s Nebula are very well done and feel natural within the context of the film.  Saldana also has good chemistry with Pratt as the “maybe attraction” level is pushed to its comedic limits.  As for Baby Groot, he’s just cute as hell and, as in the first film, provides some of the killer laughs in this movie. 





Special mention has to go to Rooker as Yondu as his arc is much more fleshed out in this film.  Yondu not only has to deal with the Guardians but also a crew bent on mutiny for reasons that become readily apparent in the film.  Rooker kills it in the film, revealing a surprising emotional side to his previous comic villainy.  And by the way, I want one of those whistle activated darts he uses so well.




Of the newcomers, Russell is awesome as Ego and it says something for his ability to be so damn likeable that you are rooting for him to be the genuine article despite some evidence to the contrary.  Gunn also uses the de-aging technique on him to wonderful effect, making me instantly hopeful for a “Big Trouble In Little China” sequel.  Pom Klementieff is delightful as Mantis, Ego’s empath companion.  She and Drax have a little give and take going on that provide some of the biggest laughs in the movie.  Also look for a small yet important role for none other than Sylvester Stallone.   His appearance pays dividends later in the film.   


The effects work is incredibly well done and the music is to die for, just like the first movie.   The Mixtape for “Volume 2” is going to be a best seller I’m sure.  The film’s two and a half hour runtime goes by with a snap of the finger and definitely leaves you wanting more.  I can’t wait to see the Guardians in the newest Avengers film.   Get your tickets early and see “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2” on the big screen as soon as you can.  The summer movie season could not have gotten off to a better start.  4 ½ Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!  So Sayeth The Kendog! 

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