Film: Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Kurt Russell, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone & (the voices of ) Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel
Director: James Gunn
Emotionally engaging, visually splendid and funny to boot, volume two of the sci-fi superhero fantasy flick Guardians of the Galaxy has enough zing to make loyal fans of the Marvel cinematic universe clamour for more.
In 3D IMAX, the first half of this Marvel (lous) universe gives viewers the heady feel of being immersed in the action. And such frenetic action it is, which follows on a prologue introducing parentage and identity themes through a digitally-enhanced version of Star Lord Peter (Chris Pratt) Quill’s dad Ego (Kurt Russell) who is in search of the perfect offspring.
And boy, has Ego spawned gadzillions! He is, by his own account, a celestial possessing stupendous powers and an insatiable desire for… perfection? “I found meaning in my existence” he tells Peter, in a nasty subversion of Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s statement about man’s search for meaning. As they bond, Ego teaches Peter to create balls of light from nothing. But is Ego a good father? And what about Peter’s new found “family” comprising extraterrestrials Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket the racoon with identity issues (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and the endearing little tree-like creature Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).
The New Testament asks, “Who are my brothers and sisters?” Biological dads, the film says, aren’t always the best dads. Foster fathers may be fundamentally good which is why old foes like Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) the pirate who raised Peter after his mother (Laura Haddock) died, evolves into a staunch ally.
Life’s not so little ironies are further underlined by memorable 80s songs on the soundtrack such as George Harrison’s iconic “My Sweet Lord,” and Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son.”
Writer-director Gunn also gives the funniest lines to Drax in his encounters with the empath Mantis (Pom Klementieff) All in all then, Gunn helms a spirited follow up to the 2014 blockbuster in creating a new narrative revolving around fatherhood and sibling rivalry.