He says ‘Welcome to the frickin Guardians of the Galaxy! Only he didn’t use ‘frickin’.
When we’re first reunited with the titular Guardians they’ve been hired by the Sovereign (a race of golden, snotty, and genetically-engineered super-beings) to defend some valuable batteries from a horrific beast. The beast does indeed come and it’s a grueling battle for the Guardians…but that isn’t the main focus of the sequence. No much of what we see is snippets as the camera follows Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) happily dancing away to Quill’s music tracks.
Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper)
This is pivotal to the core of the movie. Yes, Guardians is a comic book/syfy feature. Yes, it involves lots and LOTS of gnarly battle sequences. But the fisticuffs aren’t really the point here. Guardians’ focus is primarily on family, to the point where it can feel like you’re being hit over the head with it. Still, can’t deny that it works; whether it be blood ties like that between Quill (Chris Pratt) and his hither-to unknown father, the Celestial being known as Ego (Kurt Russell who’s an absolute hoot), or the man who raised him, the alien Ravage Yondu (a surprisingly sensitive and touching performance by Michael Rooker). And it’s not just Quill’s family issues on display. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) has some serious sibling rivalry and baggage going with her adopted sister Nebula (an utterly transformed Karen Gillan who shines in the role). Plus, there’s the fact that the Guardians themselves are a fairly bizarre, make-shift family with some members (coughRocketcough – voiced by Bradley Cooper) determined to be as prickly as possible. And everybody finds themselves taking on a parental role when it comes to Baby Groot.
Kurt Russell as Ego
Welcome newcomers include Elizabeth Debicki as the haughty and inhumanly beautiful Sovereign High Priestess Ayesha and Pom Klementieff as Ego’s adorable pet empath, Mantiss, along with a surprise cameo that’s just perfect. Watching all these disparate personalities interact with one another is what Guardians is all about. Well, that and its killer soundtrack.
Not that we don’t get a plentiful share of groovy sci-fi concepts along the way. A Ravager bar on an ice world that’s just the right mix of gaudy and disreputable. Ego’s home world is a visually dazzling delight for the eyes. Yondu’s ‘whistle stick’ is even more glorious this time around. And there’s a space funeral that is one of the most beautiful things imaginable. It’s sometimes a little too evident that Gunn is trying to entertain us with more of the same from the first movie, but in the end it is indeed very entertaining.
Photos courtesy of Marvel