Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 – Another Awesome Mixtape!

“It’s stylish, inventive and don’t worry, there are tons of easter eggs.”

Plug in the walkman people, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is here and it’s a sugary rush with another fantastic mixtape! Once again in high style, James Gunn, the director and writer of the first Guardians of the Galaxy, brings this second installment to life with a lot of familiar faces and a few newbies coming along for the ride. The first Guardians of the Galaxy brought together the original lovable misfit crew, but this time they are actually working together and on the same side for once. They also have a tiny, baby Groot instead. Groot sacrificed himself to save the Guardians at the end of the first movie, when he was regular sized, and now has regenerated into a cute, adorable and slightly more confused version of himself.

Often times sequels can unfortunately come off as a poorly made attempt at bridging the gap between the first and second movies. This is usually done with little to no plot development, or too much plot development and with a huge cliff-hanger ending, thus insuring the audience is still on board to the sequel’s final installment, cough, cough, the recent “Hobbit” trilogy. But this is not the case with Guardians Vol. 2, which has an awesome new soundtrack to take out for a spin and wow it’s audience. Gunn, instead of going off in many different directions, tries to keep to one story and this adventure only, with the main goal being to find out, dun-dun-dun, who Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord’s father is.

The now newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy, are hired out by anyone that needs help or saving and they are shaping up to have a great team dynamic, all working together, on the same page, until Rocket (played by Bradley Cooper) steals some very important batteries from one of their clients, oops. This is the first taste we get of Rocket’s character developing into the self-sabotaging type. From then on, all bets are off and they start to wonder if they really should be staying together as the Guardians they are supposed to be. The second movie takes place only a few months after the first, so Rocket didn’t waste anytime trying to stir up the pot and potentially break up the budding family dynamic.

Even when they are fighting amongst each other, or in the movie’s culminating, epic battle, each image is skillfully crafted with dazzling visuals to impress and light up the screen. There is one particular scene on a dying planet where Gamora is in a desert cave silhouetted with sand and wind wisping through; she is in danger, but the shot is just gorgeous. Gunn is able to create beauty in destruction. It was somewhat reminiscent of Charlize Theron as Furiosa in a scene from Mad Max Fury Road where she screams out while kneeling in the whirling sand; both scenes are powerful and stunning. (I thought the opening sequence/fight against the time-traveling octopus thing was a great example of this too!)

Another particularly well thought-out scene comes when Rocket and Yondu (played by the marvelous Michael Rooker), are trying to meet up with the rest of the Guardians. Yes, Yondu’s the one with the blue skin and crazy red mohawk-like thing on his head. Rocket and Yondu are traveling to several different planets through “jump points,” of which it is only safe to go through 75 at one time, but they decide to go through 300! They are going so fast that their bodies go haywire and crazy things start to happen. Their eyes and noses and hands bulge and shrink at a rapid rate, in an almost cartoonish effect. It is kind of a neat trick, reminiscent of 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit or even better, an actual comic, and shows how much attention to detail Gunn has.

There is plenty of humor and slapstick peppered throughout, similar to the first movie, but this time around they turn it up a notch, with countless 80’s pop culture references. Peter Quill, blatantly yells out random “Cheers” references and a famous man who used to wear red swim trunks, he shows up too!

Volume 2 is maybe not better than the first one, but it comes pretty darn close. It’s stylish, inventive and don’t worry, there are tons of easter eggs. Hint, they really are gearing up for Thor Ragnarok. So if you are having a rough day and want to go snort with laughter uncomfortably like Drax, or need a good movie for your own crew’s night out; Volume 2 does not disappoint.

Rating 4 Alien Thumbs Up out of 5