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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Review!

J’son Jondee here at The Sovereign,

It’s time to travel with the Milano back to the other side of the galaxy with some spoilers along the way! First, this is an enjoyable film; I like the development of the characters over the breakneck action of the first movie. Second, it appears that Marvel has given James Gunn free reign with directing, there are few ties to the rest of the MCU, and he has departed from the Marvel formula. So, now be prepared to venture into the spoilers! The film begins with a flashback to 1984, Missouri, about four years earlier than the events of the first Guardians film, and four years after Peter was born. This is a meeting with Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) and a stranger, a CG young-ified Kurt Russell. He takes her into the woods behind a Dairy Queen, all to the tune of Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl), while he plants a strange pod into the ground. We shift from there to thirty years later, 2014, after Guardians 1, on the planet Sovereign. The Guardians of the Galaxy are there to protect some valuable Anulax Batteries.

They face the beastie seen in the trailer, the Abilisk, and while the Guardians get in a fierce battle, Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel, probably his best part) has attached the sound system and dances to music! Baby Groot is adorbs, but we get that he isn’t focused on helping the others and gets tasks confused. Drax (Dave Bautista) has a fun role in this film, a more comedic part, but he doesn’t get too much into the action. He dives into the belly of the beastie to try to stab it from the inside. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is able to take down the Abilisk. Though the film’s plot hinges on Star Lord, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), I think the character development really focuses on Gamora and her sister, I wanted them to break away on go on their own adventures. They have a contentious sister relationship sort of like the Dark Side of Frozen.  The Guardians are successful and Star Lord remarks is that they just have to respectful to The Sovereign since they are a strict people. They are ruled by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) who like the other Sovereign is gold skinned (it reminds me of the Psi-Lords from Valiant Comics). I suspect that she emerged from the cocoon that was seen in The Collector’s Museum in Thor: The Dark World (2013). The character has a complicated history, first appearing as Her in Marvel Two-In-One #61 (1980), but became Ayesha in Fantastic Four #11 (1998). She is the kind of villain in this film sort of like the Ravagers in the first movie.

In lieu of payment to the Guardians, Nebula (Karen Gillan) is given to their custody. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) admits to Drax that he stole the batteries. This sends the Sovereign fleet after their ship. The ships are remotely controlled like drones in video game like consoles. They try to slip into a quantum asteroid field which has asteroids appearing and shifting. Drax puts on a suit, which is a hexagonal force field, and uses a tether line to go out and shoot down the Sovereign ships. He sees another ship shred the entire fleet to pieces. The Sovereigns on the planet are disappointed when their screens go red with each ship’s destruction. The Guardians crash land on the forested planet Berhert. Soon, another ship lands, the one that destroyed the fleet!, its hatch opens and out comes Ego (Kurt Russell) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Ego was known as the Living Planet and debuted in Thor #133 (1966). Mantis first appeared in The Avengers #112 (1973) and she has a dubious history. She started as a Vietnamese prostitute (changed in the MCU version of course), became an Avenger, and eventually became the Celestial Madonna, marrying a tree (Groot should be jealous). Still, she played a part in the fight against Thanos so should be important in Avengers: Infinity War.

There is a mystery to Ego and why he abandoned Peter’s mother. Mantis is the innocent , her empathic powers are needed by Ego, and she has a friendship with Drax. Klementieff is a welcome addition to the Guardians.  They are divided with Ego revealing he is Star Lord’s father, so he travels with Gamora and Drax while Rocket repairs the ship with Baby Groot and Nebula. On Contraxia, Yondu (Michael Rooker), watches the other Ravagers have fun. It is a wild Vegas-type planet with robot courtesans. Yondu has a nice character arc here. His rule of the other pirates is questioned by another Ravager, Taserface (Chris Sullivan), whose name becomes a running joke. He actually is a comic book character introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (1990)! On the sidelines is Kraglin (Sean Gunn) who becomes pivotal in the story. Yondu is confronted with a surprise cameo by Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord. He was known as Starhawk, part of the original Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics, and first appeared in The Defenders #28 (1975).

There is also another original Guardian, a gem-like alien named Martinex played by Michael Rosenbaum. He debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969). Other Guardians introduced are Charlie-27 (Ving Rhames), Aleta Ogord (Michelle Yeoh) who is Stakar’s wife, Krugarr, not part of the comics Guardians, and Mainframe (Miley Cyrus), not a known comics character. I only noticed Martinex since I remembered him from the comics. Stakar is angry that Yondu broke their code and sees no honor in him. Yondu is given the assignment to track down the Guardians and he put a tracker on their ship. The ambush of the Ravagers is funny, but some of the later action has a high body count. Guardians Vol. 2 is similar to the first Guardians film in having content that will not be appropriate to all ages. I think some minor changes could be made without compromising Gunn’s artistic sensibilities. There are several end credit scenes and of course a Stan Lee cameo that ties in all of his cameos! I went to an AMC theater and picked up a free pack of three trading cards; Mantis, Baby Groot, and Drax! This movie is a fresh breath for the Marvel movies, some laughs, fun action, but not the wild visuals of the first movie like Knowhere.

Three point five Orbs out of Five!

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