Cinema review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Of course this interview began with us talking about where exactly we grew up because I couldn't help myself (don't worry, I cut out all of this to spare you), but it does end with a really weird sort of twist ending. In the other, wayward space pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker) effectively deals with a mutiny using an arrow that he can control with his whistling. As Peter gets to know his father, and even achieve his boyhood dream of tossing a ball back and forth with him, in typically off-kilter Guardians of the Galaxy way, the group is being chased down by a race of handsome gold people who claim to be genetically ideal, led by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), via drone-style attack ships.

Meanwhile, the guardians come in contact with none other than Peter Quill's long-lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell), a "Celestial" who is actually a planet but assumes human form in order to communicate. And I like the X-Men-style shifts of alliance. Not because Rocket is the main character or focal point of the comics or the film but rather because Gunn needed audiences to buy in 100 percent to this creature who had been taken apart and put back together or they wouldn't likely buy into any of insane "Guardians" universe. The first film was cleverly set to a soundtrack provided by Awesome Mixtape #1 that Peter's mom left him. Let us know if you have your tickets for opening weekend in the comments.

The film's charm is that the CGI effects, epic battles, and saving the universe hoopla take a back seat to the interplay among the characters. These are great characters, impeccably well cast, under the supervision of a genuine auteur talent inhabiting easily the most unique and weird status-quo in the modern blockbuster scene. But I do worry sometimes about how fans of the comic book are going to react to the movie, and wonder where this character who doesn't even exist in the comics kind of came from. By doing that, he grounds the film in something that is thoroughly engaging - and dare I say real - and that is the characters and their relationships to each other.

"You are wasting a lot of time here", Starlord grouses at one point, which might as well be a commentary about the movie's middle. And despite all the jokiness, it is also a film with a surprising amount of heart.

Remember that advance screenings start as early as 7 p.m. Thursday in some areas, so be sure to check Thursday listings to find out if you can be one of the first to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in 3D in your area. I think we just mesh well.

Do you even care about Kraglin in the comics? In many ways, "Guardians" reminds me of my favorite anime, "Cowboy Bebop", in which episodes packed with action were just as enjoyable as the shows where essentially nothing happened. As a result, even though it's playing with some fairly big and abstract science-fiction concepts, packs in a ton of Marvel easter eggs and the stakes are (eventually) once again the fate of The Galaxy itself; Vol. 2 really does feel like a much smaller and more intimate movie than its predecessor.

So thank you, Mr. Gunn, for starting off our summer movie season on such a high note.

  • Salvatore Jensen