"I have famously huge turds!" is a line that you might find irksome rather than funny, but when it's delivered with the understated clarity and bombastic bluster of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, you'll be all aboard that laughing gig.
The first Guardians film was a hilarious thrill-ride, and going into the cinema I was hoping for more of the same from its sequel. It is largely produced by the same bunch that gave us the surprisingly entertaining original. I say "surprisingly entertaining" because the recent deluge of comic book adaptations has left me with a severe case of hero fatigue, but Vol.1 felt like a genuine breath of fresh air. It also did a wonderful job of paying homage to many of the classic adventure comedies of the eighties. Helmed again by James Gun who directed what will most likely be a career defining original, Vol. 2 only took as long as its opening sequence to plant me firmly back in its exciting and absurdly hilarious universe.
Having been found by his long-lost father in the outer reaches of the cosmos, Peter Quill, AKA Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), comes to terms with the immortality his father bestows on him, versus the mortality of what he considers his real family - the rag-tag bunch that make up the Guardians of the Galaxy. His Guardian buddies, in particular love interest Gamora (Zoe Saldana), are suspicious of Peter's father, Ego (played by Kurt Russell), and set about uncovering the truth. The plot mainly serves to flesh out each character rather than much else and veritably takes a back seat to the film's sassy style and swagger. Yes, Vol. 2 won me over entirely with its adept repartee coupled with incredibly stylistic set pieces all set to the back-drop of some pretty cool music. What's not to like?
But most importantly, like its predecessor, this film is fully aware of itself and its objectives - take you on a jaunty adventure and make you laugh in the process. It is Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, and Back to the Future all bundled together in a cassette tape and shot into space, although unlike Messrs Jones, Colton and McFly, it hasn't followed up its iconic original with a rubbish sequel. If Vol. 1 gave us that heady mix of comedy and adventure that the eighties got so right, then Vol. 2 has given us the sequel that the eighties never managed to deliver ... just watch other studios turn this formula into a cliche. Hopefully Waititi's Thor gets in before the stampede.
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Rating: 4 stars