Friday, 28 April 2017

REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

4/5

Big Ego In Little Planet.

136 Mins. Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Gunn, Chris Sullivan, Michael Rosenbaum, Ving Rhames, Michelle Yeoh, Miley Cyrus, Sylvester Stallone & Kurt Russell. Director: James Gunn.

Groot Scott! The Ego has landed...and we aren't talking about Chris Pratt's R.D.J. Stark, Iron Man rivalling Star-Lord. This is the frickin sequel to the 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' a-holes. So pop the 'Vol. 2' cassette in the tape deck. It's showtime! Now if you thought 'Civil War' was big Captain America, just you wait for the intergalatic one and all its infinite possibilities. After the racoon and talking tree of the first Guardians became an underdog hit that no one saw coming it opened all sorts of portals for Marvel's cosmic 'Doctor Strange' and the little/big 'Ant-Man' to grow. Now the thief, two thugs, assassin and maniac are back in 'GOTG Vol. 2' for a chance to give a s### again. Exploding like a cherry bomb in the solar system. And dynamic director James Gunn shoots for the milky way and all the planets once more with all his conceited d##### bags and young saplings. Gunning for something good, something bad and a little bit of both. As the 'Farscape' like serenity of this galaxy quest changing of the guard looks to bring more retro 80's nostalgic bang for your Rogers buck, as these hitchikers give you another tour de force of the space between far, far away. The next generation of Avengers are ready to assemble with earths mightiest heroes for next years 'Infinity War'. But right now in zapping the 'Justice League' Summer blockbuster competition of 'Valerian-And The City Of A Thousand Planets', 'Kingsman', 'The Mummy' and the 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' they are adding another volume to the webs Spider-Man's 'Homecoming' spins across the world, aswell as the ghost riding 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.', the Netflix street-level 'Defenders' and the gladiators that missed the 'Civil War' in 'Ragnarok' work friends Thor and the Incredible Hulk. Sounds smashing!

Pratt, Pratt, Pratt. Say his name three times like the Candyman or his Twitter handle and Chris will still be anything but his surname, making his Hollywood Walk Of Fame one. Ever since the 'Parks and Recreation' star ditched the vacation body and knocked it out the park here like he did in 'Moneyball', he became one of Marvel and the whole cinematic universe's most bankable leading men. Starring in classic reboots of franchises like the monster 'Jurassic World' and the gun-slinging 'The Magnificent Seven'. Star-Lord, Marvel's answer to 'Star Wars'' Han Solo even managed to creep out the Mystique of X-Woman and 'Passengers' Jennifer Lawrence in what was either a spoiler or stalker alert. But here much more charming this smuggler is still a Walkman scene stealer charisma machine. Acting his tube socks off and riding rifle shotgun with sword slashing, green sci-fi queen Zoe Saldana as Gamora. The blue megastar of 'Avatar' in this blue sky like she was out of this world, beyond the 'Star Trek' energized reboot in a red dress shirt. Again the Hulk coloured envy of everyone including Thanos' daughter and Avatar-toned sister Nebula, played with bald, ballsy ambition by 'Doctor Who's' Tardis time jumper Karen Gillan, truly great here. Then there's Dave Bautista. Who wrestled with critics questioning Marvel's choice before he literally destroyed it as Drax, quite possibly the most hilarious thing about Marvel's funniest franchise. Nothing is going over our heads here, especially perfect comic timing from the man who went from odd-job to Bond henchmen villain with Jaws like fingernails. And of course who could forget the dynamite duo switching shoulders? Rocket and Groot. With the voices of arguably two of the most famous faces of this franchise. Rocket man Bradley Cooper, one of the worlds sexiest men playing a rodent with a vermin verve and voice so good you forget you're hangin' with Mr. Cooper. And as the circle of the tree of life must go on and find a way, how about 'Fast and Furious', gravel drive voiced Vin Diesel as the chip off the old block Baby Groot (and thinking of Marvel's hip-hop variant comic album covers. We need one with Baby Groot in the swimming pool of Nirvana's 'Never Mind', reaching for the Awesome Mix Vol. 2 Walkman cassette...twig included)? The cutest thing on screen reaching new heights thanks to the branching out Vin's pitch perfect delivery and secret script with James Gunn for more meaning. In what is the 'xXx' returning stars week, month and year he is always Groot.

Whistle whilst you watch though because 'Days Of Thunder' gunner Michael Rooker is back in the Ravaging spaceship driving seat. Dixie with an arrow for anyone willing to troll his new maverick mohawawk and the directors seriously good brother Sean Gunn by his sidearm. This surrogate dad is about to pop up like you've never seen him before. And boy is it going to be something. Empowering newcomer Pom Klementieff preys on peoples emotions too like an emphatethic Mantis. Whilst just when you thought she was going to play the amazing Angela, 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' breakout star Elizabeth Debicki who managed the night with Loki's Tom Hiddleston is given the Goldfinger art deco treatment as Ayesha, another iconic villain in comic book lore. And that's not it for a cast list that includes everyone. From 'This Is Us' favourite Chris Sullivan as the amazingly named Taser Face. This being an actor that was the nicest thing about Season 1 of 'Stranger Things'. To even Lex Luthor for Detective Comic crying out loud. No not Jesse Eisenberg, but 'Smallville's Michael Rosenbaum...no one did bald quite like him. Sorry Chris...or should we say...Taser?! Not to mention 'Crouching Tiger' hidden legend, Michelle Yeoh, 'Pulp Fiction' icon Ving Rhames and the acting 'Wrecking Ball' of Miley Cyrus, lady of brother of Thor Liam Hemsworth. Even if the great Glenn Close is sadly not back for another encounter (just unfortunatly like 'Kong: Skull Island' favourite John C. Reilly), we have something like The Donald. Not Trump but the duck! Still if you want cult action hero legends then lets stay in the same Diesel 'Fast and Furious' lane like it was all 'Fat8'. As 'Big Trouble In Little China', 80's 'Escape' Snake hero Kurt Russell (who also gets the Michael Douglas young Hank Pym treatment), is a real big thing here. Carpenter's cinematic son plays Quill's pops, giving Star-Lord the 'Star Wars', "I am your father" shock treatment. Estranged fathers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but this big Ego character that has a hell of a lot of super id is an actual Living Planet. Looks like his mums got some real explaining to do via her next mixtape. But hey at least the trade with Fox's 'Deadpool' for the kick ass Negasonic Teenage Warhead was worth it. And with some Cash for your money, how about a Tango too? As 'Judge Dredd' himself Sylvester Stallone breaks the big "I am" laws of space as Rocky climbs the steps all the way to the stratosphere. And it's another knockout for Balboa, even if it only takes a few rounds. Sly has barely looked better and cunningly it looks like he has something planned...and that may just be a hell of a lot of fun. These connections and family ties are all linked together by Fleetwood Mac's classic 'The Chain' that as soon as it's Groot plugged, Formula 1 sets this 'Awesome Mix Vol. 2' off like a E.L.O. 'Mr. Blue Sky' rocket boost. Just like the reel to reel of Beatle George Harrison's mesmerizing 'My Sweet Lord', Sam Cooke's beautiful 'Bring It On Home' (that made the opening scene of Will Smith's 'Ali' biopic truly the greatest) and the epic emotion of Cat Stevens 'Father and Son' parentage that keep this soundtrack as legendary as the movie that it's a huge part of itself hooked on a feeling. Marvel and the Summer season of blockbusters may be scorching, but these fireflies holding guard are hot like those coffees that have you playing the side of your take out cup like a saxophone. This is still great and we are still Groot. What more would you expect from a marvelling franchise as reality defying reliable as the classic cameos from it's creator (like the one they thought up with originally with The Collector which is as missed as Benicio Del Toro here) and the traditional post credit reveal scenes which your butt better hold on to for five times this go round? Well there's even more legendary cameos and easter eggs of Marvel and entertainment lore just weeks after he is risen in this game of Gods. Now Marvel's avenging cosmonaut Buzz Aldrin's and Lighyears are ready to go to infinity...and beyond. Time to play the big-three as Volume 2 is one awesome mix of A-holes...obviously! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

See This If You Liked: 'The Avengers', 'Star Wars', 'Star Trek'.

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