The flicks

Our he­roes are busy tread­ing wa­ter in not-so-deep space in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2, while in RAW you are what she eats

Sunday Territorian - - FRONTIER - LEIGH PAATSCH

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (M)

Di­rec­tor: James Gunn ( Guardians of the Galaxy) Star­ring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Sal­dana, Dave Bautista, Kurt Rus­sell, El­iz­a­beth De­bicki and the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. Rat­ing: *** The sci-fi ad­ven­ture block­buster Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is an odd duck as far as se­quels go. Where the first one left au­di­ences want­ing more, the fol­low-up leaves ev­ery­one feel­ing rather ex­hausted.

Sure, you can’t knock the film­mak­ers for hap­pily de­liv­er­ing too much of a good thing. Nev­er­the­less, a lit­tle stream­lin­ing in the right places — par­tic­u­larly in the script depart­ment, which is over­stuffed with pad­ding — would have gone a long way here.

Of course, it goes with­out say­ing that the orig­i­nal Guardians of the Galaxy is a very tough act to fol­low.

Ar­riv­ing as an un­known quan­tity from the back­blocks of the Marvel Comics uni­verse back in 2014, the first Guardians in­stal­ment was a bil­lion-dol­lar sen­sa­tion at the world­wide box­of­fice.

While Vol. 2 is cer­tain to do the same level of busi­ness, the el­e­ment of sur­prise is no longer a weapon it can wield at will.

In its best mo­ments, the movie is ir­re­sistible es­capism of the high­est or­der, a scrappy, wise­crack­ing cousin to Star Wars circa 1977.

How­ever, Vol. 2 can cruise on au­topi­lot for a touch too long at times, es­pe­cially when re­it­er­at­ing what ev­ery­one loved about the orig­i­nal.

This time around, the story is cen­tred on un­mask­ing the true parent­age of Guardians spear­head Peter Quill (Christo­pher Pratt).

While he was still liv­ing on Earth, Quill lost his mother trag­i­cally to a brain tu­mour. Once he came into his own as an in­ter­ga­lac­tic thief, the self-styled ‘Star Lord’ kept her mem­ory alive by sound­track­ing his ex­ploits with his Awe­some Mix­tape cas­sette com­pi­la­tions.

How­ever, there has al­ways been a hole in Quill’s life that no clas­sic pop hit from the 1970s can fill. By chance — dur­ing a spec­tac­u­lar fight­ing se­quence which opens Vol. 2 with a bang — Peter sud­denly comes face-to-face with the fa­ther he never knew,

The movie ac­tu­ally spills the beans on the iden­tity of Quill Se­nior quite early. How­ever, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter once the Guardians get busy with the old-school ban­ter and deep-space scrapes for which they are renowned.

Es­tab­lished se­ries reg­u­lars such as the alien Gamora (Zoe Sal­dana), mul­ti­coloured strong­man Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket the rac­coon (the voice of Bradley Cooper) re­main ap­peal­ing char­ac­ters purely on the strength of how they em­body the reck­less rap­port of the Guardians.

If you loved the leg­endary talk­ing tree Groot in the first movie, you will be pleased to learn the true star of Vol. 2 is Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a hy­per-adorable lit­tle trun­k­let who is more than just a mas­cot for the Guardians team.

New re­cruits to the saga will take longer for view­ers to warm to, whether they be vil­lains (Aus­tralia’s El­iz­a­beth De­bicki as a gold-cov­ered alien queen), he­roes (Michael Rooker’s Yondu, no longer a bad guy), or a pos­si­ble combo of both (Kurt Rus­sell as Ego, the hu­man em­bod­i­ment of a dan­ger­ous planet from which the Guardians are seek­ing es­cape).

Left, Karen Gil­lan. Cen­tre, Chris Pratt, fol­lowed by Dave Bautista and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper

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