“It’s Guardian! Why would I be a Garden of the Galaxy?”
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’, directed by James Gunn in 2017, is an American fantasy comedy. Chris Pratt plays Peter Quill, a human who was kidnapped by aliens when young and brought up with bounty hunters lead by a Fagin-like character called Yondu Udonta, played by Michael Rooker. In the first movie (of which this is a sequel) Quill gets involved with a group of misfits: an assassin, a warlord, an augmented racoon and sentient tree, and together they steal, kidnap, blackmail and con their way across planets, occasionally saving lives. The movie is an unlikely part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a genre that also includes the techno-thriller ‘Iron Man’, the political conspiracy thriller ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ and the fantastical ‘Thor’ films. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ takes a Douglas Adams approach to the science fiction, the movie is colourful, ironic and packed with humour. Unlike the more self-reflexive ‘Deadpool’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ stays within its own story and for all its colour and mad texture feels absolutely consistent. There is something here about nostalgia for the 1980s not just in the soundtrack but in the way the decade infuses the whole film from the nods towards video games, television and other movies. The pleasure of this is enhanced by the way this nostalgia comes from the story itself and is not just a whim of the director. Quill is kidnapped with only a tape and a Walkman to act as his link to home, and, since the first movie, these songs, often inappropriately cheerful or whimsical, have spread across the galaxy.
Would I recommend it? Fun, fast-paced, colourful and genuinely amusing. The nostalgic references aren’t shoe-horned in but form a critical part of the development of the characters. Watch in a double-bill with a Terry Gilliam movie maybe? Perhaps ‘Time Bandits’.