+ high-res version

Watched: 8 September

A disappointingly predictable sequel, in which they’ve unsurprisingly dialled everything that audiences responded to while watching the first Guardians Of The Galaxy movie up to eleven – so even more lashings of intra-group banter, which is a good thing, and more soundtrack-shifting AOR/MOR hits from the 1970s and 1980s – while also throwing anything and everything at the screen in the hope that some of it sticks: there’s a proliferation of increasingly psychedelic (though occasionally dodgy) visual effects peppering this MCU space romp, as well as appearances by instantly recognisable legends, which I assume are supposed to impress but in fact come off as a bit naff; as such Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell join the original cast, but for what it’s worth it could have been any old experienced dude combo, like Jeff Bridges and Liam Neeson, or Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bobby De Niro, or Morgan Freeman and a CGI version of a CGI version of Peter Cushing. Anyway, despite a pervading feeling that the film is ultimately suffering from a lack of risk by simply dishing up more of the same (in increased quantities), one has to admit that not fixing something that isn’t broken is a sure-fire way to make oodles of cash, and the film is still a lot of fun at times, particularly when the so-so plot is ditched in favour of interplay between the Guardians. Of these, Dave Bautista’s Drax is still at the heart of every comic highlight, and I’d happily sit through at least one more film featuring that particular character. In short, this is an effective and occasionally enjoyable – but ultimately cynical – water-treading franchise blockbuster. (***)


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