Friday, May 5, 2017


Chris Pratt     Zoe Saldana     Dave Bautista     Vin Diesel     Bradley Cooper     Kurt Russell
Michael Rooker     Karen Gillan     Pom Klementieff     Elizabeth Debicki     Sylvester Stallone

     The complex action, visually capturing special effects, dry humor, and honest human emotions that were in the first GOTG are just as present here.  Director James Gunn co-wrote the screenplay with Dan Abnett, based on Marvel’s Comics, with credit given to the creators of certain characters.  Tender or heated dramatics with Quill’s curious circumstances around his history help balance the story with ferocious, fast-action battles and the, sometimes, hilarious arguments between protagonists.
     To open, we see a snippet of Quill’s parents during their courting days 34 years earlier in Missouri, his dad showing his mother a special plant that has great promise for him.  Jump to 2014, and Captain Quill (Pratt) and his team [Gamora (Saldana), Drax (Bautista), Baby Groot (Diesel), and Rocket (Cooper)] are being congratulated by Ayesha (Debicki) for doing good work.  Unfortunately, there is a kink in the good will when she discovers that some of her special batteries were stolen.  Feeling betrayed, she and her army are on their tail before long, and when that is a failure, she hires another group led by Yondu (Rooker), Quill’s father figure, to join the posse.  Adding complexity to the plot include mutiny, the resurfacing of Gamora’s evil sister Nebula (Gillan), and the appearance of Stakar Ogord (Stallone) to remind Yondu of his going against the code and the reason for his exile.
     Of course, the pièce de résistance is the arrival of a weird-looking spaceship that no one recognizes.  Out comes Ego (Russell), claiming to be Quill’s biological father who takes him and his crew to his very own planet.  As expected, there will be explanations, exclamations, and struggles as Quill tries to cope with this information and his father’s plans.
     The combination of entertaining characters and their interactions with one another made this film for me, although I did enjoy the special effects, especially the stunning weapons greeting a group of predators who thought they had Quill and his team captured.  The flirtatious teasing between Quill and Gamora and Drax and Mantis, along with Rocket and Groot becoming friends with everyone makes this a fun view.  But it’s more than that; it comments on the human condition in a most entertaining way.
     Chris Pratt shows his talent in combining the traits of a hunk with a genuine, caring regular guy (as he does here and recently in Passengers).  Kurt Russell is on a roll with this, The Fate of the Furious, Deepwater Horizon, and The Hateful Eight; but this role seems more substantive, and should win him more deserved recognition.  As well, the rest of the cast adds color and depth to their characters, contributing to a remarkable film.  And I would like to underscore the artistic merit of the music by Tyler Bates and cinematography by Henry Braham. 

Delightful entertainment balancing emotional valence with impressive special effects.

Grade:  A                                    By Donna R. Copeland

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