For many the original Guardians film was a surprise favourite within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Expectations were low as these characters were not as beloved by more causal comic book fans as the others, so no-one knew what to expect. The witty banter between Pratt and company was a breath of fresh air and their intergalactic adventures more than warranted a sequel.
So to Volume 2 with expectations significantly raised and no clue as to how these rag tag bunch of miscreants would repeat their previous exploits. Truthfully, they have repeated the formula which brought them so much acclaim. Adopting a 'if it's not broke don't fix it' approach we meet the gang back working for the Sovereign to protecting their energy source from an alien being in exchange for cold, hard cash. These are not your typical superheroes. These are mercenaries and we are very quick to forget this amidst the jokes, jibes and 80s music inflections. They work for cash and will often use scurrilous means to get the job done.
The first 20 minutes or so of this film I found insufferable, as each character tried to out banter the others and land the ultimate sarcastic zinger. In Volume 1 the banter and gags felt more honest. In the opening of this edition it felt forced and irritating.
I am pleased to say however that the film quickly settled back down and returned to intergalactic romp formula. Old characters were reintroduced and new foes appeared all while Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is introduced to the idea that his father was not just an alien, but a living planet, Ego (Kurt Russell) making him a celestial being. If it sounds complicated its because it is a little! An over saturation of characters and ideas is possibly the biggest problem the film suffers from. Guardians has always enjoyed a plethora of characters and their interconnectivity is vital. However, it may be hard for the casual fan to keep track particularly given the new arrivals.
At the heart of this movie is the importance of family. Not the family of flesh and bone but the family of friendship and the willingness to put that on the line for those you love. Peter Quill/Star-Lord desperately wants a father and family. He wants to be part of family and feel like he belongs as this is what has eluded him for so much of his life. It will come as no surprise to learn that family he so desperately seeks has been around him the whole time. Through it all this ragamuffin family have won the hearts of many a viewer and I am no exception.
Formulaic in many ways but no less enjoyable for it, the news that the Guardians will return for Vol 3 made me realise just how much this bunch are a much loved member of the MCU family.