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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2

SYNOPSIS: Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) parentage becomes a key issue as he and his team of disparate misfits travel through the galaxy on different missions. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is the cool assassin, Drax (Dave Bautista), the loud muscle man, Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), the gun-happy raccoon and his tree-creature sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).

Review by Louise Keller:
Losing none of the quirky fun and adventure of the 2014 original, this fast-paced Marvel sequel is highly inventive, irreverent and never takes itself too seriously as it explodes onto the screen in a dazzling action-packed sci-fi extravaganza. While the key to the film's appeal lies in its motley bunch of characters and their relationships, beyond the superb production design and wild make-up, there is a compelling and upbeat 70s soundtrack, which adds an extra dimension. Unsurprisingly, the diminutive tree-creature Baby Groot (voiced by the not so diminutive, gravel-voiced Vin Diesel) and trigger-happy raccoon Rocket (voiced by - and looking like Bradley Cooper) steal the film - and our hearts.

After a brief scene set in 1980 Missouri with a miraculously digitally youthenised Kurt Russell, the action catapults to a rambunctious intergalactic battle that shows the adventurous spirit and risk-taking of the central characters. I like the way all the characters are all a beguiling mix of imperfections; there is no such thing as black and white. Even when it comes to who is the enemy. Battle scenes are elevated into an entertainingly choreographed ballet set to music: violence is refreshingly played down. Music is a tool for humour.

Plot points include the heroic Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)'s wish to discover the secret of his parentage and the 'unspoken' relationship with Zoe Saldana's shapely green-faced assassin Gamora develops nicely. There is a deadly sisterly feud between Gamora and the duplicitous Nebula (Karen Gillan), while the insult-driven interaction between ever-laughing tough-guy Dave Bautista and Elizabeth Debicki's Mantis, the soulful alien from the planet Ego who can sense emotions, is hilarious. Yondu (Michael Rooker), with powder blue face and bad teeth also has an important role to play. Watch out for Sylvester Stallone in a cameo - he fits right in with the colourful characters. There is also a running-gag involving actor David Hasselhoff - and a fun payoff at the end. (Don't rush away before the end credits.)

The best moments involve the adorable Groot and Rocket: my favourite scene is the one in which Rocket tries seemingly in vain to train Groot to press the right detonating button. (We have already seen in an earlier scene how Groot can misunderstand instructions - with comical results.) The fact that Vin Diesel voices Groot and Groot does not actually say anything intelligible is a joke in itself.

Visually stunning, the film is a blast: a joyous sci-fi fantasy outing filled with weird and wonderful characters, cheeky humour and a plot that offers just the right blend of emotional glue. It soars on the wings of imagination.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2 (M)
(US, 2017)

CAST: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista

VOICES: Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

PRODUCER: Kevin Feige

DIRECTOR: James Gunn

SCRIPT: James Gunn (based on Marvel comic by Dan Abnett)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Henry Braham

EDITOR: Fred Raskin, Craig Wood

MUSIC: Tyler Bates

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Scott Chambliss

RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: WDS

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 27, 2017







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