The first GotG movie was nothing short of brilliance from writer and director James Gunn who was already going great guns (pun intended) after things like Slithers and Super. However, following up such a hit isn’t always easy, does Gunn and the GotG team manage to pull off that tricky second album, I mean, film?

Guardians of the Galaxy reunites the crew of Peter Quill, Chris Pratt (Passengers, Jurassic World), Gamora, Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Beyond, Avatar), Drax, Dave Bautista (Spectre, Enter the Warriors Gate), Baby Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel (Fast & Furious franchise) and Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper (Limitless, American Hustle) as they continue their quest to do a bit of good, a bit of bad and find out just where Peter Quill comes from.

How do you pull off that tricky second album, I mean, film? Well, you get James Gunn back in the driving seat, give him an IMAX camera and let him loose. What he’s created is, and I do not say this lightly, THE best opening to a movie I have ever seen. This is nothing short of a work of genius, the opening couple of scenes of GotG Vol. 2 are absolutely amazing.

The use of IMAX is evident (most evident in the opening shot) when we see a flashback to Peter’s mum and his father. It’s when we switch to present day and find the gang protecting some batteries for the Sovereign, led by High Priestess Ayesha, Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager (TV), The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), from a giant, alien-squid-octopus-thing, that things really kick. It’s shot in such a way that you can’t help but laugh and smile as the battle rages in the background whilst Baby Groot, well, he does exactly what you want him to do and what made him a star at the end of the first GotG.

Despite saving the batteries from the alien-thing, Rocket decides to steal the them anyway and insult the Sovereign – something punishable by death, they’re ‘highly sensitive’, which leads the Sovereign to chase our heroes who are saved by a very small man on a space-ship. Enter Peter’s father Ego, Kurt Russell (The Hateful Eight, The Fate of the Furious), who has been searching for his son for, well, that would be telling.

Our other favourites are back from GotG including Michael Rooker as Yondu, Karen Gillan as Nebula and Sean Gunn as Kraglin. We also get Pom Klementieff (Old Boy, Hacker’s Game) as Mantis and a whole bunch of cameos who I won’t name to prevent spoilers but they are both great and weird and wonderful in bountiful equal measure.

It’s difficult to say more without giving things away and the last thing I want to do is spoilt your enjoyment of what is a funny, very funny (that it isn’t classed as a comedy on IMDB is a bit of a miss), action-packed, adventure movie with more nods to the eighties and more opportunity to spot references than you can shake a stick at.

I will say that you should stick around until the end, right at the end, the credits zip through and Gunn has added bits to keep you interested whilst you wait for the three little tidbits we get to see, including the setup of another Marvel bunch of rag-tag heroes involving one of the cameos.

Do keep in mind that this is the second-time round, things aren’t as fresh as they were in volume 1. We know Rocket is a wise-ass, we know Drax doesn’t understand irony etc, etc. It’s difficult to bring more into what was already there. I think Gunn has done very well to add enough extra stuff to keep it fresh enough without sacrificing too much. Perhaps the only slight is that Drax does very little after the opening seen other than laugh and crack jokes, this is funny, but seeing him kick some further ass would have been good.

GotG Vol. 2 is brilliant, there’s no two-ways about it. In a world of disappointing follow-ups, it’s refreshing to see someone do it so well. Inevitably people will ask the question ‘is it better then volume 1’? This is something you’re going to need to discover for yourself, I know, it’s a cop-out. But to put it simply, I loved it, I think you will too.

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