There’s a risk superhero movies stagger around under the weight of their own myth, trying to deliver spectacle whilst not teetering over the edge of ridiculousness. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 just doesn’t take itself seriously enough to care too much about that sort of thing.
Once again, we join half-human Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), the green-skinned orphan Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), genetically engineered racoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a tiny sentient tree. The Guardians have saved the galaxy once already. Now they need to do it again.
Along the way, Peter Quill gets to meet his biological father, the ominously-named celestial god-being Ego (Kurt Russell). This part of the plot heads off in a slightly unsatisfactory direction, leaving Peter, who very much led the first Guardians of the Galaxy, with relatively little to do for much of this one.
Meanwhile, Gamora is thrown together with her estranged criminal-mastermind sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), a case of sibling rivalry turned up to eleven. And finally, Peter’s adoptive father Yondu (Michael Rooker) who has been hired to find the Guardians, finds himself facing a rebellion by his lieutenant Taserface.
I said this was not a film that takes itself entirely seriously.
All of this does come together in the end, although you’re not always sure what is going on. But that doesn’t matter. Volume 2 is by no means perfect, but it is a joyfully entertaining movie which delivers fast, frenetic action laced with irreverent humour and through a set of characters that you find yourself caring about more than you might expect.
Indeed, Volume 2 is as much about family and belonging as it is about saving the galaxy. Albeit with a baby tree, a sentient racoon who takes umbrage at being called a trash panda, and a great eighties mixtape soundtrack.
And who could resist that?