Movie Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Director James Gunn injected manic fun into the comic-book genre when he gave us Guardians Of The Galaxy in 2014.
This sequel doesn't break new ground, but it still possesses much of the original's energy, fun and heart.
While the first movie forced the four misfits together, Vol. 2 sees them accepting one another's quirks as they bond as a family unit.
Although the focus is still largely on Chris Pratt's winning Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, each character gets more screen time as Gunn fleshes out their backstories, making you connect with them even more.
Gunn also demonstrates his ability to helm an ensemble flick, brilliantly weaving in supporting characters - Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) from the first movie, while introducing new ones such as Ego (Kurt Russell) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
Every character has a story to tell, and their stories flow seamlessly.
The opening sequence, with dancing Baby Groot in the spotlight, will win you over instantly, and his direction is at play again during a major action scene, making the latter remarkably memorable.
The story follows in the footsteps of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, splitting into two major acts before coming together for the finale.
Quill's reunion with Ego is the weaker segment, and that's when the movie's pace starts to falter.
Thankfully, Pratt and Russell are in fine form, and Gunn's choice of songs helps move the narrative along.
Speaking of music, Gunn's self-curated Vol. 2 soundtrack is another collection of old-school gems.
Keep an eye out for cameos and clues hinting at Vol. 3, and be sure to sit through to the end for the hilarious post-credit scenes. Yes, all five of them.
MOVIE: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
STARRING: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki
WRITER/DIRECTOR: James Gunn
THE SKINNY: Peter Quill (Pratt) and his intergalactic teammates Gamora (Saldana), Rocket (Cooper), and Drax (Bautista) are on the run after Rocket steals some batteries from the Sovereign's haughty high priestess Ayesha (Debicki). Along the way, Peter is reunited with his long-lost father Ego (Russell).
Still in cinemas
The Lost City Of Z (PG13)
Charlie Hunnam leads this drama about British explorer Percy Fawcett, who discovers a lost civilisation. But it is Robert Pattinson who impresses as his fellow explorer Costin.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Chris Evans impresses as a father figure in this heartwarming drama about an uncle and his young genius niece.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%
Fabricated City (NC16)
Ji Chang Wook and Shim Eun Kyung star in this stylish Korean thriller about a gamer who is framed for a murder.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60%
Fast & Furious 8 (PG13)
This franchise has become silly, but that is not stopping fans from making this movie a US$1 billion hit. Action is still fast and furious, and that is the magic formula.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 66%
Pop Aye (M18)
A road trip with an elephant? Why not? Local director Kirsten Tan's unique and heartwarming drama is winning raves around the world.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%
Mean Dreams (PG13)
Bill Paxton is in his element as the baddie in this thriller, which revolves around two teenagers desperate to escape their broken and abusive homes.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
Going In Style (NC16)
Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin play lifelong buddies who decide to rob the bank that absconded with their pension fund in this geriatric comedy.