Luke Skywalker should count himself lucky – his dad only wanted to rule the universe. When Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt) finally catches up with his old man, Ego (Kurt Russell), in this sequel to 2014’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, he’s up to a whole lot worse.
We find our heroes up to their necks in trouble after Rocket the Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) steals a satchel-full of alien batteries from a warlike, golden-skinned Priestess. Gamora (Zoe Saldana) has been reunited with her evil-ish sister Nebula (Karen Gillan); Groot (Vin Diesel) is still an adorable baby tree; and Drax (Dave Bautista) is still flummoxed by everything. When Ego shows up, he seems like a saviour – but in space, fathers always have secrets.
After the sugar rush of the first film, recapturing the magic was always going to be an uphill battle. But for all its wit, speed and wacky cameos (Howard the Duck! Sylvester Stallone!) this second instalment still feels like a disappointment. Until well past half way through, it doesn’t even have a plot, just a bunch of amusing scenes strung together. And when the story does arrive, it’s fairly half-arsed: big villain, universe in danger, loads of explosions.
The characters are still fun to be around, the one-liners are still sharp (‘My turds are famously huge!’) and the soundtrack is, of course, terrific. But there are only so many times you can slap on a Fleetwood Mac toe-tapper and expect it to paper over the cracks.