Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Chris Pratt and the Gang are Back in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2!

On the surface, Guardians 2 might seem like any other film on Marvel’s roster: Heroes come together to defeat a villain who has the power to take over the universe. Director James Gunn understands this. And he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve to set Guardians 2 apart from the rest.

In this new installment of the fledgling Guardians franchise, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) & his pals must deal with having both new responsibilities & a target on their backs after saving the galaxy in the first film. They’re hired by a woman named Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), the leader of a race of beings known collectively as the Sovereign.

Meanwhile, Star-Lord’s father Ego (Kurt Russell) shows up after trekking all over the galaxy to find his son, setting the Guardians on a crash course with Star-Lord’s origin story. And after a series of unfortunate and extraordinary events, the entire galaxy, including villains from the first film like Nebula (Karen Gillan) and the Ravagers, seems to be conspiring against them.

The movie has a beating heart, and an earnest will to explore what it means to be a family. Just like the first Guardians film, it’s really a family comedy disguised as a superhero flick. Both movies do more than any other Marvel film when it comes to examining how we treat the ones we love and feeling a deep desire to find your people, your tribe, your humanity, in such a lonesome universe.

Chris Pratt, who was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month, acknowledges the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” came with the benefit of lowered expectations — the source material wasn’t as well-known as previous Marvel properties like “Captain America.” But after the first film was a critical and box office smash, the sequel is one of the most-anticipated films of the year.

“There’s certainly a pressure now that there wasn’t before,” Pratt notes. “But I think we’ll surpass expectations and still surprise them. The ideas and concepts and themes are so beautiful. We got to heighten the comedy and drama and adventure. I think it’s an even bigger and better movie than the first one.”

Pratt has made Star-Lord so iconic, it’s hard to believe that writer/director James Gunn (who recently announced that he’ll be returning for a third “Guardians” installment) originally didn’t want to see him for the part. It was casting director Sara Finn who pushed him for the role. Pratt says she believed in him and kept pressuring James for him to audition. Pratt recalls. “I was certain I wouldn’t get it, so I didn’t even want to try.”

Pratt recalls seeing “dream lists on the internet” over who should play Star-Lord. “They’d list every actor under the sun but me,” he says with a laugh.

Pratt finally got into see Gunn, thanks to Finn. “(She) actually snuck me in and from how I understand it, he said, ‘The chubby guy from “Parks and Rec?” I thought I said I didn’t want to see him.’ And she said, ‘Well, he’s outside.'” And the rest is history.

As for Guardians 2, it crackles with so much wild humor and fizzy color that there’s no mistaking it for one of its grimmer superhero cousins, nor does it ever run the risk of being overshadowed by them. Not when its explosions glow like radioactive candy, or blubbery aliens burp up technicolor stardust, and Baby Groot’s anime-style eyes turn your heart to goop.

The film’s creative team clearly believes that a superhero movie’s top priority should be, above all else, to inspire indomitable joy. And Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 zips around the universe with exhilarating charm and megawatt dazzle — in addition to serving up a big helping of heart.

(Written by Alex Abad-Santos and Jenelle Riley)