Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
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If you were worried about this sequel living up to the original, don't be!
Let me just say that I absolutely LOVED the first Guardians of the Galaxy film. So of course I was excited for the sequel, but also very cautious. However, with James Gunn back aboard as writer/director, I should've let my worries rest because Vol. 2 is another blast. And while it by default doesn't match the sensational surprise and freshness of its predecessor, it's still a rollicking, gooey, extraterrestrial fun time.
The crew of ragtags-to-lovable heroes: Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) all return for another round of space escapades and interplanetary battles. But this time Star-Lord is faced with some dad drama when he finally meets his long lost God-like father (played by a perfectly cast Kurt Russell), who almost seems too good to be true. Hmmm...
This thing is endlessly entertaining and gleefully crowd-pleasing. The dazzling visual effects, the charming, sometimes Looney Toons-esque camp, the well-curated soundtrack of classic rock & soul songs that pop against the film's arcade colors and cosmic splash aesthetic, the zany sense of humor that sprouts and exudes from the eccentric characters–most notably Rocket and the hysterically gooney Drax–oh, and then there's the overall adorableness of Baby Groot, a surefire fan favorite. It all truly is an awesome mix!
Early on, the narrative is sort of all over the place, but it eventually solidifies itself toward the latter half, not only giving the story a mostly clear focus and conflict, but also weaving its tentacles into the roots of the first film, making this sequel a worthy extension of this universe. It doesn't leave its heart and sentimentality behind either. There are some sweet moments throughout, along with universal themes of friendship and family–almost giving The Fast and the Furious franchise a run when it comes to reiterating the family aspect...almost. The cast here is great as expected, but the one who impresses the most is actually the least expected one. I'm talking about Michael Rooker as Yondu (a complicated former father figure to Star-Lord), who plays a significant role in this installment.
So yeah, even though I still love the first film more, I enjoyed the heck out of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and I'm glad it's here. I am Groot. We are Groot. *double fist bumps chest*