Marvel Studios’ popular posse of galactic misfits are locked and loaded for another round in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by James Gunn.
Set shortly after the events of the first film, Peter Quill—aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)—continues to travel the universe with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and a pint-sized Groot (Vin Diesel) as they take on dangerous missions in search of their next paycheck, and maybe save the galaxy as a bonus. As the team struggles to overcome some close-quarter tensions and their dark pasts start to catch up to them, mysterious alien Ego (Kurt Russell) introduces himself as Star-Lord’s father and reveals his celestial heritage, forcing him to make a difficult decision. Old foes become new allies as the guardians face fresh threats and band together defend the galaxy once again.
The first Guardians film broke the mold for typical superhero movies, presenting audiences with rough-and-tough characters with questionable moral values. But the sequel doesn’t boast very many new elements. While we learn more about the characters’ individual pasts, the audience will see only a few new faces and will note some key similarities with the first movie in terms of its humor and how the characters behave. Instead, what the movie does is expand on an already-successful formula to deliver something that’s bigger and better.
Marvel Studios takes all of the elements that fans loved about the first film and turns up the volume as the titular guardians bring their A-game for pulse-pounding action and laugh-out-loud comedy. Star-Lord continues to dole out some sweet action scenes while grooving to an ’80s rock soundtrack that older viewers will undoubtedly sing along to. Gamora gets her own time in the spotlight as she faces off against her vengeful sister, Nebula. Much like in the first movie, Drax fuels much of the film’s laughs with his trademark hilarious obliviousness. Rocket remains snarky and quick-witted as he messes with bad guys with his inventive traps; and despite his smaller size, Baby Groot captivates audiences as he fumbles his way through completing his missions and throwing temper tantrums against villains.
The special effects of the film are stellar and stunning, to say the least. From psychedelic fireworks in space and rainbow bubble shows to stylishly slow-motion action sequences and epic battles with a horde of alien ships, the film is visually gorgeous and spectacular to watch.
For comic-savvy fans, Marvel also delivers on some homages and references to some of its source material. Without giving too much away, the movie is chock-full of references and cameos that will both titillate comic experts and serve to open up the Marvel Cinematic Universe to brand new storylines that audiences can look forward to.
From start to finish, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 reminds viewers of everything that made the first movie so memorable and will keep fans wanting more from this wacky team of superheroes.