I’m not always a fan of sequels, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 easily won me over. In many ways, it was even better than the original. They already told the origin story last go-round, and now we have time to focus on the characters and the story they tell together. Volume 2 starts where the previous version left off. Our heroes, the newly dubbed Guardians of the Galaxy, are off adventuring for money and getting into deep trouble in the process. And everyone is still dancing to classic rock tunes, including Baby Groot. (Except for Drax. He doesn’t dance for anyone.) The not-dead Nebula shows up for some sisterly love-hate with Gamora, and Yondu and his crew have a potential bounty to claim if they can catch the Guardians in time.
We get to meet Peter/Star Lord’s father, Ego, played by Kurt Russell. The last movie set up some big questions about Peter’s father and Yondu’s relationship with him. This movie answers those questions and sets us up for the next mystery.
Why is this movie so much better than the first? It’s not afraid to take some risks for the sake of storytelling. Not to spoil things, but you may want to take a packet of Kleenex with you.
There are big laughs and big tears and a perfectly timed surprise star cameo. The whole product is colorful and loud like a Marvel-sized space unicorn frappe. And yet in the middle of this colorful explosion, the movie still has time to explore the larger theme of family.
One of the refreshing things about the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise (at least so far—please don’t ruin this, Marvel) is that, as a series set in space with only flashbacks of Earth, it’s a series that’s also freed from the precise plotlines of the other Marvel features. We don’t have to have cameos of Ironman. We don’t have to set up the next Avengers film. We can make a new villain we’ve never heard of and make them as space weird as we want because no other feature is depending on it.
If you’re looking for a fun film to start off the summer blockbuster season and have kids old enough to handle a bit of emotion (it’s PG-13 for a reason), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is for you.