Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is flashier, funnier, more colorful than the first, but that may not be enough to live up to it.
James Gunn heaps upon us a double serving of everything that made the first Guardians of the Galaxy more than $700 million worldwide, from the action to the comedy to everything in between. You thought the first movie was the first dash of color for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Then prepare your retinas for some dazzlingly colorful scenery and laser-blasting action that really should be seen on the big screen to be believed!
But while everything is undoubtedly "more", GotG Vol. 2 dials down on the galaxy-saving for a more contained, intimate story about how the Guardians of the Galaxy come together as family. There's a whole lot of quaint character moments and parallels between guys like Drax (Dave Bautista) and the equally socially-inept newcomer Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and the catharsis of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula's (Karen Gillan) relationship. If family drama is not your cup of tea, there's still the threat of the golden-skinned Sovereign and the arrival of Ego (Kurt Russell hamming it up and loving it), Peter Quill's dad who's been searching for his long-lost son for decades, though he may be planning something more than quaint father-son bonding...
If you're the type of person who thinks everything Marvel Studios puts out is "Quips: The Movie", you'll find strong evidence in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, as the movie's run time gets bogged down to play out comedic scenes to cringey lengths, or dramatic moments being undermined by a throwaway quip. More jokes does not usually translate to more funny, and you'll find that your mileage may vary when going through GotG Vol. 2's seemingly endless joke assault.
Nevertheless, this movie will see its audience in the hardcore Marvel fan, who will positively delight in the metric ton of Easter eggs to the vast cosmic Marvel universe. I can't say much about them without spoiling anything, but if you know your Celestial from your Starhawk, then you have no idea how happy this movie will make you.
Oh, and if Baby Groot doesn't make you squee, I want nothing to do with you.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may not live up to its predecessor's potential, but now it's got even more laughs, thrills, and nods to the greater Marvel universe to keep you entertained for two hours.
And haven't I told you enough to stay after the credits?