Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is a wild and enjoyable film, visually stunning and well acted. Is it as good as the original? No. Does that matter? No.
Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Baby Groot are back in action, and wind up saving the galaxy once again. Yondu and Nebula also return, but get more sympathetic roles in this one than they had in the first film. As the story begins, the team is helping the Sovereign, a gold skinned people who believe themselves to be superior to all others, but wind up on the run from them before too long.
The performances are all very good, and it’s great to see Kurt Russell, and a digitally created younger version, as Quill’s long lost father, Ego.
What really makes this film stand out are the visuals. This is a movie that really needs to be seen in 3D. At every moment, the movie is a feast for the eyes. And that’s a very good thing, because it helps at the points where the movie drags.
Each of the major characters winds up in a deeply emotional plotline. Each one of these has merit, and is well executed on its own. But the amount of them means that the story does bog down a bit just after the midway point.
The other weakness to the movie, for me, was the humour. A lot of it feels a bit forced, like they were trying too hard to recapture the craziness of the original. Only the interactions between Drax and Mantis were consistently hilarious. But by far the largest laugh comes from a completely surprising cameo. Yes, we know Sylvester Stallone gets a role in this movie, but there are a few other big name stars who wind up making the screen before the film is done.
I was worried, heading into the theatre, that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 would fail completely, try too hard to recapture what had made the first one such a stand out. Thankfully, for the most part, Gunn does not even try to do this, and creates a follow up that is able to stand on its own legs.