In my review of the original 2014 Marvel Sci-Fi comedy, I said: “If I had a nickel for every special effect, joke, acting, action sequence, and make-up seen in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I would pay Robert Downey Jr. to come to my birthday party.” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is not better than the first, because of all the sugar energy its action scenes possess from time-to-time, but nonetheless, it still offers the kind of humor, fun, cool 80s soundtrack, and colors the original offered.
The Guardians of the Galaxy, if you recall, consists of Peter Quill A.K.A Star Lord (Chris Pratt), the green tough-as-nails Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the muscle man Drax (Dave Bautista), the big-talking Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and the now baby walking tree Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel with a higher voice). The movie starts with Rocket stealing some valuable batteries from an alien race, known as the Sovereign (led by Elizabeth Debecki), and the Guardians end up crash-landing on a planet, where they meet Peter’s long-lost father Ego (Kurt Russell) and his empathic associate Manthis (Pom Klementieff). Ego gives Peter reasons why he left his mother on Earth, and what he intends to do in the universe.
There are a few subplots, which start off a bit cantankerous, but make sense in the end. One is Peter’s father figure Yondu (Michael Rooker) being sullied by his Ravagers as a softie. Another is Gamora’s evil step-sister Nebula (Karan Gillan) attacking Gamora for being her adoptive father Thanos’ favorite. And my favorite is when Yondu and Rocket end up as prisoners of the Ravagers, and work together to get Baby Groot to understand what they need to order to escape. His line is still “I am Groot,” but Rocket understands what he is actually saying.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is entertaining at the level of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” from 2015. Obviously, this does not top the throughly entertaining film from 2014, but it still offers the kind of taste you expect in a Marvel movie. Pratt, Bautista, Cooper, Diesel, Rooker, and Russell all shine; you get some nice cameos from Sylvester Stallone and Stan Lee; and the make-up for most of the actors is still fantastic. The soundtrack includes hits from Cat Stevens, Parliament, Cheap Trick, and even a new song with some help from David Hasselhoff. A friend of mine’s one complaint was this movie played like a music video; but I was still dancing to this great music. Calm yourself down a bit, and you may have a great movie. Still, it’s good enough for me.