Possible spoilers ahead!
After the events of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Peter Jason Quill aka. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and now-Baby Groot (Vin Diesel), have become famous across the galaxy.
As Vol. 2 begins, we find the team on a mission for the genetically engineered race of super-beings known as the Sovereigns, led by one Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). The Sovereigns hired the Guardians to protect some highly valuable batteries in exchange for the recently captured Nebula (Karen Gillan). This being the Guardians, things happen, and they soon find themselves on the run from the Sovereigns.
About to be destroyed by the Sovereigns’ drone fleet, the Guardians are rescued by a mysterious being who calling himself Ego (Kurt Russell)… and he claims to be Peter’s long-lost father. Peter, Gamora and Drax accompany Ego and empath Mantis (Pom Klementieff) to Ego’s planet, while Rocket and Baby Groot remain behind to keep an eye on Nebula, and to try to repair their heavily damaged ship. Unfortunately for the Guardians, the Sovereigns hire Yondu (Michael Rooker) and his gang of Ravagers to hunt down and capture the Starlord and friends.
Right off the bat, let’s get to the question everyone is asking: is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” better than the first movie? The answer is yes… and no.
I say “no” because the story in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is more convoluted. Where the first movie was mindless fun, this one had a lot of stuff going on. If you’re not fluent in comic speak, you’re bound to miss something, or find yourself asking guys like me what the heck is going on. But if you’ve read comics at any point, you should be fine.
But, I will also say “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a better movie because it moves the characters and the overall MCU forward. Guardians 2 also fills in story gaps and answers questions from the first movie, like: Why Nebul hates Gamora, and Drax’s back story. That’s just the start though, as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” also gives every main character an arc. And with a large cast, that’s quite a feat to pull off.
Just like in the first movie, the cast is great. The banter for the most part is pretty good, even if the poop and dick jokes fell flat. But I can overlook a couple of bad joked thanks to Baby Groot and some epic action sequences. Drax was funny as hell, and so was Tazer Face. From the new cast members, Pom Klementieff’s socialy awkward Mantis is the biggest standout, but Kurt freaking Russel is pretty cool too.
Probably the biggest surprise of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is Yondu (Michael Rooker). In many ways, this is a Yondu movie, and I don’t have a problem with that. And kudos to Michael Rooker for making the character more interesting than he ever was in the comics.
The worst thing in Guardians 2 is easily the Sovereigns. Don’t get me wrong, the group has some cool concepts (even if they look like Oscars), but as villains, they never pay off. I think the Sovereigns would have worked better if we met them at the beginning, but didn’t see them again until the mid-credit scene.
At the end of the day, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is not perfect, but it does have all the comedy and cosmic action that audiences now expect from the Guardians of the Galaxy. And it serves as a bridge to the bigger adventure yet to come. On the plus side, the soundtrack is even better than the original.
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” score: B+