Every bit as loud, action-packed and funny as the first, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is as fun as that mix tape you found from your sophomore year in college. It will make you giggle, sigh at pop-culture references from years past, and just in general bring out the nerd in you.
The movie opens with a fantastic battle scene that actually never comes into focus. That’s because Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) takes center stage, obliviously rocking Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” while “Star Lord”/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his crew try to save some valuable batteries from a hideous monster. (This scene, incidentally, involves some of the most effective, mind-boggling computer imagery you’ll ever enjoy.)
They bicker amongst themselves constantly, which is why we know that this unlikely team actually has formed a family.
Much of the arguing goes on between Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Peter. And then Drax (Dave Bautista) and Rocket the raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) become involved.
And then Ego, a demi-god (Kurt Russell) who has created his own planet, appears. Ego informs Peter that the younger man is his long-lost son, and that Ego has been searching everywhere for him. In the meantime, Gamora meets up with her sister and arch-enemy Nebula. And Peter’s “adoptive” father Yondu (Michael Rooker) plays a huge part in the proceedings, too.
All the characters are entertaining, but I was glad to see that Drax has so much screen time and a lot of dialogue. I can’t get enough of his phlegm laugh or his honest-but-terse appraisals of other characters. Maybe Drax should have his own movie (are you listening, Marvel?)
The one-liners are enjoyable for the most part, and the nods to the 1970s and 1980s include not only the soundtrack but also actor David Hasselhoff and Pac-Man.
Kids loved the first movie, and they’ll love this one, too. But adults should take note of its “PG-13” rating, which it received because of lots of sexual and body-parts references. This is far from squeaky-clean. And there’s a surprising amount of violence, too, although a lot of it is cartoonish and not to be taken seriously.
A lot of Marvel aficionados — myself included — look forward to stingers, brief extra scenes that Marvel traditionally places at the very end of the credits. This time around there are five — count ’em, FIVE — stingers at the end of the film that give you a glimpse of what’s to come in the next installment of the “Guardians” franchise.