"You thought someone else was going to open a movie this weekend against us?! Fool – we're gonna be no. 1 for weeks!" Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) laugh in the presence of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) in a scene from James Gunn's GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL. 2. Credit: © 2017 Marvel Studios. All rights reserved. 

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Debicki, Karen Gillian and Chris Sullivan

WRITER(S): James Gunn (screenplay); Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (based on the Marvel Comics by); Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Jim Starlin, Stan Lee, Jacky Kirby, Larry Lieber, Bill Mantlo and Keith Geffen (characters)

DIRECTOR(S): James Gunn


HERE'S THE STORY: Taking place some time after the events of the first film, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 actually begins with a flashback to life in 1980's Missouri. It's here that we see a young man and woman cruising in the t-top sportscar, riding down the open highway enjoy life as they listen to a collection of awesome tunes. It's here where we see the man embrace the woman, showing her something that her "starman" has planted in the earth ...

Flashing back to the present, we find our familiar heroes Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a baby form of the humanoid tree Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) fighting a huge space creature. It seems they have been hired by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) to return a very special set of batteries to her people, the Sovereign. Obsessed with perfection, the gold-skinned, gold haired society is quite notably upset once it comes to their attention that Rocket has in fact stolen said batteries for himself, prompting Ayesha to lead a call to chase them down and eliminate the Guardians. And once Ayesha reachers out to Yondu (Michael Rooker), he and the rest of his Ravager buddies are hot on their trail ...  

Much to everyone's surprise, however, is the unexpected help that comes in the form of a man later revealed to be known as Ego (Kurt Russell), a mysterious entity accompanied by Mantis (Pom Klementieff), an antennae'd woman with great empathic powers. But why has Ego traveled across the galaxy looking for the Guardians, Quill in particular? The answer may change the Marvel Universe as you know it forever ...

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Fans of Guardians of the Galaxy (the movie); fans of the Marvel Studios' films in general; Chris Pratt fans; people who like superhero movies with a good mix of comedy and action

WHO WON'T (OR SHOULDN'T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who hate alterations to characters like Ayesha's comic book origins stories; those with short attention spans given the film's 2 hour-plus runtime 

SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? When you leave a movie thinking "What else could audiences want from that movie?," it's probably a good sign you've seen a really good movie. And unless your thought process is extremely out of whack, the only other thought one should have about seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 is "I can't wait to see what they have left for Vol. 3." 

Vol. 2 delivers all of the risqué, perfectly-timed humor, creative action sequences and dynamic character interplay of the first film (the screen never feels too crowded with characters), but ups the ante with more development of the characters and how their backstories have modeled them into who they are today. This, in turn, enhances the great relationships between the characters –Vol. 2 shows the idea of what constitutes a family to a bunch of rogue misfits isn't limited to just a bunch of earthbound characters in Diesel's other "furious" franchise – which is the element that continues to shine in Marvel's films: Whereas the D.C. films have characters with great powers, Marvel's power lies in great, fully developed and interesting characters. 

Of course, you can't have any of that without great individual performances – and Vol. 2 features a cast that works together like the 1996 Yankees, for every player has a role and knows their role quite well. Whether it's leads like Pratt as a young man coming to grips with his reality as the star-crossed (pun intended) Peter Quill or Saldana and Karen Gillian as a pair of sisters with the ultimate sibling rivalry, bit players like Chris Sullivan – who is the butt of a hilariously savage series of jokes as would-be Ravager leader Taserface – to the point no one feels like a wasted opportunity. Writer/director James Gunn likewise effectively guides his cast as well to set up all of the films twists and turns, mixing in another awesome soundtrack to create what might already be the best movie of the summer. 

Here's to hoping Vol. 3 expands the galaxy even more.



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