Rated PG-13 | 136 mins.
Directed by James Gunn
Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell
Picking up just months after the events of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, Vol. 2 opens with a spectacular battle between the infamous band of misfits versus a enormous blob monster. What's even more entertaining about this clash is that it's not the main focus of what's in the frame. Instead, we see a tiny Baby Groot happily rocking out to Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky" all the while his teammates are struggling to win. It's a hilarious way to set the tone for the remainder of the film that's largely about family.
Peter "Star-Lord" Quill & Co. exchange precious batteries to the ever-so-perfect Sovereign race in exchange for Gamora's sister Nebula. When the Sovereigns notice Rocket has pocketed some batteries for himself to try to get some major units for them, it turns into a war. The Sovereigns hire Yondu to capture the Guardians, in which he hesitates to do so since he raised Quill on his own, so his team of Ravagers turn on him and fall under Taserface's (LOL) leadership. Also, we see Sylvester Stallone as Stakar for a hot second. Seeing Yondu as vulnerable as ever was a refreshing take on someone perceived as a cold-hearted asshole. In fact, he became such a big part of Vol. 2 (second to Baby Groot) and we learned so much more about him as a Centaurian being.
We then get to meet Star-Lord's dad, Ego (Jeff Bridges), who's more of a "what" than a "who." Ego is basically some weird planet/god that managed to get Quill's mom pregnant. He's been around for millions of years and (spoiler alert!) will do whatever it takes to take control of the entire universe with the help of Peter. He then becomes the enemy and now the Guardians (along with a hilarious new member, Pom Klementieff as Mantis) have to defeat both Ego and the Sovereigns in the climax that is a simultaneous strife.
Not only does the movie have a kick-ass soundtrack (again), but to showcase a group of outsiders from different cultural backgrounds, both in real life and in this fictional world, Vol. 2 shines as one of the best movies in the entire MCU. You don't need to share blood to be considered a family, nor do you always have to get along and share opinions. Gunn was successfully able to take a simple list of songs, build a sensational script based off of it, and mix it with stunning visual effects to give us something that is nearly perfect. With five (yes, five) post-credit scenes with nods to this fall's Thor: Ragnarok and their imminent return in Avengers: Infinity War, we'll all have to wait eagerly to see what the Guardians are up to in Vol. 3. ★★★★
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