Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has SO MUCH to live up to. And the trickiest bit of it is, it doesn't get the benefit of surprise like the first one did.
This time around we're not going to be blindsided by the psychedelic sci-fi action, or the incredible sound track, or the funniest batch of characters anywhere... and not only are we not going to be taken by surprise, we're going to expect the sequel to live up to the incredibly high bar set by the first.
Well, I'm very happy to report that Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 manages to pick right up where the first one left off...
...and I mean literally. The opening scene of this movie could easily be fired up right at the end of the first and not a thing would feel out of place.
This movie is just as funny as the first. The chemistry between the characters is just as charming as the first. The action is just as engaging as the first. And an obviously increased budget means better visuals than the first, and some of the most beautiful 3D effects I've ever seen anywhere.
Drax's deadpan comedy is back, and taken up several notches, especially when it comes to his chemistry with new character Mantis. Baby Groot's new, adorable, and more vulnerable form gives a shot in the arm to his relationship with Rocket. Gamora and her sister Nebula continue to work things out like only the daughters of Thanos could, and while their story isn't the strongest part of the movie, Nebula's further integration into the Guardians works incredibly well overall.
If someone MADE me find a downside to this movie I would say the relationship between Peter and his father (played by Kurt Russell), and the story's focus on it in the second act, does cause the middle to drag a bit. That's a very minor gripe, though, because once through the thicker part of the story, the conclusion is visually stunning, downright hilarious, and surprisingly emotional.
I'd go see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in theatres, and in a rare recommendation, I'd even tell you to watch it in 3D. While this sequel doesn't quite rise to the ranks of "Better than the First" territory, it does more than live up to the incredible work done in the first one, which is honestly WAY more than I thought it would be able to do.
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