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To all fans of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, let me say this. There is absolutely no need to worry about its sequel being a disappointment. It's not. In fact, it's not even a slight disappointment. Everything you love about the first movie continues here in Volume 2: the fascinating science-fiction universe, the exciting action, the quirky characters, the humor, the music from Earth, and other references to Earthling pop culture. The main characters are the same ones you've come to love previously: Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). Proceed with caution though, because there are spoilers. Of course, I should clarify that Groot this time is in the form of a miniature baby tree-like creature rather than the big adult humanoid tree he was before. But that's OK. I imagine that, for many people, Baby Groot is a much more lovable character than the adult Groot.
I'm not going to provide a partial plot summary, because it's something worth discovering on your own. All I will mention is that the fast-paced adventure begins after a foolish act of theft and heads off in an interesting direction after one mysterious character appears: a magical space man named Ego (Kurt Russell). So instead, let me comment on the humor of this sci-fi action comedy (yes, this movie series deserves to also be considered a series of comedies). For one thing, there are more jokes in Volume 2 than Volume 1. I imagine that the writers for the first movie decided to throw in jokes where it was possible to do so, and once the feedback indicated that audiences love the humor, the writers decided that it was safe to cram in more jokes for the sequel. What's great is that it's not overdone to the point where it ruins the movie. All of the jokes are placed so that the story flows without jarring interruption. Even if certain jokes go on for quite a while, they occur in moments where it's safe for the story to take a momentary pause. Overall, the humor is one of the main strengths of this movie.
Another strength: exploration of the main character, Peter Quill. We already know from the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie that he had been abducted from Earth as a boy. Here, we get to find out who his father is and why he is perhaps no ordinary Earthling. This part of the movie isn't just about presenting new biographical facts. It's also a chance to find meaning in all of the events of Peter's life and to explore the question of what is important to Peter. Interestingly, one thing connects this element of the story to the movie's use of humor: references to the 1980s television show Knight Rider starring David Hasselhoff. I won't explain what I mean by that, because, like the story, you can discover it for yourself.
I save the best for last. If there is one reason why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is worth watching, it's this. The movie develops certain relationships between characters. I don't mean relationships that have already been established. I'm talking about unexpected, newly developed relationships. There are plenty of friends and enemies in this movie, but there are also changes in allegiance for certain characters. The writers have taken the risk of shaking things up by having certain characters talk to each other when the audience least expects it. This is a move that was wisely taken and worth the risk, because now a lot of possibilities have opened up in terms of where various plot lines could go. I would say that if it weren't for this, Volume 2 would simply be a rehash of Volume 1.
But because of the things I mentioned, I can say that I liked this Guardians of the Galaxy movie more than the first one. I found myself excited by the eye-popping special and action just like before, but I also laughed a lot more and felt more intrigued by the story, especially as, unlike the first movie, this movie doesn't reveal the villain until the climax. My friend who watched the movie with me in the theater felt pretty much the same way. And I imagine the rest of the theater audience around me would agree too.
Lastly, if you have not seen this movie yet, I strongly recommend that you stick around during the film's closing credits. There are some extra scenes to see during and after the credits. Do not worry about the credits taking up too much time, because they are not presented in a single column that takes forever to scroll from beginning to end. The end credits in this movie take up most of the space on screen horizontally and vertically, so that the total vertical scrolling time is much less. So it's really not a hassle to sit through the credits and watch the extra scenes, which are intended to provide extra laughs and to provide a glimpse into what is in store for the Guardians of the Galaxy in Volume 3. Also, there are fun things to see in the credits themselves, like subtle Groot references, so just sit back and enjoy the extra show at the end of the main show. Then you will likely eagerly anticipate Volume 3 like I am.
Anthony's Rating: 9/10