A vibrant yellow platform is suspended in space, storing some of the most powerful batteries in the galaxy. A group of friends are charged to protect these batteries, although their love-hate relationships cause immediate bickering to erupt. There's only one human in the group; the rest are alien-like creatures, a raccoon-looking science experiment and an infant tree-thing. Somehow the human is the commander of the group. And in the face of life-threatening danger, he whips out what any sane, responsible and inspiring leader would say:
"It's show time, a-holes."
This is the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and that commander is, unsurprisingly, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, aka the character version of Chris Pratt. Written and directed once again by James Gunn, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 picks up shortly after where the first film left off, throwing this still-new group of vigilantes right back into protecting the galaxy. Accompanied by a brand new Awesome Mix Vol. 2 mixtape, the Guardians sequel focuses on the lineage of Peter Quill's parentage while still providing enough kick-ass fight scenes to keep it within the superhero genre.
In short, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is extremely entertaining. That's really what you want from a movie such as this one — no one is expecting a cinematic masterpiece. One of the great things about the first Guardians movie was that it didn't take itself too seriously, and the sequel falls right in line with that. The jokes are light, the situations are ridiculous and there's enough action to make your head spin. The movie succeeds by relieving your responsibility of having to think too hard, as most superhero movies are bound to do.
While entertaining, there were some aspects of the film I wasn't totally into. For one, there were parts of the plot that became borderline cringe-worthy the more you watched. The self-selecting family message was super strong in this one, with so much angst and emotional bonding that it ran the risk of becoming hokey. Luckily, it never fully crosses over into that forbidden territory, but it definitely comes close on multiple occasions.
My second main complaint is something that predominantly happens in the superhero genre, but realistically could happen in any major Hollywood film — playing into fan service. Obviously fans are a major component of any franchise. After all, if there weren't any fans, Marvel would undoubtedly crumble from the inside out. But just because fans exist doesn't mean it's the film's responsibility to please them at every twist and turn. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, there were multiple parts that stood out as semi-fan service, with one example being the constant, albeit adorable, close-ups on Baby Groot. Appealing to fans is important, especially when they are the ones who are going to pay $10 a ticket to see your movie. But if a large chunk of the movie is dedicated to pleasing inner fangirl fantasies, it can become tiring.
As a whole, I thought Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was a respectable follow up to the original. Although not quite as good as the original, it served its purpose well in being entertaining, funny and overall enjoyable.