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Fun 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' is a bit too formulaic for its own good

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (Marvel/Disney)

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
3.5 out of 5 Stars
Director:
James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista,Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content

Synopsis: While fleeing from a job gone wrong, Peter Quill (Christ Pratt) comes face to face with his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), a god-like being.

Review: “Guardians of the Galaxy” didn’t exactly rewrite the book on the superhero genre, but it was something incredibly different from what audiences had come to expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What was once seen as a risk became a box office champion as the movie pulled in $773 million worldwide. Groot, a talking tree voiced by Vin Diesel, became an unexpected social phenomenon (particularly in baby form) and suddenly Chris Pratt was not only a superstar, he was also considered one of the sexiest men alive. Funny how that happens.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” takes the traditional “more is better” approach, which is somewhat disappointing considering how the original film fought so valiantly against the status quo. There’s more Groot, more Quill, more romance, more emotion, more classic rock, more post-credit scenes and more at stake as the universe hangs in the balance. There’s so much going on visually that it’s easy to get distracted from the fact that not much really happens in the narrative.

Director James Gunn has said that “Vol. 2” was designed to answer a lot of the questions that the first film left open. I might be in the minority, but I like a little mystery. I don’t need to know everything about Peter Quill, but that’s exactly what you’ll get in this film. So much so, that it almost feels like the film should be a standalone Star-Lord movie.

There are some nice beats between Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and both Kurt Russell and Michael Rooker offer up some great work as Ego and Yondu, but the music isn’t as effective and there is a sense that the film is too self-aware.

That said, there is still fun to be had here, it’s just not as rewarding the second time around as certain jokes are pushed well beyond their expiration date or fail to deliver the comedic punch that the first movie had.

If you liked “Guardians of the Galaxy” then the odds are you’ll enjoy its sequel. Just don’t expect to leave the theater as gleeful as you did in 2014.


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