There are many beats to this one and it may surprise a lot of fans, new and old. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
PG-13 | 2h 16min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 5 May 2017

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' continues the team's adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.

REVIEW: Sequels always have added pressure to perform. There is a sense of responsibility to the fans to not only live up to the original but to be fresh and new; without losing the core values of the characters. It has to be recognizable but not predictable. No franchise felt that pressure more than Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 2 had to rock solid and entertain like no other. Though not without faults GOTG2 certainly delivers.

The film opens with the Guardian team in their element; fighting for the Galaxy. Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (v_Bradley Cooper), and baby Groot (v_Vin Diesel) are all there and we are instantly reminded why we dig each one. The witty banter, the sarcastic jabs, and the kick butt camaraderie are all back in full effect. The adventure starts immediately and begins a journey that is not only action backed but has a tone of family and purpose woven through every fiber. There are many beats to this one and it may surprise a lot of fans, new and old. 

Not only are we introduced to new characters - Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Ego (Kurt Russell), Stakar (Sylvester Stallone) -  in this one but many familiar faces return as well. Yondu (Michael Rooker) would be the most memorable of the returning cast and many may think of Nebula (Karen Gillan) as new but she did have a brief moment in the original. I have even heard rumors that Mantis and Nebula will be in the new avengers film but that is another story for another time. 

The main story line of this one is the mystery behind Peter Quill. We know his closeness to his Earthly mother but little is known about his father. When Ego claims to have all the answers Peter is quick to want to believe. But the others are not sure everything is as it seems. Everything else revolves around this core plot line with plenty of space duels and hilarious banter. There is a lot of things jammed into the lengthy run time. Some may say too much. I agree that they could have shaved about 15 or 20 minutes off the film and it would have been better. The final battle sequence alone could have done with some fine tuned editing. 

Family is the obvious thread that holds this one together. Not only Quill and his ancestry but the history of Gamora and Nebula gets several pages of dialogue. Yondu and Rocket even have some softer moments in which they peel back some of the hard layers. But don't worry, these instances are quickly followed by a quick barb of sarcasm or a super funny incident. If the film does one thing right is that for all its seriousness it never takes itself serious. Unlike some of the other Marvel films of late it lets action and comedy rule the galaxy. 

I saw this film in 3D Imax and it looked fantastic. There were the common blurry moments that accompany 3D but they paled in comparison to the grandness of color and depth of set design. In fact it doesn't need any of the special viewing enhancements. This film would be just as much fun on a 2D big screen. Just make sure it is on the big screen. You will definitely want to own this movie later on Blu-ray but don't wait until then to see it. 

Let’s take a few moments to talk about the solid performance of Kurt Russell. There are not too many older actors that would embrace a role like this so organically and make it so endearing. He is fluid and at ease with the genre which makes his character believable and enjoyable. Russell has been around the block a few times but still has the acting chops and knows how to deliver. Then there is Stallone. Yup. 

As a warning going in let me prepare you for the impact your heart will take whenever baby Groot is on screen. You will want to run out after the movie and find a real one of your own. You will want to kiss a baby or snuggle a puppy; anything to try and recapture the feeling of seeing this tiny character. He may very well steal the whole darn film. 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 better than the first one. Not better. Different. But in a very good way. Noting can replace meeting the characters for the first time but revisiting them here is a close second. I give it 4 out of 5 number one hits. It is a tad long but for many that will not matter. It gets a PG-13 rating for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content. There are a few off color remarks and potty humor jokes. if you want to be really safe make it Pg-15 but just know your family and make smart choices. If the word penis has never been spoken in your home then this probably isn't your kind of movie anyway. But you are going to miss out on a whole lot of action packed, character driven fun. 

Reviewer - Matt Mungle - @themungle

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