Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is the follow up to the very successful very good Guardians of the Galaxy. Did lightning strike twice? Unfortunately not, it’s still a very good movie just not quite the revelatory experience that the original was.
GoTG2 Sees the return of the main cast who are still pretty great, Chris Pratt as Peter Quill is probably his best character that’s not Andy Dwyer. Zoe Saldanais still pretty Kick Ass as Gamora, Dave Bautista's Drax is back with a sense of humour which is good for the most part but maybe a bit over the top sometimes, Bradley Cooper's Rocket Racoon is still cool and finally there is Baby Groot voiced once again by Vin Diesel who steals the show in a lot of the scenes he's in. Joining the Guardians are Yondu and Nebula from the first film as well as Mantis. Mantis is pretty good and has some good scenes with Drax. Karen Gillan's Nebula is unfortunately one of the weaker parts of the movie, her interaction and scenes with Gamora are good but her overall performance is subpar. Then there is Yondu turning from a comic relief/minor antagonist in the first movie to being pretty fleshed out eventual member of the team.
There are a bunch of other new characters that don’t join the team chief among them is Kurt Russel as Ego. He's pretty perfect as Peter Quills father and his role follows what is character is in the comics so if you happen to know what he ends up becoming then yep that happens. Guardians 2 also introduces the Sovereign a race genetically engineered to be perfect and they are quite interesting especially their aesthetic.
Guardians 2 is a feast for the eyes and the ears, Guardians was always one of the more colorful Marvel movies and this just turns it up. A lot of the movie is CG but the art is amazing, and helps flesh out the look started in the original Guardians. The movie has a very 70s colour pallate especially on Ego but its definitely practicality meets sci fi flare look. The classic music is back as well and while its not as much of slam dunk as the first the soundtrack is still really good. Some personal highlights are Silver's Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang and Father & Son by Cat Stevens/Yusuf.
Story wise Guardians starts out pretty standard, the Guardians are being paid to help the Sovereign things go well for the most part but after Rocket steals a battery the Sovereign turn on the Guardians and are forced to flee. Eventually they meet ego and the team is split up. Peter, Drax and Gamora go to Ego's planet while Rocket and Groot end up with Yondu eventually making their way there. While Ego and Peters relationship is at the core of the movie every character grows and is more fleshed out by the end of the movie. It's not a completely quieter sequel, eventually there is a threat that emerges that endangers the galaxy so the guardians have to do their thing but for a sequel to a movie as big as guardians it surprising how personal the movie ends up. There is also a big emotional pay off at the end which is really well done and elevates the ending of this movie way above the original.
Overall Guardians 2 is a great movie it's not quite lightning in a bottle like the first but it's very strong sequel and often times surpasses the original.