Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is not as good as the first as it goes through the motions of rote storytelling to serve as a filler until the third movie, but those who don’t care will find it enjoyable enough for a weekend movie night.

Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mysteries of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel cinematic universe continues to expand.

Guardians of the Galaxy are the scrappy motley crew of the Marvel Universe who stood out among its cookie cutter superheroes. The first movie oozed of nostalgia and charm that masked Marvel’s formula well enough. Vol. 2 offers more of the same but it comes off as an intermission for the third movie, rather than a sequel of its own.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 has everything that you expect – smarmy banter, slapstick action, scrappy tech, and 80’s references. The movie starts with an opening sequence that you would only find in this franchise of the Marvel Universe – a baby tree dancing to Mr. Blue Sky from Electric Light Orchestra while his companions battle a monster in the background.

As what sequels often do, Vol. 2 offers more of the same. Charismatic space outlaw Peter Quill is pining for bad ass and delegated voice of reason Gamora, muscle head Drax turn awkward moments into punchlines, trash panda professional asshole Rocket insults everything within 5 feet of his furry feet, and Groot is the adorable mascot. Recurring and new characters add more funny interactions to the story.  Clueless Mantis and Yondu’s loopy flying dart never fails to be amusing.

The whole cast is great with standout Mantis played by Pom Klementieff. Kurt Russell does what he does and its no wonder how a being named Ego is the father of Quill. Karen Gillian is indistinguishable as Nebula, whom you learn to care about.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 never goes beyond any of these and simply opts to capitalize on its winning elements while it served as a prelude to the third movie.

We are introduced to the big bad (with the perfectly cast Elizabeth Debicki) and new marauding characters that will appear in the next installment so James Gunn can skip the exposition. While this is understandable, the rest of the movie doesn’t offer much. The Guardians are now a seasoned group, but the movie is still about Quill in a tacked on story about his father.

Joining the roster of evil space Dads and aptly named Ego, you’ll already know what’s going to eventually happen. He threatens the galaxy in a simplistic and pointless endgame.

Granted this is a superhero movie so easy to digest narratives are to be expected, but stacked against its predecessor Vol. 2 is not as good as the Vol 1. The first movie used Marvel’s formula in its own way, while the second goes through the motions of rote storytelling as it lays the foundation for the third movie. Even the well-intentioned emotional moments feel obviously staged. It doesn’t help that the action is a bit redundant and the soundtrack is kitschy rather than catchy.

Nonetheless, viewers who just want to be entertained can still find this enjoyable, even though its weighed down by the mechanics of franchise building. At the least, it’s an enjoyable filler about father and son relationships.

My rating: 6/10

PS: There’s a couple of end credits, so you may wanna stay around for a bit.

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