REVIEW: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2’ gets to the heart of what it means to be a family

When the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” film came out my knowledge of the team was essentially at zero. I went in thinking it would be ridiculous to see a talking raccoon and tree fight across the galaxy; I came out crying over the friendship between and loving that talking raccoon and tree.

The first film quickly became a favorite of mine and remains so to this day, the same can definitely be said for the second installment.

Much like the first “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” has a lot of humor , but this time around director/writer James Gunn managed to find a perfect balance between the humor and a more serious plot as well. The beauty of the “Guardians” franchise is that unlike most of the other Marvel properties they can remain separate, aka there’s not unnecessary cameos and Tony Stark can’t come in and take over 80% of the film. “Guardians” at its heart is about the core group of characters they have, core characters that all received a bit more depth this time around in a surprisingly poignant commentary on what it means to be a family. The laughs were there, because what family doesn’t make jokes and insult each other, but so were the moments of honesty between the characters. Blood doesn’t make a family and this second volume was all about this family admitting and realizing that.

Baby Groot and Rocket naturally steal the show, just as they did the first time around. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper may only provide voice talents, but their presence is felt and the emotion they bring to these two characters and the dynamic they have really steal your heart. Mantis was a welcome addition to the team, providing a just as literal friend for Drax; Sean Gunn’s Kraglin was also a welcome addition in his more featured role this time around; Elizabeth Debicki was eerily calm but likely to be a more looming presence in the third installment and Kurt Russel was perfectly Kurt Russel.

But while all the actors really brought it all to the table the absolutely unexpected star of the film was Michael Rooker. Yondu was seemingly just a villain in the first film, but this time around they shaped him into something more, showed a side of him that was softer, more emotional and more damaged. Rooker was incredible in all of his scenes; his dynamic with Christ Pratt’s Peter Quill was so well done highlighting the father/son relationship they have as well as his unexpected dynamic with Rocket and Groot.

No spoilers on the end of the film but let’s just say I’ve now cried openly during both “Guardians of the Galaxy” films and I’m hoping they’ll go for the trifecta and get me again in the third one.

Overall “Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2” is just what you’d expect with the humor and the excellent soundtrack, but also just what you aren’t expecting with a deeper more emotional storyline. Also be sure to stay all the way to the end of the credits there are five, that’s right FIVE, after credit scenes you won’t want to miss.


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