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Here They Go Again: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2
Peter Quill and his ensemble start to make the transition from most wanted criminals to most wanted protectors in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. As the movie begins, Peter (Chris Pratt) and the other Guardians have completed a task guarding a valuable resource on the Soverign planet. As reward, Soverign leader Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), rewards them with, among other things, Nebula (Karen Gillan), a nemesis of the Guardians captured by the Soverigns. Ayesha lets the Guarians dispense justice for this half-sister of Gamora (Zoe Saldana). These rewards, however, did not suffice for Rocket (Bradley Cooper), who steals some of the very things he and the others had guarded. Once the Soverigns notice, they give chase. Soverign fire hits the Guardians ship and forces them to crash land. There, they get help from a man named Ego (Kurt Russell), a Celestial who fired on the Soverigns from his own ship so that the Guardians wouldn't be blown into oblivion. Ego also tells Peter that he his the father of the Guardians' Star-Lord. Ego invites his son to his planet, where he and an empath named Mantis (Pom Klemrntieff) live by themselves.
Peter, Gamora, and Drax (Dave Bautista) travel to Ego's home while Rocket and Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) stay with the ship, working on repairs and guarding Nebula. Ayesha, meanwhile, hires Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), now an outcast from the Ravagers, to capture the Guardians. He captures Rocket, but he hesistates to capture Peter, which leads to Yondu's crew starting a mutiny, which ends badly for the mutineers. Yondu soon tells Peter why he never delivered the boy to Ego, instead making Peter a Ravager. Ego, meanwhile, teaches Peter about the Celestial nature of his being, and shows promise in following his father. Yondu and the other Guardians, however, grow suspicious of Ego when they uncover a graveyard full of skeletons. The Soverigns, meanwhile, prepare for a second attack on the Guardians.
James Gunn returns to write and direct Vol. 2. He presents another fine adventure from the Guardians as the team faces more adversity as they grow into their new responsibilities. The sequel breaks little new ground for the title characters, but that doesn't matter here. They have lived with being misfits, and they know Rocket's actions will help to keep them that way with most of the universe. The rivalry between Guardians and Soverigns grows because of Soverign pride and the belief in their superiority. Some of the scenes in this sequel even have a bit of drama, especially in the scenes with Mantis and in the scenes at the climax. The story, though, remains consistent to these characters in their new adventures and exploration. The oldies included here show off the best (and sometimes worst) songs of Peter's time on Earth.
The actors who play the title characters come through again. Pratt has developed a knack for playing these quirky, but ultimately decent, roles. Peter has a childlike amazement as he starts to harness his Celestial skill, but ne never forgets his focus on the bigger picture. Saldana is fine as his supportive and concerned associate Gamora. Bautista gets to show a more comic and sensitive side as Drax, who talks to Mantis as if he were a teenager struck by love for the first time. Cooper is the nasty one of the group as Rocket, who always sees more of the bad in others than good. Diesel charms as Baby Groot, a little wooden man who still helps and only says "I am Groot," but he needs more protection in his small state. His dance during the opening credits is one of the film's highlights. Russell's character is exactly as his name suggests, though he uses charm in an effort to conceal his true intentions. Rooker, too, shows his true nature as Yondu in another engaging performance. Sylvester Stallone has a brief appearance as fellow Ravager Stakar Ogord, as does Seth Green, providing the voice of Howard The Duck. Stan Lee appears in two scenes as a delivery man who has found himself outside his own universe.
The Marvel film franchise continues on a roll with Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Unlike Marvel's other movie heroes, the Guardians do not serve with a noble intent. Rather, they play the role of mercenaries who seek the most practical solution to any dilemma. An early Guardians mission has made them enemies of the ones they protected, while a man who saves them also has hidden intentions. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 puts the quintet in another unenviable situation, wondering who should be trusted, and what's best for the survival of themselves and others. Peter Quill and his fellow fighters may be a band of unorthodox heroes, but they know how to assess their situation as they protect the worlds they know.
On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 3.5 stars. More than one Ego challenges the Guardians.