* * * B
I loved the original Guardians, so I eagerly anticipated seeing the sequel. It is a very good sequel. This film focuses on the origins of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). After an initial fight, the action moves to the world of Quill’s father, a powerful alien named Ego (Kurt Russell). In the final act, the guardians must once again save the galaxy, this time with the help of Gamora’s (Zoe Seldana) evil step sister, Nebula (Karen Gillian), the alien who abducted Quill’s from earth, Yondu (Michael Rucker), and the empathic Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
All of the characters have their moments, but, outside of the core plot, the film focuses on the unspoken romance between Quill and Gamora, relegating Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) largely to comic relief. A big part of the first film’s charm came from Quill’s quirky humor, and that is missing from much of this episode, and while Russel does a good job as Quill’s father, he is a fairly bland character.
One of my few gripes with the film was its ham fisted setup of a spinoff starring Sylvester Stallone. All of the screen time wasted setting this up would have been better spent on improving the film we were watching. There is also a moment where Gamora compares her twisted sister to abused little girls everywhere that I found a bit preachy. Overall, I enjoyed the film, and when the next sequel arrives, I plan to see it.