Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★★½

Damn, I must have been in a weird mood or something when I saw this before. I am now convinced that it's not only undoubtedly better than the first film, but also one of the strongest entries in the whole MCU.

I reflected on all the things that I wasn't crazy about in Vol. 1 -- the stock plot, the shit villain, the unearned sentimentality, and some bad song choices -- and I realized that this movie actually improved on all of them. Granted, there's still some eye-rollingly on-the-nose dialogue throughout, especially with everyone constantly confessing their deepest insecurities to each other; but at least the emotions behind those declarations feel significantly more meaningful this time.

I also reflected on this movie's motifs of fatherhood, eugenics, and adoptive families, and I realized how much depth there actually is to the story here. This is a film that's incredibly rich and cohesive in its themes -- ultimately, a delightful and moving celebration of found families, in all their beautiful, messy diversity.

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