Robert Beksinski’s review published on Letterboxd:
This sequel is pretty much on par with the original and both films serve as my favorite and most enjoyable products of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (As far as favorable as the MCU can be, not a fan really). The film's accomplishments compared to other Marvel films are striking but so are the same flaws it shares with those same films. MCU is always predictable at storytelling and write poorly in terms of a well thought out plot (as they are usually rushed from point to point serving action and treating the characters rather paper thin). Guardians of the Galaxy at least rectifies this last common pitfall by placing more importance on the characters than the plot, not unlike The Avengers but done much better with a more interesting and diverse group. What the Guardians do better than most of the MCU is simply this (in lazily bullet point form):
- Abandon plot for the most part (as it just doesn't work outside of a formula for these superhero films) and embrace a more style over substance approach, hence the the joyous musical sequences that gain more focus than progressing story.
- Enlist the characters as the film's focal point and relish in each one's idiosyncrasies, crafting the most fleshed out characters of the MCU with half the effort (and no redone origin stories despite the plot of this film dwelling somewhat in that territory for Peter Quill).
- While this is subjective (well most of these points are), the film has humor in it that actually works and feels in place with the film's environment and behavior of its characters. It doesn't feel like an empty punchline like in most MCU films, in the fact the humor feels natural in its delivery because it matches the type of characters that the Guardians are.
- And if I may just praise that style over substance one more time (even though it wasn't much, probably a 60 to 40 ratio if that), it was still refreshing to see such experimentation in a Marvel film. Scenes like the opening battle with the battery eating beast, that focus on a dancing baby Groot while the action is performed in the background or the artful slaughter that Yondu unleashes on his mutinied ship.
- The scope of the Guardians universe seems to dwarf every other MCU arc (although don't hold my ignorance accountable if one may refer to comic book origins, as I have never read any of them). However while every other MCU character line seems to take place on Earth, their problems seem minuscule and trifling compared to what the Guardians have to deal with on the magnitude of the entire universe.
Again, I'm not really separating this sequel from its predecessor and critiquing it more along the lines as a continuation rather than a stand alone film. Also again, I reiterate the film is flawed like every single MCU film but I did very much enjoy it and look forward to the final third film and end to the trilogy. Signing off.