Boonmee’s review published on Letterboxd:
Really enjoyed this, maybe even more than the first one. While the original film had to bring the team together and establish the series tone, this one felt more relaxed, which is good and bad (but definitely more good).
A couple months back, I prepared a presentation on a screenwriter and script that I really admired. I chose Edgar Wright and The World's End. Through that project, I came to the conclusion that what I treasured most (both in his work and good movies in general) was the sense of "completeness" that was achieved. The sense of nothing being wasted, everything fitting into place and everything having a purpose that is eventually brought back and capitalized upon in the end. Watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gave me a bit of that same quality.
There are at least 8-10 significant characters and somehow, James Gunn gives each of them a meaningful arc, expanding on insecurities from the first film, closing some loops, while leaving others open for further exploration. These characters have become even more rich and endearing and I love it.
In addition to this quality, I appreciate the unconventional structuring, as the "take over the galaxy" bad guy has the same goal as most Marvel films, but the route to that conflict is much more unusual and sophisticated than usual. There's a greater emphasis on charcater moments, but the action isn't neglected, either (Gamora's North by Northwest moment, the opening credits and Yondu's arrow sequence are all fantastic).
Everything has a wonderfully logical progression to it, and the story feels less constricted than it did in the first movie. At the same, this one is longer and could've used some trimming (the climactic battle especially goes on and on). However, I had a wonderful experience with this and the Guardians continue to be (for me) the most well-rounded series in the MCU. No other property of theirs has a better mix of emotion, action, humor and vibrant personality than this one does.
EDIT: Ironically, also, I just realized that The World's End was the last film I saw before going off to college four years ago and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the first movie I've seen since graduating this week. Pretty neat to come full circle!