Travis Lytle’s review published on Letterboxd:
Hilarious and big-hearted, James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is, like its predecessor, a terrific piece of blockbuster entertainment. Combining personality, action, and accessible weirdness, the film rockets spectacularly on the color provided by it characters and their effervescent odyssey.
Taking place after 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy" catapulted its swashbuckling mix of space-bound protagonists to hero status, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" finds said heroes in another adventure. At stake, here, is the health and safety of the known universe as a nefarious and charismatic force generates a galaxy-shaking threat.
It story provides energetic science fiction shenanigans of the marvelous Marvel variety where heroes and villains collide easily digestible bursts of plot-based fun. Coursing beneath this typical narrative skin, however, is a thematic heart that observes the make up of family and the idea of separation. Paying close attention to both the loving and the caustic ties that bind and the bonds that may bend but never break, the work finds a hearty depth.
Communicating that depth is a cast of characters with a electric chemistry and the ability to deliver emotional notes ranging from glee to melancholy. These characters, these wild and woolly guardians of the galaxy, are larger-than-life and uniquely human. Each brandishes a distinct personality and a stand-apart emotional verve. Performed by a soon-to-be iconic cast and written with joy, they are the strongest elements in a film composed of strong elements.
Managing the word of the film, James Gunn puts together a crowd pleaser without losing sight of his vision and its idiosyncratic sensibilities. The Marvel comic book may provide a visual and tonal road map for the work, but Gunn skillfully layers sight, sound, and a delicious touch of the weird in an excellently and expansively designed and rendered confection. From its thrilling action beats, to its potent character moments and robust, sometimes winky cinematic design, Gunn refuses let the film become a routine comic-based spectacle. He and his team imbue it all with such a lively sense of self that it can not help but to stand out.
Engineered for maximum enjoyment, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" is a nonstop blast. Full of character, speed, weight, and fun, the film provides wall-to-wall entertainment that is rich and textured, smart and human. It is the ideal summer treat.