Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★★

The follow-up chapter to Guardians of the Galaxy and 15th instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is bigger in both scale & scope and continues the journey of this oddball gang of extra-terrestrial misfits while also bringing more figures from their past into the spotlight. And although its vibrant use of colour palette & another tightly curated soundtrack are notable highlights, the film as a whole lacks the freshness of the original.

The story finds Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket & Baby Groot embracing their new roles of the Guardians as they are hired by a galactic race to save a valuable item from an inter-dimensional beast, a mission they successfully accomplish, but when Rocket steals some of the very items they just fought to protect, they are attacked by a fleet of drones and crash-land on a planet where they meet a mysterious figure who may have answers to Quill's true origin.

Written & directed by James Gunn, the film opens with a flashback but it is the main title sequence where it gets into the groove and wholeheartedly evokes the pleasant delights of the original. And while there are more flashes of it down the line, Gunn's writing & direction falls short of achieving the same feat twice, for not all attempts at humour hit the right spot this time and one can often tell that the director is trying a tad too hard to match the consistent vibe & free-flowing wit of his last venture.

The set pieces are more extravagant than last time and they are expertly designed & gorgeously rendered on the screen. Cinematography makes vivid use of colour palette and the resulting frames flourish with radiant hues from start to finish. Pacing isn't a big issue but Editing does lack the smoothness of its predecessor. Every moment in the story relies heavily on visual effects and the VFX team leaves no stone unturned to make sure there is nothing to complain about, whether it's the celestial bodies or CGI characters or any set piece.

Coming to the performances, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker & Karen Gillan reprise their roles while Kurt Russell & Pom Klementieff serve as new additions. But of all the big names, it's Rooker who impresses the most and his character of Yondu easily stands out to steal the show. One of the best things about the first film was its eclectic soundtrack and this sequel delivers in that field yet again with another awesome mix that seamlessly blends into the narrative.

On an overall scale, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may not be a better film than its predecessor but it is still a worthy sequel that offers its own set of thrills & amusement and happens to be just as much fun & entertaining an experience, if not more. It certainly earns its spot in the MCU and its colourful images, dazzling visuals & first-rate soundtrack, in addition to the witty plot, idiosyncratic characters & wonderful performances, puts it right up there with Marvel Studios' better entries. Enjoyable, entertaining & a whole lot of fun, James Gunn's latest delivers as a solid summer blockbuster extravaganza.

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