Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ★★★★

Some people claim to be burned out on the mytharc in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where almost every movie factors into a single overarching narrative. Just as this complaint gained traction, along comes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as the perfect antidote.

The world of the Avengers is nowhere to be found, and Thanos and the Infinity Stones are relegated to a mere handful of mentions. James Gunn said he was going for a smaller, more intimate, purely character driven sequel, and he has made good on his promise. For perhaps the first time ever in the franchise, we finally have an MCU film that really doesn't feature much of a plot; there's an inciting incident that has our cast of characters being split into smaller groups, and they spend most of the movie sorting out their individual relationships.

Star-Lord finally gets everything he wanted by meeting his father, only to be crushed by the realization that he'd have to sacrifice his surrogate family to keep him. Gamora and Nebula, two of the weaker characters in the original, finally come to see not their shared rivalry, but their shared trauma. Rocket and Yondu confront themselves by meeting each other, and Baby Groot injects the right dose of charm at all the right moments. It's foregone that they'll save the galaxy, but not that they'll save their bonds.

If only someone was on hand to edit out the handful of Gunn's jokes that simply aren't funny.

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