EdgarWleft’s review published on Letterboxd:
Like every great sequel you could call this the "Empire strikes back" of "Guardians of the Galaxy", but since this phrase is overused, i rather call it the "Last Crusade" of "Guardians of the Galaxy". It's bigger, brighter, funnier and we have an iconic actor joining the cast as the father of our main hero.
However, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2" is more than the typical sequel-stereotypes combined. It manages to recreate the magic of the first one while still being different. It doesn't tell the same story again, it's just a logical continuation to every characters journey. And we all know the first "Guardians" never was about the story, the action or the jokes. It was always about the characters, about a group of lovely, but damaged misfits. Its complete focus and incredible passion for them was the biggest strength of Vol. 1, and it is also the biggest strength of Vol. 2. Again the cast is phenomenal. It's like every single one of them was born to play these roles. The main 'Guardians' return and their chemistry is as perfect as ever. I could watch them interact together for ages. Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, they're all great. The biggest standout here is definitely Dave Bautista as Drax. Honestly, he deserves at least a Golden Globe as best supporting in a comedy for this. His timing is gold. I can't remember a better comedic performance in recent memory. I can't write this review without talking about Baby Groot. But since everybody is talking about that sweet, little tree right now i'll just say this: If he was an emoticon, he'd be the penguin, because i fricking love penguins.
The additional cast is even better than the first ones. Michael Rooker and Karen Gillian returning as Yondu and Nebula, but this time with way bigger parts. Honestly, what Rooker does with Yondu here is simply amazing. He is so good. Like really goddamn great. And since the character of Nebula was a bit flat in Vol. 1, while still having so much potential, i love to see how they develope her here. But they are also some new faces. The biggest and most important one is for sure Kurt Russel as Star-Lords Father Ego. Whoever has the idea of casting Kurt Russel as Chris Pratt Dad deserves an Oscar for 'Best Casting'. I know this category doesn't exist, but for this movie we need to make it happen. It's just perfect. Period. The other big additon is Pom Klementieff as Mantis, a socially awkward and innocent Alien with the power of empathy. And cute, just so cute. Elizabeth Decicki has only a small role as Ayesha, but she owns every scene she's in. Oh, and Sylvester Stallone is in this, too.
But you can't talk about the Guardians without talking about the mastermind behind them, Mr James Gunn himself. You can see his passion for the marterial in every single shot and hear it in every single line. This truly is his movie. It's an auters movie inside the Marvel franchise. Don't even dare calling this a typical marvel-formula movie. This movie screams James Gunn all over the place. I love his writing, especially his sense of humour. This combination of popculture references and snappy dialogue is all i ever wanted. It's not for everyone, but i love it. He manages to make an incredible amount of hilarious jokes without completely crushing the dramaturgy.
Despite all the jokes this movie also has a lot to say about family and what it's like to be a father. Between all the crazy, weird scenes there are some really beautiful, sad and moving scenes. This film can get really emotional without losing his sense of delight. The pacing of all that might not be always by-the-book, but it works surprisingly well.
And i have to say i'm really impressed how this film rides the edge of the PG-rating in some scenes. I'm not saying it's actually graphic or brutal, but it introduces some serious heavy topics. Also i can't think of any other MCU movie with this amount of sexual innuendoes and i don't just talk about jokes.
Visually this movie is outstandingly stunning. And i don't just talk about the topnotch CGI or the great make-up work. I don't just talk about the amazing cinematography, which is easily the best of any Marvel-movie by far, so many great shots. I talk about the whole design in generell. It's probably the best looking spacefilm of this century. It's so creative, so weird, so not-from-this-world. The colour palette is so gorgeous, it's such a colorful movie, almost like "La La Land" in space.
Speaking of musicals, the soundtrack again is fantastic. I can't chose which track i should have an earworm from. Yet it's more than a list of awesome songs, they all serve their scenes in a different way. Some of them support the atmosphere and some of them even work as a plot point. They even refer one song specific directly in the movie. In general, Vol. 2 gains some whole new layers when you actually listen to the lyrics of these songs. Speaking of layers, it's really interesting when the music is actually played inside the action and when it's not. I won't spoil anything, but it's more clever than you imagine.
So for the flaws, there aren't really much of them. The only thing that don't work in this movie are the 3D effects. They are pretty to look at but not as engaging as they want them to be. That's the only real flaw i can think of right now. Because no movie is impartial perfect there are obviously some details you could nitpick about, but these are tiny details, small little things. Like i said, the humour is not for everybody, it might be too intrusive for some people. And the story even if more layered than Vol. 1 might be too simple for some people, but like i said, this movie is about the characters anyway.
So in the end, this is not only my probably favourite movie of the year, there's still Episode IX coming after all, but definitely one of my favourite movies of all times. It's my eleventh 5 stars-film, so thank you for crashing my perfect top ten. I can't do else but love it with everything i have. It turns out i love the "Guardians"-franchise the same way i love the "Star Wars"-saga. I'm so happy James Gunn already announced he'll do Vol. 3. This all wouldn't work without him. So thank you, Mr Gunn. And also:
I am Groot.