Jakob Mathews’s review published on Letterboxd:
Always found this to be one of the very best films in the MCU and one that’s even better than the first Guardians and while I’ve since appreciated that first film much more than I have in the past, I think I still prefer this film. While Vol. 1 does a great job introducing these characters and the tone of this individual franchise, Vol. 2 almost exclusively focuses on character work and in terms of its plot, it’s pretty simple and rarely ventures outside of a handful of locations, but where I think it shines brightly are those moments where the Guardians sit, talk, joke around, and work through the weights that hold them back from being the great individuals they desperately want to be. I think visually, it’s one of the prettiest films in this whole cinematic universe; so many vibrant and lush colors are all across this thing and Gunn has also stepped up his game in the directing department by adding a few more characteristics that feel more rooted into his own thing.
I think Ego is a far better villain than Ronan, but I also think it’s due in part to the very charismatic performance of Kurt Russell, who is just a privilege to watch perform in any area. I think the concept of Ego as a character is really cool and the ways in which he effects Peter are pretty investing. Even more so however is the dynamic between Rocket and Yondu which is as entertaining as it is emotionally stirring; Bradley Cooper continues to give a very impressive voice acting performance as Rocket and Michael Rooker gives what is probably one of my very favorite performances in the MCU in this film. The first act struggles a bit to find it’s groove, but once it does, it’s a very entertaining and emotionally resonate film; easily has my favorite ending shot in the MCU (end credit scenes don’t count) as the implications of it all feel massive. Vol. 2 holds up and Gunn continues to show how much he adores and cherishes the characters he writes.