Joel Redekop’s review published on Letterboxd:
Maybe the quintessential character in "Guardians Vol. 2" is Mantis, an alien who possesses empathetic powers (ie. she is able to read emotions, boiling them down into single words: "You are happy;" "You are afraid.")
Really, this is the emotional depth that defines "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," the latest entry in Hollywood's never-ending sequel train. The first half of the movie is enjoyable, feeling almost as fresh as the first entry in the series. However, as the film enters its second act, it quickly becomes apparent that every character has been turned into a cardboard cutout, relying more on shtick than anything resembling humanity. This lack of relatable emotion reaches unbearable levels in the final act of the film, where it seems that no character can go more than two minutes without blurting out some contrived declaration of how another character is like family to them.
It's blockbusters like "Guardians Vol. 2" that instil a near-uncontrollable frustration in me. It feels like it was made in a test tube, relying partially on the trusty ol' Marvel formula, and partially on the relative originality of the first "Guardians." Films like "Logan" prove that a film can be different, can have heart, and still be successful. It's blockbusters like "Guardians Vol. 2" where filmmaking ceases to be an art, instead becoming a science.