jpark’s review published on Letterboxd:
I really love this movie. Whether it be watching Baby Groot dance to "Mr. Blue Sky" while the Guardians fight a giant space monster in a perfect intro or Kurt Russell thoughtfully break-down "Brandy You're A Fine Girl" and liken it's free-spirited lyrics to Peter and his own life; Guardians does it all. Transitioning seamlessly from vibrant bits of pure pop entertainment to thoughtful and genuinely sad moments; the movie is so uniquely passionate about it's characters. Yondu, Drax, Mantis, Gamora, Nebula, Rocket or Peter; they all have thoughtful, emotional and moving stories being told in this.
But the star of the film, undoubtedly, is Peter Quill, who is forced to confront his celestial father Ego after finding out what he did to his mother. I love how impulsive Peter is in both these films and Infinity War; one of the few characters in this universe willing to trade stoicism for honest emotion. Despite being offered the tantalizing existence as a literal god with Ego, Peter never hesitates for a moment to avenge his mother. It's refreshing to see a movie with a protagonist so dedicated to his convictions. We see this impulsivity get him and his squad of misfits in trouble quite often, but it's a defining trait and it sets him apart from pretty much everyone else in this universe. He's an emotional human being, which is simultaneously his greatest asset and shortcoming as a superhero. Pratt is perfect to pull this off; an actor capable of being the stunted man-child cracking wise one moment and exuding a moving vulnerability the next; a hero who just wants the approval of his father.
Guardians Vol. 2 is just a uniquely vibrant experience. Clunky at points, without a doubt, but everything is just so deeply felt and Gunn's vision of these characters and their stories is perfect. There's a certain fetishization of the past with a deliberate reminder that such things can be dangerous. The film bears a wistfulness that recalls why we love comic books in the first place while blending in the modern sensibilities that made MCU as big as it has become. Reconciling what we were, what we are and what we want to be; vaguely explored by this spaceship of nobodies gradually discovering more about themselves and getting by best they can. A glorious movie without a doubt, and one made by artists with a real affinity for these characters and the world they inhabit. Top-three Marvel in my opinion.