E Parker’s review published on Letterboxd:
It took me hours to write this review, so it's a total mess. Sorry not sorry.
A fantastic improvement over the previous movie. I mean, that opening credits sequence is probably the best one I have seen in years!
GotG Vol. 2 really is an improvement in about every way that it can. Our characters get flushed out more, the villain isn't the typical Marvel "doom to the universe" guys, the action is more cohesive, and is even funnier than it's predecessor.
Characters like Drax (Dave Bautista), Yondu (Michael Rooker), and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) recieve way more screen time that the previous movie, and become very flushed out characters because so. While I felt that Drax had the possibility to be an interesting character in the previous film, he never got nearly as developed as I really wished he was. GotG Vol. 2 really brings his character to the forefront, and becomes way more of a main character this time. Yondu (who was just a super minor character in the first film) really flourishes into an amazing character, too.
Speaking of characters, our villain is WAY improved over the previous generic dude we were told was scary from last time. The reveal of the villain itself is a pretty big spoiler, so I really don't want to ruin it, but I'll say that it's a pretty left-field move that really creates some interesting drama.
I'm also glad to say that the thing that I always have the biggest problem with in Marvel movies are the fact that they play everything so painfully safe, and sanitized. I am very glad to say that that in this movie, the movie actually makes a bold move or two that break away from the regular, boring formula. The ending even isn't as happy-wappy as they usually do.
The camera work also seems to get a pretty decent upgrade along with the editing. The flow of the movie is just much better overall, and there are some pretty cool looking shots, too. While nice, and a serious improvement over the previous film, I wouldn't say it's nearly as stunning to make a big deal about either of them.
My problems with the movie are pretty minimal, but one move in particular hampers the film a bit.
At one point towards the end of the second act, we seem to get this ten-minute segment of people just talking about their pasts without really showing anything. That kind of practice really ticks on me because it just shows for some pretty lazy movie making. Remember, show don't tell. The lack of that is probably the biggest dent in the movie when it's trying to further develop it's characters.
Really, other than that, the only issues I can hold against the movie are just small nitpick moments rather than glaring issues.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a great improvement over the first film. It's an amazing film to kick off the summer movie season, and would recommend it to anyone who say the first film, or have any sort of investment in the Marvel cinematic universe (note that there is at least one more Guardians movie in production, plus their involvement in the Avengers: Infinity War film next year).