Sean Q.’s review published on Letterboxd:
My memory kept telling me that the film was not as good as the first one, which is how I felt coming out of this film in 2017. My memory was right, but it wasn't fully accurate. The film is for sure better than I remember it being. One thing that I remember being a drag were constant jokes in this film, but honestly it didn't feel like that many. Though that's been the entire Marvel rewatch as a whole, just not as many jokes as I recall there being in theaters. I actually really enjoyed the jokes this time around, and felt there were only maybe one or two bad standouts.
The colors really pop in this film, the vistas are beautiful and the action is vibrant. The characters all grow in a more individual way as compared to the last film, and we see the team split up for most of the film. It really is a film about family in the end, and I liked it. Loved what they did with Yondu and Rocket. Rocket gets so much time in this film, and it really makes him a better character. Quill goes through changes, but he feels like he's got little screen time. Drax is mainly comic relief, which I think is perfectly ok. We need some levity, and Drax still has growth since we know he is only this funny after being with the Guardians. Ego rocks as a villain, but he does kind of fade away once the mission becomes blow up the core. No spoiler alerts since this is a 2 year old film.
The music selection was even better than the first film, no question. Love the score still and the Guardians theme bumps. Lots of awesome to go around in the film. It is supposed to take place 4-6 months after the first, so I know people do watch the two films back to back in MCU marathons. However, I don't think that works since this film just FEELS different. The tone is different, the colors and way it is shot, hell the writing is different. None of that in a bad way, but you need buffer MCU films to really let this one feel unique. I think that's why it was such a shock to me in 2017 since I did watch the first one literally the night before.
This film is good, hell I'd say it is closer to 4.5 than 4! It is a solid follow up to the first, has lots of heart, and tries new things. Really shows that the Guardians are not flukes and meant for the spotlight. Also I think these two films (and hopefully the 3rd one) will be the ones people watch once the MCU is too big to watch them all. It still is separate enough from the mainline MCU for the films to be a good duology is what I mean. Good times, 2017 is a great year for the MCU if my memories of Spider-Man and Ragnarok hold true.