I don't really know how a movie can simultaneously feel both overstuffed and lacking something, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 accomplishes it. The main storyline feels stretched over its 136 minute run time. The tale that runs alongside it doesn't serve much of a purpose other than to link characters together to create some sort of flimsy sentimentality that really ends up feeling rushed and superficial. The ending feels like an attempt at mimicking the emotional weight of movies like Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but misses the boat because the folks involved in those films have been a part of our lives for so long.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper, motion capture by Sean Gunn) has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the motley crew try to escape, the mystery of Peter's parentage is revealed in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a parent's worst nightmare. The movie is obviously made to appeal to younger viewers with its colorful characters and swashbuckling action and adventures. However when you get into the theater, you're peppered with literally dozens upon dozens of profanities and sexual innuendos. It was way more than you would expect from a movie directly tied to Disney. I would venture to say that it has twice the amount of bad language and inappropriate jokes as the first movie. That's not to say that it's not funny from an adult's point of view.
The CGI used to make Kurt Russell look young in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is flawless. You feel like he shot those scenes right after wrapping Escape from New York or Big Trouble in Little China. All the other VFX are what you would expect from a big sci-fi comic book production.
I can't remember how many post-credits scenes there were, but it was way too many. It was almost like Marvel and James Gunn were trying to poke fun at themselves, but continue the tradition seriously at the same. Unless you're a diehard comic book fan, you're left scratching your head for most of them.
Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was worth a view for the spectacle of it all. You also get to see Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone use all their charm and swagger within the framework of the Marvel Universe. Just know going in what your children's ears are in for and lower your expectations a bit.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 comes out May 5th, 2017. It was directed by James Gunn. The cast includes Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Sean Gunn, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan, Sylvester Stallone, and Elizabeth Debicki. The running time is 136 minutes. It's rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.
Rating: 🌟🌟 and a half.