While being hunted throughout space, Star Lord meets his father, and the Guardians save the freakin’ galaxy one more time.
Since their famous defeat of Kree fanatic Ronan the Accuser, saving the Xandarian Empire from the destruction of the Power Infinity Stone, the Guardians of the Galaxy have spent their time taking on jobs for various profits. Their latest task: protect resources of the Sovereign, a race of golden citizens, from an interdimensional beast. The bounty for their work: outlaw from the Xandar Empire, adopted daughter of Thanos and sister to Gamora, Nebula. Turning her over to the Nova Corps seems simple enough, until Rocket’s insults anger the Sovereign, earning a hefty price on their heads.
After being betrayed by Star Lord, taking the Infinity Stone and handing it over to the Nova Corps, times have been hard for Yondu and the Ravagers. Outcast by the other Ravager clans, his own crew have begun to doubt his leadership, thinking he’s gone soft. Now, accepting the Sovereign bounty on the Guardians, he has one last chance to prove his strength to his crew. Now, working to escape from both Sovereign and Ravagers, the Guardians get help from Star Lord’s estranged and mysterious father, Ego, and his assistant, Mantis. Traveling to his planet, Star Lord learns about his heritage, but Gamora has doubts about Ego’s intentions.
Director James Gunn flexes his creative muscles in the direction of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, focusing on exploring the histories and motives of the films large ensemble of characters. Of course the original Guardians are heavily featured, like the duo of Peter “Star Lord” Quill and Gamora as they dance around the “unspoken thing between them,” it’s the other characters who were seen as more comic relief or a one dimensional bad guy in the first film, who really shine.
Though Guardians Vol. 2 has a more entertaining villain than some of the other one dimensional bad guys the Avengers have faced, the return of Karen Gillan’s Nebula allows us the chance to get to know her on a much more personal level than her first appearance. Standing on the line of villain and hero, we discover her rough history with Gamora, learning what it is she strives for and why. As a fan of her role as companion Amy Pond in Doctor Who, I’m thrilled to see her career taking off, allowing her to show the large range of her acting abilities.
Michael Rooker’s Yondu is still a strong comic relief, but his portrayal this time around is spent less on threatening to eat Star Lord, and more on uncovering his past, and his true feelings for himself and those he cares about. A lively individual, Rooker is so well known for characters like The Walking Dead’s Merle Dixon, but this film gives him the chance to break away from the entertaining cowboy, and turn Yondu into a surprisingly emotional and sympathetic character.
Though being so heavy on character development, Guardians Vol. 2 is strong in its plot structure, especially with the smaller details. With the galaxy already established as a setting in the first film, Vol. 2 goes to work explaining many of the elements that in the beginning seem small and insignificant, but go on to larger purposes, allowing us to already understand how these science fiction devices work, as well as bringing an older joke back for a much deserved second punch line.