More explosive, more affecting, and funnier than the first, The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is another snarky space epic powered by a slammin' and soulful classic rock soundtrack and state-of-the-art visuals. The Guardians of the Galaxy hooked you on a feeling. Vol. 2 capitalizes on that neurochemical dependency.
This time around, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Baby Groot (Vin Diesel as Marvel's pint-sized answer to The Force Awakens' BB-8), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista and his hearty laugh) square off against their toughest foes yet. With the uptight bravado of a put-upon villain, Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), high priestess of an advanced civilization called The Sovereign, is a formidable enemy. The Sovereign fights its wars from the safety and comfort of a big, golden video arcade for drone combat pilots.
The dynamite supporting cast includes Pom Klementieff as Mantis, Karen Gillan as Gamora's mercurial sister Nebula, and the great Michael Rooker as blue-faced Yondu (everyone's favorite rough-around-the-edges bounty hunter not named Solo or Fett). Memorable performances from Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell also make this sequel a must-see. Critics who quibbled with Vol. 2's hyperactive style and one too many emotional moments missed the galaxy's beauty for its uninhabitable pockmarked planets.