Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Another Dance
– A Hero Corner review by David 2

When last we saw Marvel’s team of space-faring miscreants, otherwise known as “The Guardians of the Galaxy”, they were headed off do to a little bit of something good and a little bit of something bad.  The gang was all there, including a little version of Groot, rocketing away to the beat of oldies music.

We all sort-of-knew that there would be a sequel, for no other reason than because it did so well the first time around.  The cast of characters seemed to work just right, there was an animated series on Disney XD that kept the interest going, and even their comic book characters started to resemble their movie counterparts.  The Avengers may have disassembled, but these guys are the new “it” team for Almighty Marvel.

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2” is a 2017 movie starring returning actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Karen Gillian, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel.  And they are joined by Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Sylvester Stallone, and… if you can believe it… David Hasselhoff as himself!  It’s directed by James Gunn, brother of Sean.

We start with a flashback on Earth and Peter Quill’s mother, Meredith, is on the road with her dashing young “spaceman” (played by an incredibly de-aged Russell), where he shows her something special that he’s planted in her hometown to go with the other “seed” that he planted in her.

Fast forward a few decades, and we see Quill (Pratt) leading the Guardians to protect some rare batteries from a space monster.  While Quill, Rocket (Cooper), Gamora (Saldana), and Drax (Bautista) are fighting the creature, little Baby Groot (Diesel) is keeping himself busy dancing to the beat of a classic tune from the Electric Light Orchestra.  The monster is soon defeated, but not without some bickering from the Guardians.  The beings known as “The Sovereign” give the Guardians their “payment” in the form of a captured Nebula (Gillian).  But their arrogance causes Rocket to take a little “extra payment” of his own in the form of some of their rare batteries.

The Sovereign discover the theft and they send an armada of remote drones after the Guardians.  Again, the team can’t seem to get along, and conflict with Quill and Rocket leads to having the Milano being badly damaged.  They are rescued by a strange dancing spaceman and eventually crash-land on a nearby planet.

We learn that the spaceman is named Ego, and he is Quill’s father.  He invites the Guardians to his “home world”, but only Quill, Gamora, and Drax go with Ego and his assistant, a bug-like woman named Mantis (Klementieff).  Ego learned about Quill after his battle with Ronin on Xandar, when Quill was able to hold an Infinity Stone and survive.  Ego explains to Quill that he is a Celestial, an ancient being who is actually the planet they are on.  He has spent countless years searching for compatible beings to bear children for him, and Quill is supposedly the only one who survived.

Meanwhile, Rocket and Baby Groot, who remained on the wreckage of the Milano to guard Nebula and make repairs, are ambushed by Yondu (Rooker) and his Ravagers.  Yondu and his team were hired by the Sovereign to retrieve the Guardians, but Yondu’s crew have lost all faith on him and they mutiny, setting Nebula free and capturing Yondu, Rocket, and Baby Groot.

Ego teaches Quill about being a Celestial, but Mantis tries to warn the others that there is something they need to know about Ego.  Meanwhile, Nebula catches up with Gamora, and the two have an all-out family fight that reveals part of Ego’s secret.  At the same time, Yondu and Rocket convince Groot to help them escape, and they rush to Ego because Yondu also knows something about Ego.

And right about now is a good time to leave things, lest we spoil anything.  But I will say that the ending is sad and surprising.

Once again Director Gunn brings Marvel out of their doldrums with a story that is filled with action almost from the start.  The casting is great, and that is even before the “big names” come in.  There are also plenty of nostalgic references, from the music to Pac-Man, to a Microsoft Zune player, to, yes, David Hasselhoff as himself.

The only bad part comes at the very end with the credits, as “Vol. 2” is oversaturated with mid-credit scenes that are designed to “catch up” the Guardians to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in time for their part in the forthcoming “big movie”.  And, yes, it is done to a disco beat performed by Hasselhoff.

Overall, though, it is a really good movie, and it is a pity that there may not be a “Vol. 3” given some of the controversy surrounding James Gunn’s firing from future Marvel productions.  Still, it remains the current bright spot of this phase of the Almighty Marvel Universe.

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