A fun film, with some great character interactions, that tends to overdo the things that made the first film work so well. The chemistry between all the characters from the first “Guardians” is still strong in the sequel. There’s a lot of depth added that helps to understand their motivations and makes the personal stories grounded. Michael Rooker’s Yondu has the strongest character arc and has an emotional payoff. The new characters are a mixed bag. Mantis (Pom Klementieff) is even more offbeat than Drax, which is saying something. Ego (Kurt Russell) is charming, but his motivations are a bit muddy at times. Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) isn’t very interesting, but at least her costume and makeup look great. The plot starts off strong, but a large portion of the middle of the film is all over the place. The movie pulls itself back together for the finale. The tendency to overdo the humor is what hurts the film the most. Drax obnoxiously laughing, super-cute Baby Groot antics and silly sight gags are inserted all too often and wear out their welcome. There are four scenes sprinkled throughout the end credits and one at the very end. Most are just fun easter eggs for the fans and can be skipped.
*** out of *****