Another playful galactic romp from James Gunn, which does what a good sequel should: develop the characters and tell a different story (it's nothing like the first one really), while maintaining the essence of what made the first one so likeable. The Guardians come from the silliest corner of the Marvel stable, and although I would have liked Gunn to 'ground' part 2 a bit (to bring it more in line with the other MCU films) he's actually doubled down the daftness. So while it works as a comedy in the same vein as, say, Men in Black or the Fifth Element, it does so at the expense of genuine excitement. The threats aren't threatening, the battles are arcadey and throwaway, and the action often goes full looney-tunes (I'm not kidding). There's never a moment where your pulse quickens or your hair raises, but that aside it does raise plenty of laughs. More emotion too (some of it feeling a bit forced if I'm honest) and it's heart is firmly in the right place. Of the returning characters; Quill, Gamora, Rocket and (curiously) Yondu shine the brightest; while newcomer Pom Klementieff is suitably loveable as Mantis and plays well alongside Drax (still the funniest character). Visuals are as vibrant and psychedelic as you could hope for- more so than part 1 even. The music (also a main character) is great too and arguably and improvement on Awesome Mix volume One.
I think it's easy to get swept up in hyperbole for a film like this that is almost universally loved and 'safe' to admit to liking. However maybe we ought to calm down just a tad; the film is still very generic and guilty of many of the things Marvel is currently getting heat for including a big CGI climax, thin story and an overall sense of 'playing it safe'. I'm not sold on Baby Groot either (sorry internet), and several character backstories are dubiously ret-conned for maximum contrivance and audience manipulation. Still, it was a lot of fun to watch alongside with my son; this is the definition of a family-oriented superhero film franchise.