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Energy carries 'Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2'
Whats in with Justin
Some of the characters in "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2" are played by actual actors. - photo by Studio photo

"Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2" continues the adventures from the surprisingly cool hit from 2014. The main forces in front of and behind the camera have all returned: Writer/director James Gunn gives us another supercharged extravaganza with a puffy 136 minute run-time. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, not to mention the voice work of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, and eases right back into the sci-fi heroics and the deadpan one-liners.

Pratt’s Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord comes face to face with his long-lost father (Kurt Russell) who is some kind of demagogue who wants to teach Peter how he can become one as well. Plus, they have a nice little game of catch with a magical ball.

This movie gives us a couple of new and interesting characters such as Nebula (Karen Gillian) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) who assist the Guardians on their latest quest. Nebula and Gamora just happen to be sisters, and daughters to Thanos. This will no doubt tie the Guardians into the next Avengers movie.

Michael Rooker, who played the blue-skinned Yondu in the first film, is also back and his character has much more of an intriguing arc. And he gets some well-earned screen time.

The first Guardians was a great surprise for the MCU. This sequel is a solid, worthy second chapter, but it falls short of the original. The plot gets occasionally murky and it tries to establish too many new characters. Not to mention it also tries to recapture the magic of the original and in this instance, that’s almost impossible.

However, I do give it a recommendation largely on the strength of its energy, its high-powered cast (Cooper and Diesel still work terrifically as both the comic relief and the heart and soul), and the soundtrack featuring hits from ELO and Cat Stevens is mostly memorable.

Note: Most Marvel movies contain one or two post-credit scenes. This one contains five.

Grade: B+

Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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