Can you make a light-hearted comedy space opera about abusive parents? Um, sort of I guess. Guardians of the Galaxy is back and with an opening fight scene in which the camera sticks with Baby Groot dancing to ELO, letting the tentacle space monster fighting action go on behind, it knows that the music, wonderful images and jokes will carry the day.
It is not a substantial spoiler to say that the plot focuses on the return of Peter Quill/Starlord’s father in the form of Kurt Russell. Unfortunately, that means the primary theme of the movie is how the rag-tag gang is really a family and family, family, family. It isn’t a terrible sentiment but with Fast and Furious franchise relying on the same schtick, it feels more cliche than heartwarming in places. Worse, two key characters (Gamora and Nebula) were brought up by wannabe death god Thanos, and his misuse of both of them as weapons growing up (not depicted but described) makes for some clumsy tonal shifts amid the jokes about blowing things up.
The plot feels thinner than Volume 1 but the jokes are more frequent and most play well. You’ll all watch it for Baby Groot dancing anyway and, well why not? Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan get more a story arc than volume 1 but there is an element of a redemption arc for Nebula. There was a point where I thought she’d get her own band of space pirates and I’m kind of disappointed that she didn’t.