May 5, 2017
Ever since "Iron Man" exploded at the box office in 2008, a non-stop parade of Marvel Comics-based superhero films have taken over Hollywood. While most of these flicks have centered on traditional superstar heroes like Thor, Captain America and The Hulk, the series took a sharp left turn in 2014 by focusing on a lesser-known band of misfits who save the universe with a sharply comedic undertone in "Guardians of the Galaxy."
That film featured plenty of quirky alien characters, including a wisecracking genetically-engineered raccoon bounty hunter named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and his tree-like humanoid sidekick named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a green beauty named Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who's seeking redemption for her evil past. But amid all the galactic goofiness, the film's heart was an earthling named Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who was abducted by a spaceship as a boy and raised to become a smuggler in space, building this oddball team by accident while chasing an orb that holds the key to creating – and potentially destroying – the universe.
The film was tremendous fun and a huge hit, but it did have to deal with a convoluted setup in establishing its universe, while leaving open the intriguing question of Peter's quest to learn the identity of the father he never met. That personal quest becomes the center of its sequel "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2," as Peter comes face to face with a self-professed god named Ego (Kurt Russell) who claims to be his dad, and has to decide if he can trust this wise-cracking mystery figure to really be who he claims.
Free from the constraints of introducing its oddball coterie, "Vol. 2" kicks off in whiz-bang style with the team battling a huge space beast that has stolen super-powered batteries from a race of gold-colored aliens called the Sovereign. The fight sets the action-packed battle royale in which Peter, Gamora, Rocket and Drax use everything from swords to machine guns to ELO's bouncy '70s pop hit "Mr. Blue Sky," while the now-tiny Baby Groot dances obliviously amid the mayhem.