"Guardians of the Galaxy" was one of the most popular Marvel Movies ever launched. Instead of falling into the action pitfalls other franchises found themselves in, director James Gunn worked to develop characters in a humorous and exciting galaxy. Even so, franchises tend to lose steam when the sequel comes along. Gunn had to take a fresh approach to make the film work, and he did.

About the movie

"Guardians of the galaxy vol. 2" is the second movie in a particular universe, and the 15th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by James Gunn once again, the film was released on May 5, 2017.

The so-called "Guardians of the Galaxy" are largely settling into the role as their universe's protectors. When Peter Quill's biological father presents himself, however - as a celestial being, no less - the team is forced to split up as Peter attempts to learn more about his genealogy and surprising powers. Not all is what it appears to be, though, as the ties that bind families together prove to be quite literal for many of the guardians trying to find their way toward a content future.

This movie would have been nothing without the humor embedded throughout. From the very opening of the film, it was clear that laughs were going to be generated from unusual places. As the guardians prepared for the arrival of an evil monster to fight, audiences prepared to watch a battle to kick-off the movie.

Instead, the footage pivoted to Baby Groot dancing to "Mr. Blue Sky" as the battle raged in the background. The action took second stage to the attitude.

That was the recurring theme of the whole movie. Comedy trumped action. Even during the concluding action scene, there were still breaks to allow the comedy to filter through the sometimes unsustainable pressure of action.

The sequel functioned much more as an ensemble piece than a Chris Pratt-led effort. Actors largely received equal screen time and character development was there throughout the main squad, as well as some other players. The guardians proved to each be interesting in their own way as their histories were further explored.

Still, Pratt was the leader of the team and the pivot point for the plot.

As Star-Lord, the same humor was still there, although with a bit more of an edge this time around. The high stakes in this particular movie revolved around him and his unresolved father issues. The storyline actually led to quite the tear-jerking moment later on in the movie.

Meanwhile, family issues plagued the other guardians as well. Gamora and her sister spent the film trying to kill each other in extremely violent ways. Rocket was forced to contend with the fact that he always rejected the idea of having a family. Even Drax touched upon his family, previously an afterthought and an afterthought for most of this movie, albeit a valuable one.

Kurt Russell starred as Peter's father, Ego, a celestial being of infinite power.

His part was kind of goofy, but in a galaxy of goofiness, it made sense. At the end, his character became unbearable, especially when he uttered arguably the worst line in film history, which was entirely unnecessary to say for any reason other than to move the plot forward. Up until then, however, he was a worthy, if odd addition to the franchise.

Once again, music played an important role in "Guardians of the Galaxy." There was no chance the soundtrack would be as legendary as the first one, but "Mr. Blue Sky" started things off well. Other classic songs on the soundtrack included "The Chain" and "My Sweet Lord." There were also a few good musical jokes in the movie, including a gag with the Zune.

With the exception of the last battle sequence, which was excessively lengthy and hard to follow, the action and length of the movie both felt appropriate, where the same thing can sometimes be stifling in Marvel films.

Final thoughts

Where other Marvel movies fail, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" succeeds. The action doesn't drive the film and the comedy is consistently funny. Additionally, the stakes of this film feel real - there's no guarantee everything will work out in the end.

At the end of the film, a message stated that the "Guardians of the Galaxy" would be returning soon. Eventually, Star-Lord and some of the other major characters will cross over into other parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, perhaps losing some value in the process. If Marvel was smart, they would continue to keep this galaxy as separate as possible, pumping out awesome movie after movie.

Rating: A.