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'Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2' Review Roundup: Better Than The Original?

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Piecing Together Marvel Puzzle Quest: Star-Lord

James Gunn (Slither, Super) returns to the director's chair to helm the 15th movie in Marvel's connected universe, which by now is an absolute juggernaut that has grossed nearly $11 billion its films.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be shown on May 5 and is directed by James Gunn.

Chris, Zoe and Dave reprise their misfit characters from the 2014 Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy - that's Peter Quill/Star Lord, Gamora and Drax respectively - for the kickass sequel Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

It's been awhile now since it was announced that Marvel and Telltale had struck a deal to make games with their properties and The Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the first set of characters I thought of and hoped for.

The chemistry between our heroes remains, and all get the opportunity to develop their characters significantly and deliver funnies against a story that's jam-packed with action. The tone and humor were exactly what I would expect from the Guardians and had me chuckling throughout the two hours or so that it took me to play through.

That goes for some of the new or expanded characters, too. After all, if your papa is a legit rolling stone - Kurt Russell stars as Star-Lord's celestial genetic supplier, Ego, a living planet - and is all of a sudden in your life after never being there, well, it's not just going to be father and son throwing the ball around (although they do toss a ball of energy around and it is just as amusing as it sounds). And that's before we've even delved into Yondu's deeper story revolving around Sylvester Stallone's character and how that branches off. I'd say the majority of people I meet have an idea about me before they meet me. And given the difference between Vol. 2 and the first installment, it's hard to not notice the change in writing credits this time around. But then there are those times it so perfectly captures the energy and excitement of the first movie, so whenever the film isn't basically mirroring its predecessor, you can't help but want more of what made you fall in love with the Guardians in the first place. Add to that, the fact that Marvel certainly hasn't solved its weak bad guy problem with Ego, and you're left feeling the secondary storylines are a lot more exciting and compelling than the main one. Groot, in particular, is awesome - he's not just a cute face! In the end, I have nothing to complain about. He spends a great deal of time making sure each and every one of his characters is fleshed out, far more than before, and even Ayesha-who has less screen time than Ronan in part one-is much more defined and her personality and motivations are very clear.

Pom Klementieff's new team member Mantis is also a bit of a damp squib, admittedly contributing to a couple of decent jokes and helping in the final battle but mainly moping around Ego's planet while talking in an irritating sing-song voice. Gunn's directing style is so unique in all of his films and Vol. 2 is no different.

Everything about the first Guardians played like a wink at the audience, tongue firmly in cheek as both superhero and space travel movies were riffed on. In short, we were Groot. This is a brighter, bolder and more imaginative sequel which elevates its characters and dodges many of Marvel's pitfalls.

After the success of the first one - and perhaps learning from the travails of Joss Whedon who, by his own admission, had to endure a fair amount of interference and second-guessing on Avengers: Age Of Ultron - Marvel has handed Gunn the keys to the kingdom.

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