‘Guardians’ triumphantly returns

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‘Guardians’ triumphantly returns

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James Gunn comes back even stronger with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.” Peter Quill’s quest to find his father continues with flashing visuals, the cute Baby Groot and the greatest mixtape in this sequel. It retains all of the original cast, with Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta and a few more surprises. With this power cast, Gunn manages to craft his own addition to the Marvel franchise with a memorable emotional touch.

The film starts in Missouri, a tribute to Gunn’s alma mater, Saint Louis University, introducing a couple driving through town with “Brandy You’re a Fine Girl” in the background. The couple, we learn later, is Russell Ego and Meredith, Peter’s father and mother. The prologue continues in a forest, which houses a bright blue ball among the dead leaves. The power that this blue ball contains is what later forms the crux of the story, inviting wanted and unwanted relationships into the Guardians’ family.

The film then cuts to the current battle with the Guardians against the gold-painted queen Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), over which Peter throws out insults toward Rocket right where he left off in the last movie, Drax laughs heartily at them both and Gamora still wonders how she puts up with them.

Groot is now replaced with the smaller twig, Baby Groot, a comic relief element in the film and a superhero in his own way. Even the return of Sean Gunn as Kraglin is refreshing after his returned appearance in “Gilmore Girls” last year. The battle with Ayesha and the strained interactions with various other characters, one of whom is Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s sister, and Taserface (Chris Sullivan), portrayed to be a comedian solely because of his name, leads to the return of Yondu, Peter’s criminal caregiver. Destiny takes the new crew on a search to find Peter’s father and to discover what it truly means to be a family.

This Marvel sequel continues to take the overlying Disney theme into their visuals and soundtrack. Even the action sequences seemed to have glittering fireworks shooting out of the weapons, just like the fireworks above Cinderella’s castle as part of Disney’s logo. There was a magical glow in each scene, such as when Yondu whistles his red arrow off in various directions through the dark. Gunn adds another dimension entirely on this action film, layering the “Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2” over the gunshots and kicks with tracks including “Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke, “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac and “Mr Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra keeping the memory of Peter’s late mother alive.

Gunn revamps the original Guardians film and creates an indie twist with a whole new celestial color palette, a hodgepodge of insults, jokes and a whole lot of love.

Gunn emphasizes that the Guardians are just one big dysfunctional family that carry the values of a family more than the closest blood relative does. The film begins with each character having irritating issues with their peers (or their sister), but by the end they realize that all they have is each other.

With minute scenes inspired by the Marvel franchise and a climax that was a bit too lengthy, Gunn presents a magical action-filled sequel.