Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does what a good sequel is supposed to do. It preserves the elements that made the first one a big success (intergalactic action and adventure, quirky characters, heaps of sarcasm, and an awesome soundtrack), while building on the backstory and expanding the ever-expanding Marvel universe. If you liked the first GOTG (2014), you’re sure to like the second at least as much, if not more – from the opening sequence featuring a baby Groot rocking out to classic tunes, all the way through the FIVE bonus scenes peppered throughout the closing credits.

Chris Pratt (Passengers, Jurassic World) is back as Peter Quill, the half-man, half-alien “Star-Lord” who leads a team of misfit alien superheroes on missions to save humanity and other life forms too. The Guardians include Peter’s kick-ass romantic interest Gamora (Zoe Saldana); the hulky, scarred and hilarious Drax (Dave Bautista) who deadpans many of the film’s funniest lines; crafty raccoon and pilot extraordinaire Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper); and the insanely adorable scene-stealer, Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) who manages to speak volumes with just three words: I am Groot.

For better or worse, they are family. And family is at the heart of the movie’s plot, as the characters seek to unravel the mystery of Peter’s true parentage. No spoilers – let’s just say Kurt Russell plays a major role as the Living Planet Ego, and you may catch a glimpse of David Hasselhoff.

Old foes become new allies, some new characters are introduced, the soundtrack scores on several fronts, and the film is just plain fun for fans of the superhero genre. It is also unapologetically corny. So embrace the (pop)corn and enjoy – in IMAX 3D.

For more on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – and six other movies that can’t possibly compete – tune in to the Cinema Clash with Charlie and Hannah! On the menu with Guardians 2: The Dinner (a drama/mystery starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Steve Coogan, and Rebecca Hall); Risk (documentary about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange); My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (a strange animated comedy for adults); Citizen Jane: Battle Cry for the City (a documentary about urban activist Jane Jacobs); Buster’s Mal Heart (some sort of drama/thriller); and Angkor Awakens (a documentary about how the past informs present-day Cambodia).

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