Gonzo space opera is the best space opera. This may be the best gonzo space opera EVER.
So, this one’s a lot like the first one in that it’s simultaneously a really familiar story (Enemies become friends! Star Lord has a long-lost father! With superpowers! It ends badly!) but it also feels really new and amazing and visually fantastic. There’s stuff here I’ve never seen before.
This one’s also quite different than the first one. (Sensing a thing. GotG: we take really familiar patterns and then frak with them.) It’s slower paced, which seems weird but also works well, I think. Our team built a family in the last movie. In this one, they’re acknowledging that family and solidifying what that means. Their core is now strong enough that they can start to look out and expand. There’s a lot of exposition, which I think works better when we already know the characters, because even if the pace is slow, we’re watching our beloved characters do their thing.
My very favorite thing was how the team looks after Baby Groot. Like, he’s an actual little kid, not just a small version of himself, and everyone is super aware of it, and they’re kind and nurturing and worried about him. In the middle of all the crazy gonzo universe-shattering action and revelation, it’s about the sweetest thing ever. Yes, superhero movies don’t have be eternally dark and gritty! Woohoo!
Also: SO MANY EASTER EGGS. There’s a lot going on this. Even my comics guy friend who usually does the annotations on these things for me couldn’t keep up. I’m waiting for someone to do the shot-by-shot rundown.