Many people refer to this movie as ‘good, but not quite as great as the original’ and although this is generally true, one must also acknowledge that there are aspects of this film that definitely outdoes it predecessor. The film which is directed by the wonderful James Gunn, stars the original cast including Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, and introduces Kurt Russell. The movie is great, but there are a couple of flaws that drags it down a few inches.

James Gunn does yet again manage to create the most visually intriguing film in the MCU by using his distinctive color palet and having interesting and exciting action sequences. Gunn is quite honestly the only MCU director who manages to give his films flair and create a diversion from the industrial monotonous of the Avengers and Iron Man. And Gunn also manages to get a little more out of his actors than many other super-hero directors too. Gunns work with the visual effects too is incredibly brilliant as he manages to make them look just as alien, yet relatable, as the gang of characters.

Like in the previous film, the gang of misfits is perfectly cast and have such chemistry onscreen together. Chris Pratt is great again in this one and Bradley Cooper once again stands out for his voice work with the speaking raccoon. The one guardian who seems to have upped himself from the last film though is Dave Bautista as Drax who, in this movie, is even funnier and also more compelling than in the previous. Michael Rooker also puts in a brilliant performance that definitely outdoes his previous one. Kurt Russell, however, is miscast. It is plain and simple: he tries his best, but this is simply not his genre. He seems like a sore thumb in this movie and it is rather unpleasant to witness.

The screenplay too has got me with some mixed emotions. The first and third acts are very well-written and really manages to hold this movie up. It also seems like the screenwriters realized that with this movie, they have much more freedom with the characters than they did in the previous one, which really does a lot for the movie as a whole. In the first film, the characters and to be introduced and jumbled together, but in this one the writers had the freedom to really keep building on these characters in interesting ways that worked wonders for the emotional drive of the film. The second act is where the screenplay stumbles though. It sort of seems like the screenwriters ran out of ideas, and just had to extend some of the scenes and add useless dialogue that didn’t do anything for the overarching film to reach a certain length.

But, the dragging second act aside, the film boasts some truly great performances, a direction that works on so many levels and an emotionally moving ending. This film is a must-watch for comic-book fans, and a should-watch for everybody else.