Gross: $146,510,104, $65,263,492
What it is: The second entry in Marvel Studios’ series about the adventures of a band of intergalactic misfits. This time around, Quill a.k.a. Star Lord (Chris Pratt), the only seemingly human member of the team, meets his father (Kurt Russell), who turns out to be a god. Meanwhile, other members of the team, including Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a baby version of the anthropomorphic tree Groot (Vin Diesel) get captured by space pirates.
I never saw the first Guardians of the Galaxy, so I was curious as to how it was supposed to fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since it looked like a tongue-in-cheek space opera instead of an Earthbound superhero story like most of Marvel’s properties. As it turns out, Vol. 2 didn’t clarify that for me, since it still seems to basically be a Star Wars riff despite distracting cameos from Howard the Duck and Stan Lee.
In any case, it was fun, colorful and amusing the way Marvel films tend to be. Some of the violence is sadistic in a “This comic book movie ain’t for kiddies!” way, as was the case with Logan, but Guardians’ sense of humor keeps it from seeming too pretentious.
One other note that involves spoilers: I got frustrated reading The Shack because of how much that book twisted itself into knots to rationalize Christian dogma, and because of how much of its reasoning became self-contradictory: God is described as being like a parent, and yet we’re also supposed to never let ourselves become separate from Him(/Her), which is not generally how a healthy parent/child relationship works. So it was nice to see this movie present the “God as parent” idea from a more critical perspective, with Russell’s character turning out to be a megalomaniacal deadbeat whom Quill ultimately has to defeat.