The Marvel Cinematic Universe strikes again with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, released April 19. Written and Directed by James Gunn with an additional writing credit to Dan Abnett, this sequel runs for an hour and 36 minutes and spans several solar systems as we take a closer look at Marvel’s rag tag team of do-gooders.

So… right off the bat it would be easy to say that this movie suffers from a bad case of the sequels. This is the type of disease that Hollywood likes to inflict upon successful movies where we need double the action, double the funny, double the explosions.

Like I said, at a glance one might think that this is where this movie was going; it appears, however, that James Gunn was not content with that. Instead he delivers a character piece that delves into the hearts and motivations of almost every member of this obscure super team: Where did they come from? What does family mean? Why do they act the way they do? And what does it mean to be a father? These are all questions that this movie takes the time to examine.

The cast come together and carry the movie delivering outstanding performances that push you beyond a run-of-the-mill sequel and actually create greater stakes that allow you as the viewer to become invested.

What’s it about? The movies looks into the linage of Star Lord… not much to the plot beyond that. The story is nothing new, and runs on obvious tracks heading for its inevitable loud and explosive conclusion, but the dynamic between these characters, their love and strife for one another is truly what holds this movie together.

Bradley Cooper does a remarkable job as the infamous Rocket Racoon, but I think the top tier performance really comes from Michael Rooker, reprising his role as the blue Ravager Yondu. What could easily have been a character played for laughs was transformed into a thinking, feeling multi-dimensional person… that’s no small feat for a man painted blue with a red mohawk.

This movie has great gags, solid CGI and a compelling cast, it was very much worth the uncomfortable seats at the Qwanlin Cinema Centre, and I’d recommend checking it out if you have the chance.

This movie gets 4 out of 5 infinity stones