Zoe Saldana was 'stunted out' after Guardians of the Galaxy sequel jumps

It may be a logical character arc for Quill, but when one too many tragic backstories build at the expense of fun, the running time starts feeling a bit bloated.

These days, when a new Marvel movie comes out, it comes with a baggage of narrative and visual conventions that make even the series' strongest entries strain under the weight. As an extra promotion through RealD, 558 theaters will offer a 3D double feature starting with the first "Guardians" film and leading into a 7 p.m. screening of the sequel.

2 is expected to do laps around the first Guardians of the Galaxy in terms of their respective opening numbers. His dark side is called Magus, which gets risky if and when he gets hold of the Soul Gem - one of the Infinity Stones that Thanos is after in Infinity War.

Central to this scene is Groot, the Vin-Diesel-voiced tree who sacrificed his grown body in the last movie, and who is now no larger than a twig. Rather than always scrambling for a reset, this sequel seems to delight in wandering down loose paths the previous film set down. But damned if its objective didn't slither away as writer-director James Gunn thrilled in chasing one bit of irreverence after another, correctly sensing that the only way not to get lost in so much cosmic mythology was to thumb his nose at the whole universe. "I am Groot" worked in graphics, special effects and various other departments.

The jokes do get a little repetitive (and in the gap between the films, Ryan Reynold's Deadpool has stolen much of the Guardians thunder in the wisecracking antihero stakes).

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Baby Groot was born at the end of the first "Guardians of the Galaxy" film, and the extraterrestrial, treelike creature is a tiny, scene-stealing superhero in "Vol. 2".

Chris Sullivan plays Taserface, a member of the gang of smugglers known as the Ravagers; Kurt Russell is Ego, who has a mysterious connection with Peter Quill; Sylvester Stallone is a Ravager who has a bone to pick with Yondu.

Part of what makes this smaller narrative work so well is likely its authorial consistency. I just didn't think Drax was that significant in the film, and I don't find myself amusing at all. So he, I think, could easily oversee additional stories beyond Vol. 3.

Impressive, delightful and surprising, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" shows that in a world that's as big as a universe, sometimes the best thing to do is spend some quality time in just one place.

  • Carlos Nash