Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a rousing romp through the universe

My movie review and commentary on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is live at the Independent Institute blog. Guardians 2 is a fun, entertaining romp through the universe with the galaxy’s most dysfunctional family. The acting is more than adequate—Chris Pratt‘s (Peter Quill) comedic talents are evident as are those of Dave Bautista (Drax)—but James Gunn‘s script and directing is outstanding. He makes the most of a capable ensemble cast, including Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Michael Rooker (Yandu), and the voices of Bradley Cooper (Rocket) and Vin Diesel (Baby Groot). The special effects don’t overwhelm the story or the action, providing a nice balance between character development and plot. I’ve got more details of my thoughts in the blog.

I think this movie is underrated by some credits. This is a very smart, well crafted film. In particular, the main tension between Peter and his father Ego (Kurt Russell) is driven by a deep philosophical idea about personal identity—a heavy theme no doubt. But Gunn doesn’t let the weight of the idea slow the film down.  In fact, I believe this film is a great example of storytelling where substance drives plot. More often, filmmakers attempting to make a point slow the action down because it’s not integrated well into the plot. I will be writing on this point in a future post on this website.

I write in part in the Independence Institute review,

Despite the heavy theme, Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 remains a engaging film, a rare combination of state of the art filmmaking and substance. Gunn is able to combine a keystone cops comedic lightness with first-rate special effects, making the film suitable for a wide range of audiences. Gunn leverages the comic talents of his cast and quirky characters to craft an entertaining, action packed, and amusing addition to the Marvel Comics film universe. The movie has already grossed more than $430 million dollars worldwide, double its production budget, and seems likely to legitimately earn a spot as one the highest grossing films of the year.

I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, and I’m looking forward to the third installment which is already under contract.

Author: SR Staley
SR Staley has one more than 11 literary awards for his fiction and nonfiction writing. He is on the full-time faculty of the College and Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University as well as a film critic and research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California. His award-winning Pirate of Panther Bay series ( has won awards in historical fiction, mainstream & literary fiction, young adult fiction, and reached the finals in women's fiction. His most recent book is "The Beatles and Economics: Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and the Making of a Cultural Revolution" due out in April 2020 (Routledge).