Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2: Rollicking sequel blends cocktail of action and humour
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his fellow Guardians - green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), vengeance-seeking warrior Drax (Dave Bautista), genetically engineered raccoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and cute tree-like sidekick Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) - face a razor-toothed beast that intends to steal the Anulax Batteries belonging to high priestess Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki).
As a reward for laser-blasting bravery, the snarky heroes take delivery of a prisoner: Gamora's estranged sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan).
Soon after, The Guardians encounter an omnipotent being, Ego (Kurt Russell), who claims to be Peter's missing father. Meanwhile, space pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker) pursues Peter and co, hungry for revenge.
Guardians Vol. 2 is a rollicking sequel that blends a cocktail of irreverent humour, heart-tugging sentiment and spectacular action sequences.
Writer-director James Gunn confidently spices a familiar brew with sinewy subplots and an expanded role for Gamora's sibling, plus the introduction of Ego's underling, Mantis (Pom Klementieff).
Pratt and Saldana turn up the heat on the "unspoken thing" between their comrades, while Rocket and Baby Groot scene-steal with aplomb.
Not everything is golden: an emotional crescendo cheekily borrows from a recent Disney animation, and the final showdown has been cast, disappointingly, in the same special effects-heavy mould as The Avengers and Captain America.