Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, arguably the studio’s most highly anticipated 2017 release, is finally in theaters. The original Guardians of the Galaxy remains one of the Marvel’s riskiest success stories and is now regarded as one of the best entries in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it’s fair to say that expectations have been high for Vol. 2 to deliver an experience at least on par with the first film. Long story short, if you enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, you’re probably going to love Vol. 2, as it delivers the same ridiculous space opera spoof style while exploring the characters and relationships in even greater detail. At this juncture, it’s difficult to say whether Vol. 2 is a better movie, but I do think it does make some improvements in certain areas.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t avoid getting into SPOILER talk here, so if you’re worried about having plot details revealed, you should see the movie first before reading.
10. Baby Groot > Regular Groot
The various teasers and trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 made Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) look and sound adorable, but it was unclear whether his presence would distract or grow tiresome over the course of the film. Now that I’ve seen Baby Groot in action, I can safely say that I prefer him to his bigger version, even if at times it feels like the film doesn’t quite know how to work him into the story organically. The main drawback to the Guardians not having a big Groot around anymore is that Baby Groot is pretty much a constant liability for them, as he’s more likely to dance to some ELO in the midst of battle than worry about things like, you know, not getting killed.
In simple terms, Groot is essentially the Guardians’ pet dog in this film and that dynamic works surprisingly well. Not only is Baby Groot freaking adorable (although he can get quite feisty when the mood strikes), the paternal/caregiver roles that each of his teammates have to play in order to keep him alive actually seems to strengthen the bonds between them, as each member gets their turn to supervise the “Twig,” as Yondu affectionately refers to him at one point. Sure, it’s a bit disappointing not to have Adult Groot and his ability to lay waste to enemies, but I really enjoyed this bold change in direction for the character and feel like it only helped bolster the personality of a film already overflowing with it.