Yes, it’s a blast, almost strenuously cheerful.
1. It’s funny and the opposite of self-serious.
2. There are unexpectedly affecting moments, most of them having to do with father-son relationships. Gamora’s relationship with Nebula also gets some attention. Captain America is all about politics, Spider-Man is about adolescence, X-Men is about nerds and Guardians is about family. (Fantastic Four should’ve been about family, but they never figured it out.)
3. It has even more music in it than the first Guardians; you could view it as an exhausting series of very expensive music videos. The poster looks like an album cover.
It uses Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, which is also the score of one of two scenes I bring up to convince people to watch The Americans (The other scene is set to Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.)
4. There are famous actor cameos that I suspect will be spun off into other movie franchises. At this point Marvel Studio movies should no longer be reviewed as cinema, but as business strategies. The villain’s plan for universal domination could actually be the studio’s.
5. Chris Pratt is probably at peak adorableness. (Chris Pratt and Anna Faris might be this century’s Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.) His idiotic comment about blue collar representation in Hollywood—and subsequent apology—actually helps him; otherwise he would be too adorable and the audience would be sick of him. (Three franchises.)
6. There are five credit sequences and they are not a pain to sit through.
7. Yes, the Marvel flicks use those de-aging effects very well.
8. Fine use of Michael Rooker.
9. Vin Diesel is most effective when his dialogue is limited to one line (with countless readings).
10. The achievement of James Gunn and GOTG is making everything seem spontaneous, wacky and random, when the product is so slick one could suspect they have reduced us into algorithms.