After the events of the first film, the Guardians--Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper), and Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel)—are famous throughout the galaxy. They are hired by the Sovereign Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) to protect some powerful batteries from an inter-dimensional monster. The frenetic and impressive opening battle-scene takes place behind Baby Groot’s dancing to Peter Quill’s mixtape. Nebula (Karen Gillan) Gamora’s hated sister, is their prisoner, for the bounty. Unfortunately, Rocket cannot resist stealing the batteries for himself and the Sovereign attacks the Guardian ship with drones.

The drones are destroyed by a mysterious force and the Guardians’ ship crash-lands on a planet. Their saviour turns out to be Ego (Kurt Russell) Quill’s long-lost father, who has been searching for him. While Rocket and Groot, with Nebula in irons, stay to repair the ship, the others are invited to Ego’s home planet. Ayesha hires our old friend Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker) and his Ravagers to capture the Guardians. They do capture Rocket, but Yondu is reluctant to betray Quill, whom he thinks of as a son. Kraglin (Sean Gunn) and Taserface (Chris Sullivan) mutiny against Yondu, lock him up with Rocket, and space his loyal crew. Nebula takes off to kill her sister Gamora. In the brig, Yondu and Rocket become allies. Groot and Kraglin, who sides with Yondu now, free them and escape, but Taserface alerts Ayesha.

Ego is a Celestial. He can manipulate matter to create planets, but he took on human form to explore the galaxy and fell in love with Quill’s mother. He had hired Yondu to pick up Quill as a young boy, but Yondu did not turn him over and Ego has been searching for him ever since, to teach him how to use his latent Celestial powers. Nebula arrives and tries to kill Gamora, but they bond—sort of—when they discover a cave full of skeletons. These were Ego’s children who didn’t measure up. Also, he gave Quill’s mother the cancer that killed her.

Ego’s empathic servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) becomes friends with Dax (both of them innocents in their way) and warns of Ego’s plan to rebuild the entire universe in his image, and the Guardians struggle to destroy Ego’s brain in the centre of the planet, as the Sovereigns attack from above. Nebula reconciles with Gamora but leaves to find and kill their father Thanos. In a post-credit scene, the Watchers are revealed.

The first Watcher in the comics, named Oatu, was in Fantastic Four #13 (April 1963). The Watcher later appeared in the Galactus Trilogy (Fantastic Four #48-50) in 1966, his job to observe the universe but never to interfere, which didn’t always work out that way. Ego, the Living Planet, first appeared in Mighty Thor #132 (September 1966) and appeared in Fantastic Four #234-5, and in other comics, including a continuing role in Silver Surfer. Ego and Galactus were often antagonists, as you can imagine. In an end-credit scene, Stan Lee appears among the Watchers, discussing his appearance in previous Marvel adventures. Ben Browder, from the Farscape series, is a Sovereign admiral. In another such scene, Yondu’s old team appears; they are the original Guardians of the Galaxy team: Michael Rosenbaum as Martinex, Ving Rhames as Charlie-27, Michele Yeoh as Aleta Ogord, and Miley Crus voicing Mainframe.

Baby Groot, who featured prominently in all the trailers, is just this side of too damn cute. Vin Diesel recorded his lines (I Am Groot) sixteen times in different languages for foreign releases. One of the biggest technical problems in making the movie was finding a Sony Walkman that wasn’t broken.