5 things you don't know about Baby Groot of 'Guardians'

The key to the first film's appeal was that we loved the characters and their whole dysfunctional family dynamic. And while Guardians may have more female characters than most of its Marvel peers, women in the film are still greatly outnumbered by men, with Mantis joining just three other ladies.

This ethos, for better or worse, becomes clear in the opening title sequence, as the guardians team up against a giant space squid that looks significantly more expensive than anything they've fought before. And Groot, who died at the end of the last film with only a seed of himself to survive into a sapling, is now a baby and, in the words of a Ravager, "too adorable to kill".

"If you're told to jump 30 feet and you have your wire and your wire has no tension and you're're thinking, 'Something went's over, '" Saldana joked. I saw it four times in theaters. The first film was cleverly set to a soundtrack provided by Awesome Mixtape #1 that Peter's mom left him.

Forced to flee across the galaxy, the gang encounters a benefactor (Kurt Russell) who claims to be the long-lost father of Peter Quill, a.k.a. Starlord (Chris Pratt), who grew up knowing only his mother before being whisked off to become a space-traveling thief.

In terms of sheer entertainment value, though, this "Guardians of the Galaxy" ultimately shares just enough with its central quintet - rather heroically getting the job done, even if the trip from here to there can be a bit disjointed and messy.

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The film's charm is that the CGI effects, epic battles, and saving the universe hoopla take a back seat to the interplay among the characters.

Groot was such a hit that two weeks after the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, producer Marvel Studios released a range of toys featuring the linguistically challenged tree and a standalone post-credits scene of Baby Groot.

Baby Groot is an infant-like wooden stump with seemingly no memory of his previous life. But Vol. 2, which is mildly enjoyable while instantly forgettable, makes a gamble that we want to learn even more about Quill's Earth past. That is meant as a compliment to Gunn for his determination to make his movie one of the most overblown meditations on the garish idiocy of the genre to date. I had actually been holding back. And despite all the jokiness, it is also a film with a surprising amount of heart.

The most anticipated film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 opens this Friday in movie theaters. But damned if its goal didn't slither away as writer-director James Gunn thrilled in chasing one bit of irreverence after another, correctly sensing that the only way not to get lost in so much cosmic mythology was to thumb his nose at the whole universe. For good (if you like weird things like I do), it paved the way for stranger stories to come - like 2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy", which involved a hostile raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper.

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