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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Chris Pratt stars in a scene from the movie "Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Marvel Studios)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Sound fundamental values underlie the spirited sci-fi follow-up "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (Disney). But thematic elements demanding discernment, together with some less than family-friendly dialogue, make this return to the stars best for grown-ups.

That's a shame because, in continuing to adapt a series of Marvel comics, writer-director James Gunn not only maintains the jaunty atmosphere of the 2014 original but adds an interesting allegory about the dangers of selfishness from which younger viewers might have profited.

This parable takes shape after the hero of the first film, Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) encounters his long-lost -- and previously unidentified -- father, the "celestial" or demi-god Ego (Kurt Russell). The creator and ruler of his own paradise-like planet, Ego, seems to have a lot to offer Peter, and the two quickly bond.

In one scene, for instance, they play a game of catch that, for all its apparent simplicity, nonetheless manages to highlight both this sequel's positive and more challenging aspects. On the plus side, the incident is touching because we know that, as a child, Peter yearned to share this iconic experience with his unknown dad.

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