The second coming of the misfit space cowboys in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is more of the same; but for the most part, that’s OK. If you were a fan of the first (I was) you’ll dig the next chapter, but your enjoyment will depend on your tolerance for redundancy … and your willingness to succumb to Chris Pratt’s humor and hotness.

“Guardians 2” still has writer-director James Gunn’s off-kilter style stamped all over it. It also boasts a game-for-anything cast that includes a pair of scene-stealers in a wise-cracking raccoon and a miniature tree trunk creature recalling Ally McBeal’s dancing baby. Plus, the action is amplified by a killer soundtrack of ’70s pop favorites. In one featured song, “Brandy” is indeed a fine girl, just like this movie -- except as it chugs along it chokes on its own exposition, I wanted something more than just “fine.” Then Pratt takes off his shirt and all seems well again.

The original “Guardians” was the coolest -- and most surprising -- movie of the summer of 2014. This second installment essentially kicks off this summer’s season -- and let’s just say the ball is short of the end zone. It’s a letdown, especially at a strained 136 minutes. Not much distinguishes the two movies. “Guardians 2” has a few new faces, namely Kurt Russell, Pom Klementieff and Sylvester Stallone. It’s an effects-laden spectacle propped up by its out-of-this-world ensemble. Pratt is back wearing the distressed red leather coat as Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord. His awesome alien misfits include Bradley Cooper’s salty raccoon-like Rocket, Vin Diesel’s woodland Groot, Zoe Saldana’s warrior assassin Gomora and Dave Bautista’s beefy Drax. Last time out, we saw them evolve from reluctant, belligerent allies to BFFs willing to die for each other. This outing, while our heroes still bicker and banter, they wrestle with what it’s like to be a family, all while saving the world from -- wait for it -- intergalactic annihilation.

In the opening, the Guardians successfully defend the golden-hued Sovereigns against a giant lizard creature. Later, Rocket steals a bunch of super-duper batteries from the Sovereigns. When their high priestess (Elizabeth Debicki) figures out what went down, she sends her fleet after the Guardians. The Ravagers (led by Michael Rooker’s blue-hued Yondu) also have a beef with the Guardians. Rounding out these entanglements is the discovery of Quill’s long-lost father, Ego, played with a full serving of ham and cheese -- and a gorgeous wavy Hasselhoff-like flow -- by Russell.

The plot and subplots are too tangled to keep straight. The script sends Quill and company to Ego’s Shangri-La like planet full of color, bubbles, lush vegetation and waterfalls. Naturally, it’s all too good to be true. Gamora (Saldana) senses a disturbance in the force. A surprising revelation pits the prodigal son against daddy dearest. Also, tension brews between Gamora and her vindictive sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan). And Drax finds chemistry with Mantis (Klementieff). The director’s brother, Sean Gunn (“Gilmore Girls”), finds himself in a much bigger role this time out, playing Kraglin, the right-hand man to Yondu (Rooker). For his part, Pratt picks up where left off. His Quill has a mountain of charisma and goofiness that renders him irresistible. What’s unbelievable is the forced push-pull between Quill and Gamora that writer-director Gunn likens to Sam and Diane from TV’s “Cheers.” It’s not.

Gunn fires a lot at us -- all in unnecessary 3-D, of course -- but redeems himself with that twisted sense of humor and running gags. Among the latter is a debate over what kind of animal Rocket is, and a soundtrack (it’s Quill’s late mom’s “Awesome Mix” tape vol. 2) rich in ’70s hits, including Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son,” and “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac. Themes of parental love run throughout the movie. As Quill wrestles with his daddy issues, it’s the love for his mother, who died of cancer in the first film, that motivates him when his back is against the wall. Moms rock.

Gunn doesn’t skimp on cameos (Stan Lee, Howard the Duck), either, and other nods to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Stick around for the handful of post-credits scenes.

-- Dana Barbuto may be reached at dbarbuto@ledger.com or follow her on Twitter @dbarbuto_Ledger.

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell.
(PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive content)
Grade: B