Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn
After the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie blew audiences away with the ragtag group that virtually no one had heard of before, expectations were fairly high for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I think Corrine nailed her review of GotG when she said that we love the Guardians because they are all so morally ambiguous and complicated “heroes.” So how would this team fit together in the future?
Not so great, as it turns out. And that’s would makes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 such a great movie.
The Guardians have been hired by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) of The Sovereign to protect a cache of valuable batteries from a giant, rainbow-vomitting, tentacled space-beast. Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), the sage that he is, steals a handful of batteries from The Sovereign … where the penalty for wrong-doing is death. They are pursued by the remote-piloted Sovereign armada but are saved by a mysterious figure (the tiny man, according to the talking raccoon with no concept of depth perception).
They crash-land on a planet, where the mysterious figure (Kurt Russell) appears and tells the team he is the Celestial Ego. He also happens to be Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) father. He invites Peter to his planet to prove to him their relation, and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax (Dave Bautista) tag along, while Rocket and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are left to repair the ship and watch their prisoner — and Gamora’s sister — Nebula (Karen Gillan).
On the planet, Peter becomes convinced of his divine lineage, but Ego’s servant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) appears uncomfortable by these developments and tries to warn Drax and Gamora. Meanwhile, Rocket and Groot are captured by the Ravagers led by Yondu (Michael Rooker) and assisted by the escaped Nebula. Mutiny takes Yondu out of the lead, but soon, Rocket, Groot, and Yondu escape and make it back to the rest of the team … just as Ego is hatching his universe-wide scheme.
Full disclosure: I loved this movie when I first saw it in theater. I remember being fairly impressed by the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but this movie surpassed that in my mind. I was almost afraid to re-watch this movie just because I was worried I wouldn’t like it as much. So how did that turn out?
There’s so much to love about this movie. Right from the get-go, your eyes are caressed and awed by the beautiful graphics and colors that the Cosmic Marvel Universe has to offer. Dave Bautista almost steals the show with his many one-liners as the almost-too-literal-and-honest Drax. The soundtrack is the ear-nectar of the gods and is cleverly employed in the plot as well.
But the part of this movie that really speaks out to me is the complications of familial relationships, particularly the daddy issues. Peter doesn’t trust his father at first, then when he thinks he’s got his dad back, his world is rocked. Gamora and Nebula’s horrible, awful father figure pitted them against each other when all they wanted was to be sisters. Even Yondu yearns to be back in the good graces of his mentor Stakar (Sylvester Stallone).
I love the development of Peter and Ego’s relationship. It’s the classic battle between becoming who people expect you to be vs. choosing to be who you want to be. Having grown up with a lawyer for a dad, I know that struggle all too well (but I love my father and we have a great relationship, unlike Peter and Ego turn out to have). When Yondu — who raised Peter — comes to save Peter, he utters this tear-jerking line: “He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn’t your daddy.”
Not only is there the father tension, there’s tension between the team as well. The most notable is Rocket and Peter. When we catch up to them, they are constantly bickering in the same way that two alpha males in the same room tend to do. Everything one of them says rubs the other one the wrong way. And the tension between characters isn’t contained to them (note the Nebula/Gamora relationship mentioned above). But by the end, they realize that this tension is because they are, more or less, a family.
It’s a great way to say that family isn’t always about blood relation, which the recent film Shazam! also captured beautifully.
With my re-watch, I did notice this time around that there is a lot going on with this movie. Between The Sovereign, the team splitting up, and the Ravagers, it can get confusing if you aren’t paying attention.
However, I still love this movie. For a movie set in space, it tackles some very down-to-earth issues that are common to the human experience.