[Note: because of the subject at hand, this is a slightly longer post than usual. However, because I want to write about Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 so I can move on to other things (like this year’s E3, an anime review or two, and some stuff about Christian culture), I’m going to unpack a lot here.]
So, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 has been out for over a month now. I was able to talk about Wonder Woman without going into deep spoilers, but Guardians 2?
This is why I waited so long to do the review. Because of the ad campaigns, and what I knew about it going in, I didn’t know what counted as a spoiler or not.
Ergo, I’m opening this review with a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING.
I mean, we’re talking Ego the Living Planet sized SPOILER WARNING.
Speaking of whom, Guardians 2 opens with Star Lord, or Peter Quill, and his motley crew doing what they did in the first movie: save lives while committing crimes under the table. Of course, this doesn’t last long before they get an entire planet’s army on their tail.
To their surprise, the Guardians are bailed out by Star Lord’s birth-father, who turns out to be Ego the Living Planet.
Now, I’m not familiar with the comics, but this felt like it came out of nowhere. After a quick Google search, some of the comics had a different character—named J’son—as Star Lord’s father. Not Ego. As such, it comes across as a means to incorporate Ego the Living Planet into the MCU.
Now, bear in mind, I’m not complaining. I’m just saying that it felt like an odd choice when I first heard it. “So, Star Lord’s mystery father is…a planet? Okay.”
In fact, I’m almost glad that they changed it to Ego. It gave Guardians 2 the chance to play with the theme of Mentors and Fathers. And by “plays with,” I mean it takes the theme, deconstructs it, and reverse-engineers it in a dozen different ways.
So, to cover as much ground as I can in as little time, I’m breaking one of the blog-post rules with this…[inhales deeply]
Star Lord starts to kindle a relationship with Ego, only to learn that Ego had selfish intentions for bringing Star Lord back into his life; Star Lord also continues his relationship with Yondu, and eventually realizes that despite his almost-abusive tendencies (which were implied, but never shown, oddly), he was a better father for Star Lord than Ego could have ever been; Gamora gets more screentime with her sister, Nebula, and their relationship develops when Nebula reveals that her father, Thanos, was abusive to her, but not to Gamora, which led Nebula to be better than her sister, showing that by being a bad father and showing favoritism can destroy one’s children; Rocket and Groot have an oddly father-raising-toddler vibe, but it’s played for comedy; and (to my surprise) Drax of all people got some heart-to-heart time with a new character, Mantis, and he starts to accept her as his substitute daughter.
Basically, every single member of the original Guardians of the Galaxy learns what it’s like to be a dad or to have a dad.
And I’m not complaining. The writers of Guardians 2 did a good job with this, and because of it, it’s probably my Number 1 favorite superhero movie, if not Number 2—this and Guardians 1 keep flipping between the two slots.
Though I do find it interesting how this trend is beginning to unfold in other superhero movies.
Sure, by the nature of character archetypes and the typical Hero’s Journey, there are always Mentors, fatherly figures, and people influencing the Hero. But now there seems to be an emphasis on the Heroes becoming the Mentors. Logan was billed as an older Wolverine mentoring the younger, less-experienced X-23. Spider-Man: Homecoming looks like it will play into Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark, who already got six movies of development.
Long story short, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was a good movie. I enjoyed it, at least, and it was a pretty refreshing addition to not just the MCU, but superhero movies in general.
Other things I liked: toddler Groot was downright adorable. I liked what they did with Yondu, even though I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Rooker. The side villains—even though I can’t remember their name—were well-written. Also, two words: TAZER FACE!
Things I didn’t like: I wasn’t that fond of Drax, to be honest. I mean, he got good development in this movie, but he seems like he’s still there solely for comic relief, while providing little for the team. Also, the language felt a little…strong at times. It felt like everyone got in a swear. Even Groot. Somehow.