Yesterday I witnessed something of unparalleled magnitude. I thought Civil War was big. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was something else. I was promised laughs, emotion, and a delve into our main characters’ psyches. I got all that, and then some. It was a wild, immersive ride from start to finish, with a killer soundtrack (did you really expect anything less?) and a script unrivalled by any other superhero film. I am telling you, you cannot miss this. (Caution: Major, major, major spoilers ahead!)
So, as promised, Vol. 2 is basically the story of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), and who he really is. After Vol. 1, we were all left asking “So… Who is his dad?” I now wish we’d never asked. As heart-warming as it was to see Peter finally playing catch with his father, I knew that something wasn’t right. It was all too… Idyllic. And I knew for sure that those irritating gold people weren’t our main villain. So I wasn’t overly surprised when Ego (Kurt Russell) revealed himself as our villain. What did completely surprise me, however, was just how evil he was. The crosscutting between Mantis (Pom Klementieff) explaining to Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillian) about the fate of Ego’s ‘children’ whilst Star-Lord was pulled further and further under his father’s spell were genuinely tense. I didn’t believe that anything in that moment could bring Peter back. Until the reveal of arguably the most heinous crime in Marvel history. Forget Bucky killing Tony’s parents, this was next-level. Peter’s pain and anguish as Ego revealed that he had given Meredith Quill the brain tumour that sealed her fate was felt by every single person in that audience. And that’s when I knew we had a battle on our hands. We all know Marvel villains are a bit… Shaky. But Ego has broken that trend. Yeah, sure, he had the same idea as every other villain; let’s destroy the universe! But knowing that this was Peter Quill’s father who he’d been wondering about his whole damn life made him Loki-level evil. There’s just something about family-connected villains.
Besides the story of Peter’s parentage, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) managed to lose the rest of the Guardians and go off on their own adventure. After pissing off Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki), Rocket was a wanted trash panda. And after Ayesha set the Ravagers on his back, I knew that Yondu (Michael Rooker) would end up playing a bigger part in this movie. But more on that later. Rocket had not changed a bit from the original film, but Groot obviously looked a bit different. You’d have to have been living under a rock to not know about Baby Groot. And, as promised, he completely stole every scene he was in. Must be a bit of a ‘fuck you’ for actual actors, being upstaged by a small, talking tree. I genuinely could not deal with watching those Ravagers bully him, and when he started crying in the final scene I was ready to throw myself down the cinema’s stairs. If our Guardians had stayed together for the entire movie, we wouldn’t have seen enough of the star of the show. Plus, if Rocket and Groot hadn’t reconnected with Yondu… There would be no more Star-Lord. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Okay, so I mentioned that Peter’s exposition plays a mahoosive part of Vol. 2, but can we just talk about Gamora and Nebula for a second? Them trying to work out their sisterly differences led to the only link between our Guardians and Avengers, as Nebula said she was going after Thanos, only for Gamora to say that she’s not strong enough on her own. Well, thank God there’s about thirty Avengers assembling across the universe to do exactly that. I’ll be honest, Nebula irritated me in Vol. 1 and for the first half of Vol. 2 (emotionally manipulating Baby Groot? No thanks), but it was when she began to explain to Gamora the pain she suffered at the hands of Thanos that I softened. I understand why she blames Gamora, but it was all Thanos’s doing. I cannot wait to see Nebula in action in Infinity War, and I’m hopeful that her and Gamora will team up and show all the Avengers how you really fight Thanos.
Speaking of softening towards people, I didn’t think Rocket would be a likely candidate for this at all. Star-Lord calling him an a-hole within the first five minutes was a give-away that he hadn’t changed, so teaming him up with Yondu was a stroke of brilliance. They were both left unwanted by their ‘parents’ and that made them angry and determined to push away anyone who tried to get close. Yes, Rocket is a complete asshole most of the time, but the way the camera was left lingering on him when he left Yondu and Peter on Ego’s planet just proved that this is a trash panda who has feelings. He was the closing shot, for God’s sake. Rocket is no longer just the comic relief. A CGI raccoon has been given depth, and that’s something only Marvel could pull off.
Okay, let’s just get to it. The ending. I’m genuinely tearing up thinking about it. I’d been told that it was emotional, but I thought “How? All the main Guardians have been cast in Infinity War, what could possibly be that emotional if none of our main characters are dying?” Little did I know. As Yondu made that final speech to Peter about how, yes, Ego is Star-Lord’s father, but he will always be his dad pushed me right over the edge. Marvel’s good at that, isn’t it? Giving a character someone they love back, and then ripping them away again all too soon. (See, Steve and Bucky, approximately three thousand times). I can honestly say I never expected the final scene of a Guardians film to be so beautiful and emotionally charged, yet there I was, sobbing away as all the Ravagers gathered to send Yondu off.
Right, I mentioned the link to Infinity War, but that was it. There was nothing else. No sign of any Avengers in the after credit scenes, no clues as to what our Guardians would be getting up to next. I managed to make up some mad theory in which Ego is somehow related to Odin, meaning Thor and Loki are Star-Lord’s cousins, meaning that Peter might pop up in Ragnarok. But who knows? It’s doubtful that they’ll be mentioned in Homecoming, however Chris Pratt was seen on the Infinity set with RDJ and Tom Holland. There’s just so much groundwork that needs to be laid before April 2018, and we’re running out of time for it to happen.
Listen, I could rant on about this film for hours. I haven’t even scratched the surface on how brilliant Drax was. I know I say it about every goddamn Marvel film, but you need to see this. You don’t have to be a Marvel fan, heck you don’t even have to be a superhero fan to enjoy this. It was both hilarious and poignant, what more do you want? You can easily dive right in to Marvel with this being your first film because most things are re-explained as it goes on. So come and join the madcap world that is the Marvel fandom, spend your days theorising how every character in the MCU is linked and completely lose yourself in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. You cannot miss this.
Side note, how much do you think Vin Diesel got paid to say “I am Groot” a handful of times? It didn’t even sound like him, it could’ve been me for all you know.
Other Awesome Things:
- Star-Lord and Gamora could teach the Avengers a few things about what real intimacy looks like. Their chemistry is unreal.
- Have I mentioned Drax’s laugh? Infectious.
- Mantis is one of the best new characters we’ve encountered in a long time. She better stick around.
- Those after credit scenes? Mega LOLs until Ayesha reappeared and mentioned Adam bloody Warlock.
- The whole opening scene was just… I’m still speechless.
- Howard the Duck popped up a fair few times, right? Intriguing…
- I choked when I saw Sylvester Stallone.
- To back up my mad Thor/Star-Lord theory, Jeff Goldblum was in the closing credits. I love a good easter egg.