I feel like I’ve waited an age to say this, but… Homecoming IS OUT THIS WEEK. Finally, we’ll get a proper look at Tom Holland in action, and see how he measures up to predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. So, while we’re waiting for Friday to hit, I thought it’d be the perfect time to further discuss Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, now I’ve (sort of) gotten over the initial shock of how brilliant it was. But I don’t just want to do a re-review, oh no. There is one thing in particular I need to talk about. Yondu Udonta was our hero, and no one can persuade me otherwise.
Let’s cast our minds back to Guardians 1, way back in 2014. Feels like a century ago. So long ago, in fact, that I almost let myself forget what Kraglin said as he, Yondu, and the Ravagers left with what they thought was the real Orb: “It’s probably good we didn’t deliver him to his dad like we were supposed to.” If we’d have known then what was to come… Hooooo boy.
In the original Guardians movie, to me, Yondu felt like a secondary character. A minor inconvenience to Peter and the gang’s quest. Honestly, he was a villain. A villain who, so I thought, I wouldn’t mind seeing the back of.
Let’s now all imagine me, sitting in a darkened movie theatre, blubbing my eyes out as Yondu spoke those now infamous last words: “He may have been your father boy, but he weren’t your daddy.” I swear I felt a small part of my soul leave me and die with Yondu. In my eyes, never has a character done such a dramatic 180.
We saw this 180 begin in Yondu’s first scene of Guardians 2. The genuine fire he had when arguing with Stakar about his expulsion from the Ravagers made me sit up and think, hey… this guy has feelings. And when he refused to turn Quill over to the Sovereign, claiming that he didn’t want to be the one to send the Guardians to their death because of Nova Corps, well… It felt suspicious. Quill screwed him over in the last film, promising the Orb and instead giving a fake. That pissed the Ravagers off. All but Yondu, seemingly. And I couldn’t help but wonder why. Yondu isn’t Peter’s real father, we all knew that. But still, he refused to put him in harm’s way. Very un-Ravager like.
And of course, after all his fellow Ravagers quickly turned on him, and “Baldie” very nimbly shot his fin clean off his head, Yondu was powerless. Tormented by the people he once led. Sitting back and watching as they threw anyone who disagreed with their rebellion off the Ravager ship, and into space, to their death. In spite of yourself, you probably felt sorry for him. This man was nothing but a nuisance in the first film, and now you’re… sympathising with him? Cut to a close-up of Kraglin during all this, and I knew he wasn’t about to sit back and let this happen, despite being the first one to speak up against Yondu.
And can I be the first to say; thank freaking god for Kraglin. Without him intervening in Groot’s quest to find Yondu’s fin (which also happens to be one of the funniest scenes in the film), we wouldn’t have been able to witness what can only be described as the finest scene in the MCU. You may not agree, but for me, watching Yondu’s arrow of torture fly around the Ravager ship, proving once and for all who their leader is, was nothing short of art. It was joyous chaos from start to finish, accompanied perfectly by Jay and the Americans’ Come a Little Bit Closer, if I may add. The second you heard that music, you knew this was going to be a scene to remember.
Let’s speed ahead to the last half hour. I’m not forgetting that weirdly touching “I know who you are boy, because you’re me” scene, don’t worry. If his conversation with Rocket when locked up in the Ravagers’ ship hadn’t been enough, this pulled you entirely onto Yondu’s side. Everything he revealed about his past humanised him, and you felt yourself… Starting to like him? Hell, I liked him from the moment he first called Groot ‘Twig’, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it took others a little while longer to feel the love. But anyway. The last half hour. “I don’t use my head to fly that arrow, I use my h-”. Words that changed the future of the universe. If not spoken, our supposed hero Peter wouldn’t have known how to defeat his dear old dad. There’s a reason Groot welcomed him to the frickin’ Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s because he single-handedly saved the galaxy.
Okay, I’m holding in my tears best I can. We knew what coming. From that heartbreaking “I ain’t done nothing right my whole life, rat. You need to give me this”, we knew what was coming. Not that it made it any easier. As Peter said at Yondu’s funeral, he never realised that his dad had been next to him the entire time. And the moment he did realise, he was gone.
Let’s skip over the mental image of me, still blubbing as Cat Stevens’s Father and Son played out over Yondu’s spectacular Ravager funeral, and just get to the point of this post. Yondu Udonta died a hero. Yondu Udonta was a hero. If he’d delivered Quill to Ego as promised way back when, we wouldn’t have the Guardians we have today. He didn’t want to send this innocent little boy to a psychopathic celestial, and so he kept him. He may not have done everything right, but he raised him and turned him into the Star-Lord we see today. He may not have showed it, but he loved that boy, through and through, until the very end.
That got way too emotional, I’m sorry. Basically, if you take one thing from this post, make sure it’s this: Yondu is a kick-ass hero and I won’t have a bad word said about him. He raised Star-Lord, defied Ego and the Sovereign, killed a whole load of bad Ravagers and turned Rocket soft for all of a second. That makes him a hero to me. So keep your Tony Stark and your Steve Rogers and your Thor (although don’t, because I love them too), and give me a hero like Yondu any day. He had more flaws than I care to count, but he knew that. He accepted that. He made the ultimate sacrifice, he gave his life so his son could continue his. Yet the Avengers, these oh-so-mighty heroes, fight between themselves over such menial things, yet they’re still the ones we’re told to idolise. Maybe if they had a flying arrow and an awesome mix tape, I might consider it.
But until then, long may Yondu remain the true leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and a true Marvel hero. He’s Mary Poppins, y’all.