Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is one of the weirdest movies that I have ever seen and I loved every minute of it. It’s a nonsensical, unbelievable, CGI mishmash of a film that shouldn’t work, but it does. It is not only one of the funniest films that I’ve seen in a long time, but also one that has a heartfelt message to that will probably surprise everyone who goes to see it.
Unlike DC Comic movies that are dark, dreary and over-serious, Marvel Studios movies have always had a good sense to keep things light. In way, the first Guardians set itself apart from other Marvel movies by focusing more on the comedy of the story and less on a plausible storyline. For the sequel, director James Gunn kicked it up a notch.
If you remember, the first movie opened with Peter Quill witnessing his mother dying of cancer as a young boy before being abducted by aliens. He never knew his father. Now a grown man who calls himself Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) he leads a ragtag group of heroes known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. This group includes:
- The green and feisty Gamora (Zoe Saldana)
- Drax (Dave Bautista) a hulk of a man who tends to think in the opposite of everyone else.
- The walking tree creature (this time in baby form), Groot (Vin Diesel).
- Rocket (Bradley Cooper) who denies that he is actually a raccoon.
Volume 2 opens with the group on an assignment by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) an arrogant high priestess who hired the group to fight off some terrible space creatures threatening to destroy the batteries that help run their planet … or something like that. Due to some bad-thinking on Rocket’s part, the Guardians find themselves at odds with Ayesha and her people. Along for the ride is Nebula (Karen Gillan), Gamora’s angry sister who hell-bent on getting revenge on her sister.
Meanwhile, the blue mohawked Yondu (Michael Rooker) is now facing some challenges with his troop of Ravagers since being outsmarted by Star-Lord and friends in the first movie and finds himself not only shamed by leader Stakar (a surprise appearance by Sylvester Stallone) and finds himself in the middle of a mutiny.
Then, Peter Quill’s father, Ego (Kurt Russell) decides to show up and show Peter a little bit about his family history that he knew nothing about. With name like “Ego,” it’s not surprising to learn that he is God-like. What is surprising is that he says a line in the movie that mentions free-will saying something similar to “What kinds of father would I be if I gave you free will?” (I can’t remember the line exactly, but you get the point.) It’s a question many people wrestle with wondering why our God gives up free will knowing that we will abuse it. Ego’s helper is Mantis (Pom Klementieff) who was raised alone on Ego’s planet to serve Ego using her psychic abilities to help him sleep. She is basically a slave, but doesn’t know it. She and Drax hit it off despite his thinking that she looks disgusting to him. No fully understanding the meaning of the word, Mantis is delighted that she is disgusting.
There are those who are concerned with the Baby Groot character thinking that he might be too “cute” for the movie. Groot is indeed cute, but his character is also very funny, and during the end credits, we learn that we will see an even different side of Groot for the second sequel that will be sure to be made.
Like the first film, music plays a big part of this movie and serves almost as another character. Music featured in the film spans everything from “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass to “Southern Nights” by Glen Campbell to “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 goes heavy into exploring family relations. Peter doesn’t know what to think of the biological father who abandoned him many years earlier or the “stepfather” of Yondu who kidnapped him years earlier, Gamora and her sister literally hate each other, Drax morns the loss of his wife, Rocket still stings of not having a family and Baby Groot, literally being cut down to size in the last film, is reliant on everyone else. This is one imperfect family, much like many of our own. The movie comes to the conclusion that we are better with our imperfect families than without with some surprising touching scenes in the middle of the chaos.
The one thing that I am disappointed with this movie is heavy use of foul language and crude humor featured in it. This is a departure from Disney, the parent company of Marvel Studios and really isn’t necessary to the story at all. Much like the overblown gay “moment” in the new Beauty and the Beast movie, you have to wonder why Mavel/Disney thought this was a good idea. Despite the PG-13 rating (which serves its purpose) many families will bring their young children to see Baby Groot and Rocket only to be surprised by some of the dialogue and some truly creepy images that will scare the pants off little ones. With that said, this is an excellent film for parents to share with their older children.
As with any Marvel film, be sure to stay seated during the end credits for more surprise clips and hints on what’s to come for the next Guardians adventure.
(Main Image: Marvel Studios)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.