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Josef Kills the MCU – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2

 

Oh god you guys this is it. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 is one of my favourite movies of all time. It is also in my opinion the best MCU film. I mean Infinity War could be better, but RIGHT now it’s the best. The first movie to feature these characters was such an unexpected success that expectations for the second could only be higher. People were expecting to laugh, cry and probably laugh some more. Guardians 2 succeeds at delivering everything we expected from the first and adds so much more. Yes I know this actually won’t be the best according to some people. But I’m gonna back myself up here, because I will defend this til I die.

Alright first things first, although this movie is in phase three and came out last year, it’s actually 6 months after the first. One thing I’ve noticed is how out of order things start to get in this phase so I’ll try to keep things consistent. But that means that this little gang hasn’t been together for that long. The first movie taught them to find a family, but as we learned they don’t always get a long. The message behind Vol.2 is to trust and love that very family. A lot of people in the world are part of a family, that doesn’t exactly mean they get along with them. In fact the very theme of the movie beyond subtext is about family. Peter finds out that his father is alive and well and that he is actually a God of sorts.

Now just before we find this out, Peter and Rocket get into a heated argument that causes them to crash on a random planet. Things aren’t doing great between the two of them. Rocket has become quite aggressive towards everyone, as if he doesn’t really care about these people that much. This actually forces a little bit of a split right at the start for our bunch of misfits. Peter, Gamora and Drax leave with Ego, Peter’s dad. Rocket and Groot end up staying to repair the ship while watching over Nebula, Gamora’s evil sister. In fact the relationship between Gamora and Nebula is another huge family component of the film we’ll get to in a bit.

During the entire first act or so there isn’t really a main villain. There is the sovereign, but they are hardly the Marvel threat you expect in a Marvel movie. Instead during this time we really begin to peel back the tape and understand what each of our characters are concerned about. Peter has become obsessed and almost blind in the presence of his father. He is so happy to feel like he actually has a family, despite being with one for months. Gamora see’s this, not trusting his father and getting frustrated with him. Peter is clearly in love with Gamora, yet she still feels like it could never work. At the same time she’s not sure how she feels about her sister. This is someone she cares about inside, yet their whole relationship was built on fighting each other at the hands of Thanos.

Their entire relationship in this film becomes so much more than two sisters fighting for their fathers attention. In a chaotic fight between the two, Nebula reveals that “she just wanted a sister.” This sticks out to me and the purpose of Vol.2. Through the plot and the character of Ego, we begin to think this is a movie about relationships with Father’s. Where instead it is learning to have a relationship with each other. Gamora realises she loves her sister, that she should have never gone that far with the fights to impress her father. At the same time Peter learns about how much he loves the family he has made and by the end understands that the people closest to him will always be his family.

Rocket and Groot are now switched over from their previous roles in the first movie. Groot is now known as Baby Groot, and is actually a son of Groot, not the original. It was confirmed by James Gunn so please do not yell at me. Either way Rocket is a terrible role model for a father, but he tries his best for this little twig. Even though Rocket is so aggressive and arrogant, it’s the moments where he cares for Groot that show his soft side. We also get a deep relationship between him and Yondu.

Yondu was a minor character in the first film, intended to be a side villain of sorts. From what we know about him, he kidnapped Peter as a child and trained him to steal and kill. In a sense they had a father son relationship, but it certainty wasn’t perfect. In this movie we begin to see Yondu struggle with his own insecurities and thoughts. It’s revealed that Yondu was hired to take Peter back to Ego, his real Father. Who at this point in the movie reveals to be a terrible person that wants to consume everything. But Yondu in this movie has it pointed out to him how soft he is on Peter all the time. This eventually costs him his leadership and crew.

As Rocket and Yondu spend more time together taking over the Ravager ship they begin to bond. Yondu makes the point that they are exactly the same. In a very emotional dialogue, he says that they are both hard on the outside, yet the most scared of anyone. That “ just a little bit of love reminds you of how big and empty that hole inside you actually is.” But I think the most important similarity between them is that the people who made them don’t care about them. This resonates with Rocket, someone who was stripped apart and put back together in a lab. He has always felt unloved. But it’s at this point where for once he feels like he actually has a friend. 

Drax still has some deep emotional conflict. In the first one, he was hell bent on revenge, which he finally got by seeing Ronan die. Then in Vol. 2 he has become the most humorous. Cracking out jokes constantly and making fun of everything. For a long time we really think that he has gotten over everything that happened. Then he meets Mantis, a girl who can share and feel emotions to whoever she touches. They have a talk with each other about their lives and she touches him. While his face remains calm and focused, she begins to flood with tears. This gigantic man of laughter is broken inside to the point where he hides it every day. For him, this movie is about being able to share that pain with the people who care about him.

Despite all these character moments going on throughout the run-time, my favourite part is the entire third act. This begins with Ego trying to mind control Peter so that he can help him take over the universe. For a while I thought they were going to do a cliche plot line where “family” would bring him back to normal. But Ego reveals that he gave his mum cancer, that he was the reason she died. The way he says it as well makes it sound like it was nothing to him, a simple chore.

Peter just immediately breaks out of his spell in a way that gave me chills just to type about. The way the camera moves out and his eye’s slowly turn back to normal is nothing short of amazing. I just always appreciate this scene so much for how realistic it is. I mean of course ignoring the God bit again. Peter Quill of all people isn’t going to resist killing the guy that just told him he killed his mum.  He just breaks out and shoots him like 20 times. Being a God it doesn’t kill him of course, but it begins to kick off our main villain act.

Finally in this section of the film everyone has come back together again and they begin to fight as a family, rather than a team. Together they are all able to defeat Ego the Living Planet and escape. However not without some casualties. Yondu takes peter out of the atmosphere and gives him his oxygen suit. This leaves Yondu to die in Peters arms as there’s nothing he can do. But before he dies he apologises for the way he fathered him, but that he always loved him. Hitting him with “He may have been your father boy, but he wasn’t your Daddy.”

Straight after this is a really emotional funeral scene on the ship for Yondu. All of the Ravagers he used to work with come in attendance with fireworks. During this scene Gamora says goodbye to her sister as she goes to find Thanos. Groot cuddles with Drax, the character that he had been fighting with for most of the movie. Then Rocket looks out to the funeral, half smiling. Rocket looking out is the very last shot of the movie. James Gunn describes this moment as him “looking out and questioning if there’s a God out there.” This is a really sweet note to end the movie on and makes me wanna cry all the time.

But I haven’t even mentioned the god damn music of this movie. While the first movie had a very nostalgic and familiar soundtrack, it didn’t always incorporate with the events on screen. Vol.2 however uses less known songs, but to illustrate a purpose in the plot. The song Brandy is directly quoted by Ego to describe Peter’s purpose in this world. Then the song Father and Son also plays at the very last scene with a very emotional and sad tone to the funeral. However my favourite use of a song in this actually goes to Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain.’

The Chain was made by a group of people who were arguing and hating each other during recording. It is also played at two very key moments during the movie. You see the lyrics of the song are talking about keeping together, to strengthen that Chain and not split up. Which is why it is first played during the first act where the Guardians split up for the first time. This is the first question to the team that they could well split up and argue forever.

However to reassure us at the end, the song plays again as Peter gains control over his God powers and goes to fight his Dad. In this moment he knows who his real family are. The lyrics ensure us that they are not going to break the chain. In general the rest of the soundtrack in an absolute blast with tracks like ‘Come a Little Bit Closer’ and ‘Mr Blue Sky.’

For me this movie is just fantastic. Every character gets the screen time they need to develop their characters and allow them to progress. I am so excited to see them again in Infinity War, especially Nebula and Gamora. This is really their moment to shine as they both work to take down the abusive father that made them fight for years. But yes, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the perfect story of family. Delivering the most emotional experience in the MCU for me personally. I know that it won’t be everyone’s favourite and that the humour will rub off a lot of people. But for me, it is everything I needed it to be and more.

Next time we will be going onto my favourite superhero as he finally gets his own MCU movie. Let’s go back to high school for Spider-Man: Homecoming!

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