MCU Photo-Recap Countdown; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Well if it isn’t the Guardians of the Galaxy, back for another funny, action-packed comedy adventure, shockingly rooted in deep, painful and beautiful emotion. On a scale of 1 to MY HEART EXPLODED, how awesome was it to see the gang again? The sequel was highly anticipated after the success of the original, which, let’s be honest, was a bit of a gamble in itself.

Sequels are hard, especially when the original was so beloved. But, Vol 2 knocked it out of the park, bringing us everything we have come to expect from this rag-tag group of lovable dickheads.

AND it solved the mystery of Quill’s parentage!

The movie began with a peek into the whirlwind romance of Peter’s parents, with her being awesome and him being CGI. He showed her a glowing flower-type thing in the forest (I’m sure it’s nothing), and then they made out a bunch.

In the present, the team we all know and love were hired to guard some super powerful and expensive batteries for a race called the Sovereign.

This opening sequence was just 😍… and focusing on Baby Groot instead of the fight was… ugh, *chef’s kiss*. The quips! The awesome fighting! The whole team trying to protect Groot as he danced to Mr. Blue Sky by ELO, Drax thinking he could cut through the skin from the inside and JUMPING INTO THE MONSTER’S MOUTH, Gamora cutting the beast open… *happy sigh* I just loved it, you guys. I really loved it.

Meet the Sovereign, a very proud race of people who can’t take a joke, and who bioengineer their population. Turns out they made a deal with our team to protect their batteries in exchange for a certain prisoner.

Nebula! It’s Nebula, you guys! If you recall, the last we saw of her, she was severing her own robot-hand in order to escape the battle of Xandar. After Quill went to flirt-town with the Sovereign Manager, and Rocket outright insulted them, the team took Gamora’s adopted sister and vamoosed on their ship.

Ah, the obligatory shirtless scene. ANYWAY – Drax was all, “You and Gamora? Ain’t gonna happen.” And Quill was like, “hahahahahahhahha have you READ the Marvel mandate???” and Drax was like, “no, does it say anything about me?” and Quill was like, “yeah, you’re a sidekick. There are sidekick rules you should be following.” And Drax was like, “SIDEKICK?!?!?!” and punched him.

Then the Sovereign fleet attacked because Rocket had stolen some of their batteries, and a bickering battle ensued that resulted in a crash landing on a rando planet, with an assist from a rando dude atop a flying egg-type thing.

Elsewhere, Yondu was busy getting a backstory.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the legendary Sylvester Stallone, playing the Legendary Sylvester Stallone! What a treat. It’s nearly impossible to understand anything that man says on the best of days, so putting words like “you’ll never hear the Horns of Freedom when you die Yondu, and the colors of Ogord will never flash over your grave,” it’s downright befuddling – and yet still so delightful!

We also got some stirrings from the Ravagers, with the age old discourse; “is our crime boss too soft?” Then the Sovereign showed up to ask Yondu and his crew to hunt down and kill the Guardians as punishment for being JUST SO RUDE.

Meet Ego, Quill’s bio-dad. Apparently he was supposed to have joint custody, but Yondu didn’t drop him off for the weekend, and he’s been looking for Quill ever since. He invited them to chill at his place for a bit, and Gamora was ABOUT IT. She wanted Quill to get to know his father, so he could possibly get rid of the gaping, oozing wound in his heart. So off they went to Peter’s Dad’s house, while Rocket, Groot and Nebula stayed behind to fix the ship.

Rocket, being the emotionally complicated bioengineered adorable little guy he is, was a total a-hole to his pals, and it was sad.

Mantis, Ego’s… pet-friend? is an empath, and able to sense people’s feelings, as well as push feelings onto them. Ego keeps her around to help him sleep, because I guess he’s never heard of memory foam. She touched Quill and spilled the tea on his huge crush on Gamora (join the club, Bro!)

Meanwhile, back on the rando planet:

In a fit of awesomery, Rocket gave the Ravagers quite the challenge when they came to kill the Guardians for the Sovereign. Ultimately, however, Yondu’s arrow got the better of him and he was forced to yield. BUT THEN, Yondu didn’t want to kill them, and the crew was all, “you don’t want to murder??? That is just RUDE!” and they all got to bickering. Then Nebula shot the magic arrow-fin off Yondu’s head, and that was that.

Turns out Ego is a Celestial (god with a “small g”), who can form matter and create a bunch of cool shit. After a spell as a brain-planet, he decided to build himself a human body and go lookin’ for some trouble.

Ego informed Peter that he couldn’t go back to Earth because he loved Peter’s mom so much, and couldn’t stick around to watch her die. It was touching (OR WAS IT???). Then they played catch with a ball of pure energy that Peter conjured from Ego’s planet-brain. Just some typical father-son stuff.

Meanwhile, Rocket and Yondu were being mocked by the ever witty TazerFace, because he had become the de facto leader now that Yondu was revealed as “soft”.

They were about to get murdered when Nebula stepped in with a bit of logistical reasoning, explaining to the Ravagers that they won’t get paid unless they keep them alive. Then she peaced out with a Ravager ship in order to murder her sister a bit.

After a hauntingly beautiful moment between Mantis and Drax where she touched him and immediately started to cry, showing us how much pain Drax feels when he thinks about his family (MY HEART HURTS), we were given the first inkling of suspicion when Mantis was all, “there’s something I need to tell you”, but then didn’t because of movie tropes.

Yondu and Rocket scream-bonded over being raw, open-wounds, and how they always chase away their loved ones, once again demonstrating the shocking emotional beats these movies are able to play while being sandwiched between moments of pure delight.

See??? Just… hahaha, awesome. They asked Groot to retrieve Yondu’s fin for him so he could murder everyone to death, but poor Baby Groot’s brain just couldn’t handle the specifics of the task, so Kraglin brought it to them instead, because the poor guy “didn’t mean to do a mutiny.” Then Yondu took out an ENTIRE SHIP FULL OF GUYS with his arrow, while Rocket, Groot and Kraglin helped a little. I’m talking SO VERY LITTLE. It felt like Yondu let them kill some dudes just to make them feel good about themselves.

Then off they popped to Ego’s planet, just a short 700 jumps away.

No pre-Endgame main-character injury or health threat (or death) is permanent in the MCU, so obviously these 700 jumps (that should not exceed 50) did nothing to our heroes except put them through a Snapchat filter.

Peter and Gamora had a nice, brief moment of dancing before it turned into an argument about Ego’s true intentions. He was all, “I finally found my family!” and she was all, “I thought you already had,” and it was UPSETTING.

Gamora was not having a great day all round. Nebula popped in from the heavens for a quick family reunion and it went shockingly well, considering her intentions were murderous. Both were trying to kill the other, but they weren’t REALLY, you know? Then when Nebula was about to be burned alive, Gamora pulled her out and they had a nice chat about how both of their childhoods were absolutely terrible, and that they actually love and respect each other very much, and then they made up a secret handshake and hugged and cried and promised to never fight again (at least that’s how I remember it).

Meanwhile, Ego was all, “relationships are stupid. People are stupid. Everyone but me is just so stupid,” and Quill was like, “but what about-” and Ego was like, “EVERYONE!” It was some classic emotional manipulation, trying to cut him off from his support system so that the only person he had to rely on is Ego.

Ego had traversed the galaxy leaving blue-goop plants on planets, and leaving babies in wombs, hoping to make an offspring who could help him… goop… the universe? I’ll be honest, I’m real hazy on Ego’s evil plan. He wants to take over the universe so that every planet is him, and I guess his favourite colour is blue? I don’t know. But it sounded bad!

At the same time Ego was revealing his eeeeeeevil plans; the sisters were finding the remnants of all his other children, Mantis was telling Drax that Ego was the worst, and Rocket, Yondu and Groot were arriving with the same news. Basically everyone was on the same page but Peter.

Ego admitted that he put a tumor in Peter’s mom because she was a distraction from his evil goals, and Peter got real peeved about it. He said he was going to run away from home, but Ego stabbed him with energy, crushed his walkman (!!!!!) and started the goop expansion using Peter’s power juice.

Yondu crashed his ship into Ego, stopping the Quill-battery (Quittery?), and the goop invasion. And so the team was back together! Unfortunately they couldn’t just vamoose, because the galaxy was in danger (again), and it’s against the hero handbook to just peace out. So down into the dad-planet they went!

Before being blown up, TazerFace had called the Sovereign to let them know where our heroes were headed, so they showed up to be annoying because their feelings were still butt-hurt about that one time Rocket stole a battery. So while the team battled their fleet, Mantis got Ego to snoozin’, and Rocket tried to explain to Baby Groot how to place a bomb onto Ego’s planet-brain.

After Nebula used herself to power the ship (girl is fierce as hell), it blew up and Quill, Nebula and Yondu floated down to relative safety. Then Ego woke up and it was fightin’ time FOR REAL. Things weren’t going awesome for our team, evidenced by the slow-motion moment where Quill looked around and saw his chosen family all separately struggling to stay alive. And might I just say that Groot being squeezed by rock was a VERY RUDE thing to do to my heart.

You know that trope where the main character has a fast lil’ montage of all the people they love and it gives them the fortitude to fight? Yeah that happened, and I am NOT mad about it.

Quill and Ego had a father-son God-fight (featuring pacman-Quill, which tickled me) as the others escaped to the ship. Then the bomb went off, destroying the planet-brain, and Ego faded to dust (before it was cool). The blue goop stopped taking over the galaxy, and Peter was reduced to a lowly human without any energy-ball making powers.

Rocket and Yondu had a very upsetting/touching/beautiful moment when Yondu insisted he be given the chance to do something good – to sacrifice himself to save Quill. And that is just what he did.

What right does this movie have to make me THIS emotionally affected??? Over a character I didn’t even realize I loved?? How very dare you (never stop). Ugh. Anyway, because Yondu died heroically and unselfishly, the Ravagers decided to forgive him his past sins and give him the weirdly specific Ravager funeral afterall.

Then Nebula peaced out to go kill Thanos, and Gamora hugged her, and MY HEART EXPLODED ALL OVER MY NEW APARTMENT. Do you think that’s going to affect my deposit?

The team watched the funeral fireworks and loved at each other, and it was beautiful. Then it was time for roughly four hours of after-credit scenes! There were just so many, you guys. First we got some Kraglin arrow practice, then a tease for a Ravager spin-off (is that still happening?), then a tease for Adam with the Sovereign Wacko Queen, then Teenage Groot, which was highly pleasurable, then a Stan Lee cameo as an astronaut telling stories to Watchers, implying all of his characters have been the same guy.

It was a lot, but as always, I ain’t mad.

And that’s that! Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 was a delightful romp, with a hell of an emotional wallop, which set up some pretty important points for future movies.

What did you guys think? Were your expectations for this sequel high? Were they met? Was it connected to the rest of the MCU enough for you? Did it give you enough to noodle on between movies?

HOW WERE YOUR HEARTS???

SOME STUFF

  • What happened to the Ego-goop? Is it still there? Did every planet just decide it was an art installation and call it a day?
  • That Hasselhoff cameo. *tips hat*
  • Were there any lady Ravagers on Yandu’s squad?
  • The tape gag was very funny. Rocket needing tape, then hearing Quill going around asking everyone for tape while fighting for their lives… I mean, that kind of stuff is very Guardians of the Galaxy, and it is pure delight.
  • “I’m Mary Poppins, ya’ll!”
  • Kraglin (Sean Gunn)’s role was bigger this go around, and I appreciate it. He’s a gem. The fact that he was bequeathed with Yondu’s arrow made my heart happy. More Kraglin please.
  • Bechdale Test: YEP! Gamora and Nebula for the win! (Also the gold statue lady)
  • I didn’t give Mantis enough attention in this recap. I liked Mantis very much. “I don’t like you like that. I don’t even like the type of thing you are.”
  • Does anyone out there actually want the Ravager spin-off?

OKAY BYEEEEEEEE STAY SAFE OUT THERE, PALS!

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