Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

James Gunn is back once again to prove to us he can mix space pirates, 80’s music, and a suspiciously beautiful cast to create yet another fun and heartwarming film featuring our favorite professional bandits. While its pacing was a bit slow, the ending of the movie is totally worth it. The story feels more like a continuance than a sequel, and the “Vol. 2” in the title further seals that in.

Vol. 2 begins with the same musical shenanigans as the first one, this time with Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) dancing it out instead of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). This one, without a doubt, was more adorable (sorry Chris, it’s true). The Guardians begin the movie by working a job for Ayesha, (played by a fantastic Elizabeth Debicki), who is the leader of the Sovereign, the conceited gold-skinned, gold-haired, gold-everything, race. Things begin to go awry when Rocket (voiced once again by Bradley Cooper) steals some of the very items they were paid to protect. Because of this, and the Sovereign’s rule to punish anyone who slights them under the penalty of death, Ayesha sends out a kill-order for the Guardians.

Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel

Most of the movie is the Guardians trying to stay one step ahead of Ayesha and the team of Ravagers hired to kill them, but the most heartfelt parts of the movie deal with family, and Quill finally meeting his biological father. Though it’s established in the very first scene that the Man from the Stars that Quill’s mother Meredith always talked about was Kurt Russell, we get to meet him again as an older man after he saves the Guardians from Ayesha’s ships.

The last movie dealt a lot with Quill’s feelings about not having a father, his mother passing away at a young age, and him subsequently finding a family with the Guardians. This one, however, deals with whether Quill meeting his father, Ego (Kurt Russell), will fill the family-sized hole in his life, or if the Guardians are enough to fill it. Family seems to be a main theme in the movie, with the whole crew parenting Groot, Yondu and Rocket’s reasons for pushing those they love away, and Gamora’s (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula’s (Karen Gillan) relationship and how their childhood abuse affected it.

Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel

Baby Groot is just adorable. The whole team parents him, and cuddles him, and it’s just too adorable. There’s a fantastic scene just minutes in where he starts to eat a bug and Rocket stops fighting a monster just to make him spit it out. Unfortunately, there is a scene with Groot being bullied that made my soul hurt. Seriously, actual pain. It makes me angry to think about. The pain is relieved somewhat when Groot exacts his revenge and throws his abusers from a balcony. He even stims by twirling his twigs on his body, which I loved and made him seem even more baby-like by using himself for comfort. The end credits have a scene with Teen Groot mocking Quill for telling him to clean up, swoopy emo-era-age-13-hair and all. Overall, I am very happy with Groot. Who can be disappointed? Vin Diesel seems to do best when voicing adorable soft spoken giants that enjoy making you cry (for my Iron Giant fans out there).

Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel

Although Quill’s family is one of the main points of the story, the best parts of the movie deal with choosing your family, instead of being forced to love the family you were born into. All the Guardians have their own past, and issues with family. Gamora and Nebula were abused their whole lives and spent every day wondering if it would be their last, Drax lost his entire family to Thanos, Rocket was tortured and abused by his creators, Groot is the last of his race, Quill’s mother died in front of him, and Yondu’s parents sold him into slavery as a child. Each one of the Guardians has experienced either a loss or betrayal of family. They could choose their own family, and were not forced to feel guilty about it either, which was a wonderful part of the story. Most people grow up thinking that you must give your all for family, and are made to feel guilty when they don’t, so it was refreshing to watch a movie that told people it was okay if your family wasn’t blood related.

One of the best things about Nebula and Gamora’s relationship throughout the movie is that it highlights relationships formed under abuse. While Nebula hated Gamora for beating her and letting all those bad things happen to her, Gamora was just trying to stay alive. Both suffered abuse at the hands of their father, but they handled it differently, and thought it was the only way to handle it. Then, at the end of the movie, both wanted to make sure that it never happened to any other little girls ever again. Once again, though, they both had different ways that they wanted to go about it. They spend the movie unlearning the dynamics of abusive relationships, and work on building healthy, new ones.

We learn a bit more about Drax in this movie, which was awesome. He gets jokes now, which provided for most of the comic relief of the movie, but Dave Bautista’s laugh really made Drax’s character. Every time he laughed, I had to laugh. I just couldn’t help it. We also realize that Drax is still nowhere near over the tragic loss of his family. He still feels that pain every day, which we see when Mantis uses her empath powers to see how she feels and can’t help but wail just from touching him.

Though Mantis’ character is not as cool as she is in the comics, she makes up for it in humor. As with Drax, we don’t realize how she really feels because she tries to be humorous. She does help keep Ego asleep as the Guardians work together to stop him by using her empath powers. Though she grew up only knowing Ego, she realizes when she meets the Guardians that what Ego is doing is wrong, and hurtful, and she does her best to help save the universe she knows nothing of.

Yondu and Rocket became an unlikely pair in Vol. 2. We learn a lot about Yondu and get to experience a depth of his character we didn’t get to see in the first movie. We learn his own parents sold him into slavery, where he spent 20 years of his life, and found a new family in the Ravagers before they threw him out. We find out he lost his Ravager status for dealing children, which he immediately stopped when he found out that Ego was killing his children, which is why he kept Quill alive. He chooses Quill to become his “son” in a way, claiming that every time he told Quill he’s lucky his team didn’t eat him was him joking. He even buys a Zune for Peter, just in case he ever came back. Yondu helps Rocket realize that the only reason he acts rude and yells at his friends is as a defense mechanism for all the years of torture he endured. Yondu helps Rocket figure out that if he doesn’t start treating his friends like friends, he will lose them.

Yondu has an amazing redemption arc in the movie, though like the rest of the movie, it takes a while to come around. As soon as he hears that Peter is meeting Ego, he knows he must intervene, because he is the only one who knows what Ego really wanted from Peter. He and Rocket make more jumps that are healthy for mammals, just to save the people they love. Yondu even tries to help Peter use his powers, even though they’re his father’s powers, by telling him he uses his heart to steer his arrow, and Peter should do the same. Yondu eventually gives his life for Peter, parting by saying, “He may have been your father, son, but he wasn’t your daddy.” Absolutely heart wrenching, and Pratt’s reaction was perfect. *SPOILER ALERT* We see Quill lose his mother in Vol. 1, but in Vol. 2, he finds his real father, kills him, and loses surrogate father all in the space of about 10 minutes.

After Yondu’s death, Quill and the Guardians have their own funeral for him, and cremate him in the ship’s engine. However, the team had told the Ravagers what Yondu did for the universe, giving him a full pardon for his crimes, and being given a fantastic Ravager funeral. The ending gives you the feeling that even though the crew has gone through some terrible tragedies, they will be okay. It may take some time, but they will be okay someday.
Though there were some pacing issues with the story because of all the characters, the story was very good and true to the Guardians’ personalities. As with the last one, the scenery is psychedelic and 70’s-esque, the soundtrack does not disappoint, and the dialogue is hilarious and heartwarming at the same time. Gunn has done a wonderful job of creating a sequel that does not feel like a sequel, but like an old friend that we get to catch up with after time apart. It is a great watch and an exciting new chapter in the Marvel Universe, and we cannot wait to see what’s coming up next.

Written by Staff Writer Dusty Langdon

Dusty is a community college student who lives in Peoria, Il. She is a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar (NCAS), and has always loved space, math, and learning new languages. When not writing for our blog, Dusty spends her time writing stories, reading, watching television, and hanging out with friends.

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1 Comment
  • Oratus
    July 13, 2021 at 12:41 am

    Groot was the worst character in the movie. A pandering, insufferable click bait masquerading as a character. I’m actually surprised at the restraint Disney has displayed by not figuring some contrived way to keep him a toddler forever.

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