January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016
SPOILER FREE Review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
WOW, this was such a good movie!
Personally, I preferred it to Volume 1, but I have heard several people say the opposite. However, I have never heard anyone say they did not like it. I was not a huge fan of Volume 1 at first because I was told how awesome it was before I saw it so my expectations were way too high. There was no way it could have lived up to it. I had similar issues with subsequent MCU movies, so I stopped reading reviews and stuff so I could go in as fresh and unbiased as possible. That has helped. Also, I was dubious about the movie to begin with…a talking Raccoon and a moving tree? Really? So it took several viewings of the first movie to get into it.
Volume 2, however I loved. And that is with CONSTANTLY hearing how great it was. It was a much more emotional movie. I think that is one reason why I liked it…there was so much character development. Much of this is done with maybe too many expositional monologues, but I felt it all paid off. Character development is one of my favorite things in story (movies, books, TV). Some stories are Plot Driven, some merely Visually Driven (think “popcorn movies” that are just fun to watch but have little substance), and some are Character Driven. I like these the best because the plot seems to have higher stakes to me when I care about the characters and nice visuals are just icing on the cake. So, being able to get so emotionally invested in the characters in Volume 2 was one of the reasons I really liked this movie.
The story may not have been as strong as the first one. I have heard others say this. I didn’t notice myself as I was just enjoying the ride. I am sure to find the plot holes when I start evaluating it. Most movies have them. I was more bothered by the plot holes in say, Iron Man 3, the first time I saw it than in this one. If you are one who likes to pick apart movies for all the plot holes, this may bother you more. But I was more involved in the character development. I tend to get more analytical with time and with more viewings.
The primary theme was “What is Family?” So if you have family issues, you may be touched in a way that others are not. A secondary theme involves emotional isolation…whether it is better to immerse yourself in your own heart due to lack of trust or your own ambition or whether it is better to open yourself up to loving others and unknown potential. I have issues with both of these issues, so this movie hit ALL my buttons!
In true MCU-style there was a lot of humor. There were some great one-liners and some great visual gags. I found Drax most surprisingly hilarious.
Baby Groot is the most wonderful thing ever created, I think. There were moments I cried from pure joy just watching him…but I am often an emotional wreck!
Visually this movie was STUNNING! The COLORS!! I read that James Gunn used the colors he did for Volume 1 because movies have become so visually dark that audiences are “color starved”. However, I found most of Volume 1 to be yellows and greens which (to me) just seem dingy. Volume 2 is truly, truly colorful…every color of the rainbow against brightly lit backgrounds; pitch black rooms with glowing lasers like neon; bright colors against stark white snow. GORGEOUS!!
It was also a very, very emotional ride. I had heard that before I went in, but I truly underestimated just how emotional I would get. There were emotional moments throughout. If you are a crier, be forewarned and bring a box of tissue with you. Even if you are a pretty stoic person, you may get a little misty, but most people I have spoken to cried at least some. Again, I am often an emotional wreck, so it DESTROYED me. LOL
Overall, I STRONGLY recommend this movie. I saw it in 2D, but I generally prefer that to 3D. I have spoken to people who saw it in 3D and said it was good. Having seen it in 2D, there are not many scenes that I think 3D would add much…just a few fight/battle scenes. IMAX would probably be fantastic if you can get to one and can afford to splurge.
I am writing a spoilery review as well, so be sure to tell me what you think after you see it!!
January 5, 2016
***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***
TC’s Spoilery Review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Beyond Here Be Spoilers!!!!!
If you read my Spoiler-Free review, you already know how much I loved this movie! I was amazed at the beautiful visuals and was captivated by the heartfelt treatment of the characters. There were a couple of weak spots that I could see, but there was only one that really bothered me. I laughed out loud many times and I cried. I cried A LOT. Seriously, I cried like 10 times. There were also a ton of Easter Eggs/Nods to the Comics/Connections to the MCU, but I will address those in another post so as not to clog this one with things not everyone is interested in. The following are my thoughts. I already know some people disagree with me on some of this, so please add your own thoughts in the Replies!
The events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2(except for the opening flashback to 1980) occur in 2014...about 3 months after Volume 1. This would put it around November here on Earth. At that time, SHIELD was still operating mostly in the shadows (about 7 episodes into the season). Coulson and the team were trying to find the meaning behind the Kree writing he was doing as a result of TAHITI. They were just encountering Sebastian Derik in "The Writing on the Wall" in episode 207. This could explain why we never heard about the weird blob swallowing up Missouri. The US Government probably covered it up. While Coulson surely had some friendly contacts within the government, he was way too distracted by his hypergraphia and what it meant...not to mention that SHIELD was running on a skeleton crew at the time.
My general impression…love! This is one of my top MCU movies. I haven’t decided on a ranking, but out of the 14 movies released so far, this would most definitely be in the top 5 for me. Normally, if I am too psyched for an MCU movie, if I hear too many good things in advance, I always end up feeling let down. It happened with Volume 1, it happened with Ultron, it happened with Ant Man. I finally learned to stop listening to other people’s reviews altogether and go in with as few preconceived notions as possible. This was not as possible for Volume 2. While I heard only one spoiler (the one about Stan Lee’s identity), I was hearing from EVERYONE how good this movie was. I went in with pretty high expectations and yet I was not disappointed at all. It was a fun ride. There was lots of heart, lots of humor, lots of great visuals, not nearly enough Baby Groot, but there was an ADORABLE Baby Groot who is just the new love of my life (I need a plush life-sized Baby Groot Doll to cuddle immediately if anyone knows where I can get one!!).
I identified 2 main themes of the movie: Family and Risking Love.
- Needless to say, just about everyone in this movie had some sort of family issues except Groot and Drax (unless you count dead family as a “family issue”). Going into the movie, I had heard that “Family” would be addressed, but honestly, I thought it would only focus on Quill reconciling with his father. The real point is whether family is something that is dictated by blood or is family a choice.
- Gamora and Nebula are siblings through adoption (or kidnapping!). They were both trying to survive and had to do horrible things to do so. I was reminded so much of Romanoff, Dottie and the girls in the Red Room! In this relationship it seemed to me that Gamora was actually the bad guy. True, she was only doing what she had to do to survive, so I don’t know that she can really be faulted for it—so maybe “bad guy” is too severe a term. Regardless, she showed little compassion for Nebula as they grew up together despite the horrors that Nebula endured because of it. Nebula wanted a sister (someone who would stand beside her amidst their mutual abuse), Gamora wanted to win. I find this interesting in light of Volume 1 where Gamora did call on Nebula as a sister to stand against Thanos. Nebula rejected the offer, but if this is the first call to sisterhood offered to her it would make sense Nebula did not trust it. Despite it all, these two clearly do care about each other. Each had the opportunity to kill the other and both opted not to. I believe in the end they reconcile, at least to a degree. They are family because now they have embraced the choice to be so.
- Yondu and Stakar are another broken family. Yondu reveals to Rocket that his parents sold him into slavery to the Kree where he stayed for 12 years. Stakar (Sylvester Stallone) was the one who rescued him, raised him, taught him the ways of Ravagers, taught him the Code. Yondu was young and brash and thought he knew better than his “father”. He rejected the Code and his family along with it, though I don’t know that he truly understood that until he ran into Stakar on Contraxia. I think that in raising Quill, Yondu believed he was doing for Peter what Stakar did for him. In retrospect, this could be why Yondu was so hurt by Peter’s betrayal in Volume 1. History repeats itself. Stakar and Yondu were eventually reconciled (thanks to Rocket). Unfortunately, Yondu was not alive to see it.
- Yondu and Kraglin…another father/son relationship. I guess we could throw Quill in there as well (as a brother). Kraglin seemed to look at Yondu as a father, though I don’t know that Yondu ever realized it. Yondu’s constant protection of Quill alienated the rest of the faction because it made them feel like Yondu didn’t care about them at all. As a jealous sibling may lash out against his father, Kraglin spoke out (I thought quite respectfully) about this just once. Unfortunately, that was all it took for Taserface (Taserface! HA!) to turn the faction against Yondu. In the end, Kraglin came to dad, apologized, and set it right. And now Kraglin gets Yondu’s fin. I can’t imagine a greater inheritance.
- Drax and Mantis…I can’t decide if there is something romantic going on here or if Drax sees Mantis as a surrogate daughter. On Planet Ego, Drax says Mantis reminds him of his daughter…innocent. But still the chemistry is so great between them I kind of would like to see Draxis be a thing. Regardless, when Drax was being swallowed by the ground of Planet Ego, he used his last strength to lift Mantis out of danger as a good father would his daughter.
- Quill and Ego are biologically related, but the only love there was as to disguise manipulation. Quill so badly wanted a father. He sought it and dreamed about it his whole life. His mistake was thinking that biology was required for family. Don’t get me wrong, it can be for those lucky enough to have that. But many do not. Many never know their blood relatives. Many do know them and have no connection to them. Family is a choice, but it was not truly the choice Ego wanted. Ego only wanted himself. Peter, who spent so much time dreaming about who his father could be, never realized that “sometimes the thing you search for your whole life is right next to you the whole time and you don’t even know it.”
- Yondu and Quill was this thing Peter never realized he had. Ego may have been Peter’s father, but Yondu was his daddy. When Quill was controlling his powers with his “heart”, his time growing up with Yondu was among the memories that focused his energy. Like a true father, Yondu made mistakes, but the feelings were there and Yondu did the best he knew how to do. That funeral killed me too.
- Groot and the Guardians. Oddly enough, despite this whole mess of dysfunction we watched in this movie, Baby Groot was the one most clearly surrounded by a loving family. Rocket was his dad, Gamora was his mom, Drax and Quill were his big brothers. Groot was so cute waving at Gamora in the middle of the battle! And did you see the look on his little face when Gamora left to go to Ego? Adorable and heartbreaking! Groot tried to fight with Drax the whole movie, but at the end of the adventure Groot wanted to give Drax a hug goodnight and fall asleep on his big bro’s chest. FEELS!!
- The Guardians of the Galaxy. Here we have a mishmash of outcasts from across the universe. They all fell into each other’s paths. Somewhere along the line they chose to stay together. They fight all the time, but that’s ok. They aren’t friends. They are family. And they won’t be chased away from each other because they yell or say mean things to each other (or steal batteries they don’t need). “Well, of course not.”
[and now I’m crying again]
- The second theme I identified was that of choosing to risk love or sequester yourself away in isolation to protect yourself from something new. There are two paths depicted in the movie. Gamora took one, Ego the other.
- Gamora and Peter. While dancing on the balcony (a scene reminiscent of one on Knowhere in Volume 1), Peter brings up the “unspoken thing” between he and Gamora. She, of course, denies there is such a thing. A few minutes later she accuses Peter of wanting to be on Ego’s planet because it is a fantasy whereas Earth is reality, and reality is too frightening. He counters that it is she who is afraid…that she wants to keep her heart locked away rather than risk something new in her life. Gamora wrestles with this throughout the film, but by the end she seems to be willing to open herself up to the possibilities around her.
- Ego and Meredith. Ego makes the opposite decision. Ego lives in isolation for millennia, yet craves connection with someone or something else. He eventually learns to create a body for himself so he can go out in search of life. However, once he found it, he was disappointed. Whether he felt nothing could live up to his expectations or whether he felt nothing could live up to his own “perfection”, he decided that the solution was to make his life about himself. I am not really sure if he really loved Meredith Quill or if he told all his children he loved their mothers. However, even after admitting that he killed Meredith, he still insisted that he loved her. He said that he went back to Earth to see her 3 times and knew that if he went back a fourth time he would stay with her. He could have chosen love. Instead he chose isolation, or at least isolation in the sense that he chose himself. He chose his mission over the unknown. He decided that he could have a better chance at fulfillment with himself than he could by opening himself up to another person.
One of the things I enjoyed most about this movie was the stunning visuals. The colors were AMAZING!
- The visual extravaganza began for me in the battle with the Abilisk to protect the Sovereign batteries. I could barely take my eyes off that ADORABLE baby Groot in the foreground, but when I allowed myself to look into the background the colors were breathtaking.
- In the scene on Contraxia where Ayesha hires Yondu to get the Guardians, the neon signs, gold of the Sovereign, and the Blue of Yondu were beautifully showcased against the stark white landscape.
- The planet Ego was beautiful. I especially loved the bubbles that made Drax laugh so hard. I was a little confused by the fountain of jumping fish….seemed like an odd choice. However, all in all, gorgeous. I have decided that when I get my superpowers, the planet I create for myself will look like Ego. And while I’m creating stuff, I’ll make a little baby Groot and we will dance and cuddle and have epic battles with Orloni!
- The Computer Graphics were expertly utilized to convey emotion in our CGI characters. I was really taken with the way Rocket’s ears moved to express his emotions. Anyone who has a cat can see how accurately this was done. A lot of emotion was shown in Groot’s eyes, but the more subtle things really got me… like when Rocket was fighting the Ravagers on Berhert and baby Groot’s bottom lip was quivering as he was on the verge of tears with fear for his “dad”, and when Ego is crushing about to crush baby Groot who was making his way to plant the bomb…a single tear falls down baby Groot’s cheek. HEARTBREAK!!! MY POOR BABY!!!!
[and TC is crying again…bloody hell]
I had a couple of problems with the plot.
- There were a lot of monologues of people telling their backstories. I think these were necessary, but it just happened so much that all the exposition over and over again just seemed a bit like overkill at times. As much as I like a nuanced character, someone sadly staring out a window as they bare their soul has never been a favorite device for me.
- Why was the Abilisk after the batteries? Maybe it is because he was not humanoid, but he sort of just seemed like a beastie. Granted, the batteries were incredibly powerful and valuable…but why would a many-toothed, tentacle monster want them? And how did the sovereign know it was coming? It’s a small thing, but it bothers me a little.
- If the Sovereign batteries are so valuable, why are they just sitting out in the open…not even locked up in a room, but sitting on an open platform with no walls around it? Rocket was right. They were incredibly easy to steal. Maybe it is because the Sovereign are just so arrogant that they think no one would dare cross them? Maybe the Sovereign are hoping someone will cross them? Maybe Rocket was right and they were so easy to steal it was like someone wanted them to be stolen. If Adam Warlock will be coming from the Sovereign, we may not have seen the last of them and Ayesha and these questions may be answered in the future.
- There were a couple of spots where the humor just seemed so over-the-top it was almost too preposterous…like when Rocket was fighting the Ravagers on Berhert and they Ravagers were flying up in the sky to be silhouetted by the moon. It was just a bit much.
- Taserface sends Ayesha the coordinates to Yondu’s ship. But wouldn’t that lead the Sovereign to the wreckage of the ship Yondu destroyed and not the jettisoned quadrant of the ship that was leaving the location Taserface gave? Maybe it was just an incorrect word choice, but some sort of homing beacon would have made more sense.
- Is Peter Quill still immortal?
- And that leads to my biggest issue. The way Ego explains his powers, the Light is from himself. It would seem then that Peter would have his own powers independent of Ego but he just didn’t know it yet. Ego was not able to launch his plan for the Expansion because he was not powerful enough on his own…this is why he needed Peter’s power. However, at the end of the movie, Peter loses his powers because Ego dies? This would make it seem that it was Ego’s power all along, so why did he need Peter? Peter drew his power for the core in the center of the planet, but the planet is Ego, so why did Ego need Peter at all? Maybe I just don’t understand. My only thought is that maybe the human form is not powerful enough to contain the power…that only Ego’s core is? This would explain why Ego had to always return to the planet to renew his strength, but it doesn’t explain why, if Peter is half-Celestial, why Peter has no more powers after Ego is destroyed. Maybe Peter will be able to draw on those powers in a few millennia (if he is still immortal). It just seems that either there was a huge plot hole or that something was not explained well enough.
January 5, 2016
SPOILERY Character Study of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
If you haven’t noticed yet, I love talking about MCU stuff. I get way too into it. Please don’t interpret my endless forum posts as a belief that anyone is really interested in what I have to say. It is therapeutic for me to write these. I mean, if I am going to be obsessed with something ridiculous like movies and TV shows, it is nice that there is something concrete to show for it at the end of the day!
James Gunn spent so much time fleshing these characters out and making them 3-dimensional, I wanted to mention some things in hopes I could articulate some of the nuances that may have been overlooked by some viewers who are less interested in character development than I am. I tend to look for myself in the characters I see in movies and TV (not just the Marvel-y ones). I can’t afford therapy anymore, so I get a good bit of self-awareness through watching fictional characters sort through their stuff and this helps me to understand where my own faults are and to identify ways to reach beyond them. I’m also really empathic (like Mantis) and I am really able to see what characters are feeling and I can truly feel these things myself (not allegorically, like I really can…this is how I can cry 10 times in a Marvel movie!).
I started crying in this movie right away. Groot did it. But they were tears of sheer joy! The thing I really loved about baby Groot is how baby-like he was. Little kids have a hard time controlling their emotions. They throw a fit over nothing. They scream because big brother “looked at me”. Adult Groot was pretty laid back until he was pushed. Baby Groot wore his emotions on his sleeve…or bark. The Orloni looked at him funny, so he attacked it. Drax had to take all of his stuff with him to Planet Ego so Groot wouldn’t play with it while he was gone. He saw the circle of light under his feet as he danced and he stared at it wide-eyed before carefully stepping on top. He looked out the window in awe as the Milano left the Sovereign. Everything is new to him. This is not an undeveloped adult Groot…this is a new little boy just discovering life. He is so full of wonder and awe and excitement and playfulness. He likes to pretend he is a “big boy” and fight the things his own size (like Orloni). He likes to beat up on his big brother Drax…but this is just a game because at the end of the day it is Drax he wants to fall asleep on. He sits eating candy in a chair way too big for him as he watches the universe fly by…but he’s not afraid because his big brother Peter will keep him safe. But what does scare him is when his family is in danger. His lip trembles as he hears Rocket fighting the Ravagers on Berhert. He wants to be a good helper and will even cut off a toe to do it (but we won’t ever talk about that again). He is still learning his place in the universe, but there is one thing he knows: he loves his family and they love him.
Rocket has always been tough on the outside. The only one he really seemed to connect with in Volume 1 was Groot. I remember how devastated Rocket was at the end of the first movie when Groot died and Rocket muttered…”I called him idiot.” One would hope he would learn from this…learn to show love to the people he cared about because you never know when it will be the last time you see them. Instead, I think he felt Groot was someone he allowed himself to get close to…and then lost them. But Rocket would not allow that to happen to Groot again. As the Yondu held him at arrow-point, all Rocket asked was that Groot not be hurt.
Rocket was biologically modified by scientists who cared nothing for him. He was essentially designed to be a servant. He never had anyone love him. At least, that is what he thought. The truth is that people loved him as much as he allowed it. If people started getting too close, he would yell at them. He would be mean at them. He would push them away before they could leave him first. As tough as he acts, he was the most scared one of all. I have been Rocket. Maybe I still am to some degree. I would hope that I have grown some. But I know there are few things scarier than the ever-growing list of people no longer in your life. I don’t know how aware rocket was of all of this until Yondu confronted him with it. Up until that point I don’t know that he would have admitted that any of the Guardians were really his friends (except maybe Groot). But when Gamora tried leaving Yondu’s ship to save Peter, Rocket knocked her out rather than let her go. “I can only afford to lose one friend today.” Rocket broke me when, at Yondu’s Ravager funeral, he reflected: Yondu “didn’t chase them away even though he yelled at them and was mean to them…and stole batteries he didn’t need.” That was when (I believe) Peter realized why Rocket was the way he was and what Rocket most feared. Yondu didn’t chase them away…”Well, of course not.”
Yondu was much the same as Rocket, though perhaps more self-aware. Yondu was abandoned as a baby—sold into battle-slavery for the Kree by his own parents. That kind of abandonment stays with a person. Someone took him in (Stakar) and raised him as his own. But Yondu was young and brash and greedy and wanted to do things his own way. He betrayed his adopted father and the Code by which they lived. This must have really hit home to Yondu as he watched Peter do basically the same thing to him in Volume 1. Maybe Yondu underestimated how much Stakar really cared about him. Peter seemed to underestimate this in Yondu. Sometimes when your life begins with abandonment, you begin to see the world through a very particular lens: one that shows you that no one really cares. Maybe there is something wrong with you that makes you unlovable and unwanted. It can stop you from seeing the people who really do care. You convince yourself that any show of affection cannot be genuine and is only part of some ulterior motive. When you receive affection you are too afraid to believe that it could be sincere lest your heart be broken again so you reject it. And yet, that is precisely the thing you crave. This is what Yondu meant when he told Rocket that every bit of love he receives reminds him of how empty he really feels. Despite the many loyal people around Yondu, he was alone. As he left the brothel on Contraxia, he watches sadly as the robot he was with powers down. His physical needs may have been satisfied, but his true desire, connection, remained unfulfilled. In the end, he was able to truly reach out and be honest with the man he thought of as a son. When Yondu took Peter from Earth and learned what Ego intended to do with the boy, Yondu stopped “dealing in kids” and kept Peter. Maybe, even then, Yondu saw something in Peter that connected them. Yondu’s last act was a noble one and he added to his sacrifice by baring his heart as well. He apologized to Peter for his failings: “I’m sorry I didn’t do none of it right. I’m damn lucky you was my boy.” Ego may have been Peter’s father, but Yondu was his daddy.
Peter grew up watching as the other boys went off to play catch with their dads. He desperately wanted that but could never have it. Rather than admit that his father didn’t seem to want him, he told his classmates that David Hasselhoff was his father and was too busy filming or performing to be around. [Funny story: my mom used to tell me the same thing, but fortunately I could tell she was joking.] The really heartbreaking thing about Peter’s story is that even as an adult he still carried around the picture of the Hoff he carried as a child. I guess this isn’t surprising considering how Peter clung to the things he had from Earth, but that was still pretty heartbreaking. It was nice to see that, just once, Peter was finally able to play catch with his father. Too bad Ego ended up being a lunatic. Peter finally realizes that family is not necessarily dictated by genetics. Family can be a choice. Peter had a family the whole time. He had Yondu. He had Gamora and Rocket and Drax and Groot. And now he has Mantis and Nebula. “Sometimes the thing you search for your whole life is right next to you the whole time and you don’t even know it.”
Ego could have had love. He had it in front of him, but he decided that he wanted his future to be confined to eternity with himself—and yet he no longer wanted to be alone. What he thought he wanted was to be with someone who was exactly like himself. He wanted connection but could see value in no one but himself. He didn’t understand that love is not less meaningful for accepting the faults of others. In a way, it makes it stronger. Perfection may be easy to love, frailty is harder. Ego decided that if something isn’t permanent it has no value. When trying to convert Peter to his way of thinking, he shows Quill eternity. Ego needed to hear the words of Vision in Age of Ultron: “a thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.” The temporary nature of life is what gives it value. Rather than risk an existence with the unknown and the frail and the temporary, Ego chose to seek fulfillment by closing the door to everything that was not himself.
There were several cues as to Ego’s true character. The first was that Mantis tells Peter, Drax and Gamora that Ego cannot sleep because he is thinking about his “progeny”. We (and Quill) thought this mean Peter. It did not. It meant the flower pods Ego had spread throughout the universe. But what we should have caught was that he was so obsessed with this progeny that he could not sleep. That kind of obsession should have raised some red flags. We also should have realized something from his treatment of Mantis. She was a pet to him, not a person. While she showed no signs of physical abuse, she clearly had been taught that she was nothing.
Poor Mantis seemed to have no self-esteem to me. She believed she was of no value as anything but a pet. She was a flea, even though she was a flea with a purpose. She had lived her entire life since her larvae state with a god (lower-case “g” when he is feeling humble) who saw little value in her except as a tool. What is nice is that in the end Drax calls her beautiful “on the inside”. To Drax, this is the greatest compliment, I think. We don’t get much of who Mantis is in this movie. I look forward to knowing her better.
Drax had family. Then Ronan killed them. His daughter, Camaria, was his joy. He loved his wife, Ovette, because she understood him. He saw beauty in her stoicism. I have to wonder if, when he was telling Mantis how ugly she was, if he felt himself ugly as well and that he was remembering how Ovette loved him anyway. “When you’re ugly and someone loves you, you know they love you for who you are. Pretty people never know who to trust.” Drax was close to his father and loved hearing the story of his own conception every winter solstice. Drax came from a world that is totally literal (“Nothing can go over my head. I am too fast. I would catch it.”). I don’t know if jokes exist on his home-world there because of this. But even if they do, Drax did not make jokes in Volume 1. Drax was overwhelmed by grief and rage in the first movie. In this one, he has discovered joy and laughter. It erupted from him uncontrolled like a dam had finally burst. Drax’s laughing may have been over the top in Volume 2, but it totally makes sense to me. When a person has been consumed by depression and pain and anxiety, the relief of joy is like a breath of fresh air and it can be almost too much to contain. He sought out experiencing emotions. After Mantis first showed her empathic abilities, Drax laughed at Peter’s humiliation…then asked to be next, even if he may have been similarly embarrassed. Sometimes when a person closes them off from their emotions for too long, or become fixated on only allowing themselves to feel a particular one or two, they begin to be choked from such limitations. The barriers they build around themselves for protection only end up shutting them up behind claustrophobically stifling walls. But, once those walls are broken through, there is a sense of relief from the openness, even openness to pain.
When we first met Gamora in Volume 1, her primary goal was escaping the control of Thanos. She was hard, but seemed to have a sort of moral code in that she respected Honor. At the same time, she clearly did not want to get close to anyone. This is natural, as everyone since she was a child was pretty cruel to her…it is expected she would have trust issues. But over the past few months as she has travelled with the Guardians she has allowed herself to open up a little. Just a little. When Mantis wanted to feel her emotions Gamora threatened to kill her if she tried. She wanted no one to know Peter’s feelings were reciprocated. Quill accused her of being a “jerk who doesn’t trust anybody” rather than being someone “willing to open herself up to new possibilities.” Perhaps this is a harsh assessment. Gamora was someone who had to be strong in order to survive. Most of us fear showing these vulnerable parts of ourselves for fear of emotional pain…for Gamora it was a matter of life and death. That can be a difficult habit to break. It was what kept her alive at the hands of her sadistic “father”. It was what allowed her to look the other way as Nebula was being ripped to pieces by Thanos. She did what she needed to survive. She may have felt a relationship to Nebula, but she never showed whatever affinity there may have been. However, standing over the body of Yondu it was Peter’s words about the thing we are looking for being right beside us the whole time that caused Gamora for the first time to risk allowing something new into her life. First, she went and reconciled with her sister. Then she went and spoke about the “unspoken thing” between her and Peter.
We did not get to see a very developed character in Nebula in Volume 1. Mostly all we really saw was that she hated Gamora and seemed to be jealous of her…or at least jealous of her place in Thanos’s hierarchy. This gets explained more in the sequel. She hated Gamora because Gamora abandoned her to Thanos’s cruelty. She was jealous of her place in comparison to Gamora because it was this comparison which Thanos used to justify torturing her. Nebula wanted a sister, Gamora wanted to win. Truly, Gamora just wanted to survive, but in Nebula’s eyes she saw only what she perceived to be injustices intentionally leveled at her. This is why in Volume 1 when Gamora asks Nebula to join the Guardians against Thanos, Nebula rejected the offer. How can someone who never showed any interest in being a sister suddenly try to appeal to sisterhood and expect to be trusted? Nebula wanted revenge against the people who hurt her: first Gamora, then Thanos. However, when given the chance to kill her sister, Nebula did not take it. Multiple times. It wasn’t Gamora she hated. It was Thanos. And as much as she may be angry at Gamora for all that happened to her, Gamora was all she had. If she killed her Nebula would have nothing and no one. Often it is the people who most ask to be left alone that are most craving affection. As Nebula watches the emotional farewells to Yondu, she walks away sure that no one would ever feel such things for her. She was on the outside of the group looking in. Gamora saw this and went after her. Apologized. Hugged her. “You will always be my sister.” Time for revenge against the one who is truly to blame for her pain. I hope she is the one who finally gets to kill Thanos. Unlikely, but she deserves it.
I thought it was very good. Not as good as the first one, but still one of the better Marvel movies. I'd probably rank it 4th behind the first Avengers, CA: TWS, and GotG. Baby Groot and Yondu really shined. While there were a lot of funny parts, there were also a lot of jokes that fell flat for me. The writing was a little rough around the edges. Make sure to stay for 5 end credit scenes. Some people left early as always, which never makes sense when you're at a Marvel movie.
I think they knocked it out of the ballpark with the music again. I liked the first vol. more, but this one is excellent too.
January 5, 2016
SPOILERY List of Easter Eggs and MCU Connections
In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2
Like everything in the MCU, there are a ton of connections to other things in the Universe as well as nods to the comicbook origins of the story/franchise. Below, I have listed the ones I found as well as some that I did research on. There is a great list which includes some I left out (but I caught some they did not) at http://screenrant.com/guardian.....ster-eggs/ .
- Ego’s car is the same color scheme as Peter Quill’s “Milano”—orange and blue.
- In the opening scene, Groot fights Orloni (little hairless rat-like things). We first saw them in the opening scene of Volume 1 when Peter used one as a microphone. We also saw them later in that movie being betted on at Knowhere. Later in Volume 2 Groot hogties one and brings it to the imprisoned Yondu and Groot. Adorable!
- The Abilisk is the big tentacled monster the team is fighting in the opening credits. It is an “interdimensional” creature. Dimension hopping is something that we first get introduced to in Doctor Strange (or Ant-Man if you count the Quantum Realm as another dimension).
- In the opening credits, Groot stops dancing while Drax is looking at him. This is a call-back to the extra scene in Volume 1. There was a deleted scene from that movie which explained that Drax hated dancing and threatened to kill anyone who did it—this is why potted Baby Groot would stop when Drax looked at him. In Volume 2 I think it was mostly because Groot looked up to Drax and wanted Drax to think he was cool.
- Ayesha is a character in the comics where she was genetically engineered by a group of evil Earth scientists called “The Enclave”. Ayesha was the Enclave’s 2nd attempt…the first was Adam Warlock, who is also introduced in this movie.
- The “Awesome Mix Vol 2” mixed tape seen playing in the Milano and in Peter’s Walkman was first seen in Volume 1. It was a gift to Peter from his mother on her deathbed, but he did not open the gift box until the end of that movie.
- When the Guardians receive Nebula from the Sovereign, she has a hook for a left hand. Nebula severed her own cybernetic left hand in Volume 1 during the Battle of Xandar.
- We learn that the Guardians plan to turn Nebula over to Xandar for a bounty. This bounty was probably placed on her for her actions with Ronan in the Battle of Xandar in Volume 1.
- When talking to Peter about his feelings for Gamora, Drax mentions his wife, Ovette. Ovette was mentioned in Volume 1. She was killed by Ronan. The death of his family is the reason Drax became “The Destroyer” and began killing Kree Extremists, ultimately getting him arrested and put in the Kyln where he met the other Guardians.
- When we first see Ego, he is riding on top of his ship. I cannot find a picture, but it seems like I have seen Ant-Man in this pose, maybe in the comics. On Berhert, Rocket says that a 1-inch man saved them and Gamora laughs that a man so small could save the. This really seems like a reference to Ant-Man to me. I’m hoping they all meet in Infinity War.
- After fleeing the Sovereign, the Milano crashes onto Berhert. In the comics, this planet is home to the Sagittarians and has ties to Hulk comics.
- Quill’s t-shirt he wears after meeting the Sovereign is written in an alien language. The words are “Gears Shift”, “dust, cement, stone and ash”, “A TenEyck Galaxy Invention”. Karen Teneyck is a graphic artist who also worked on Captain America: The First Avenger as well as this movie.
- We find Yondu’s Ravager faction on Contraxia. This is also a world from the comics and is home to Marie, mother of Jack of Hearts.
- Howard the Duck is talking to a woman on Contraxia. Howard is a comicbook character that was also in the Collector’s Museum on Knowhere in Volume 1.
- Yondu’s former mentor is Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone). He was one of the original Guardians in the comics where he was part of a super-powered duo with his sister. Together they were Starhawk.
- Peter was grabbed by the Ravagers in Volume 1. At the end of that movie, we find Yondu was hired to bring Quill to his father, but did not. In Volume 2 we find that Yondu was exiled by the Ravagers for “dealing in kids” of which Peter was the last.
- One of the mutineers against Yondu was Tullk. Although they look nothing alike, Tullk was a bounty hunter in the comics and worked for Ronan.
- The diamond-y looking alien with Stakar was Martinex, another one of the original Guardians in the comics. Martinex is played by Michael Rosenbaum who played Lex Luthor in “Smallville”.
- The planet Berhert has several moons. Just before the Ravagers attack, 2 of the moons overlap and look (to me) like half of Mickey Mouse ears, a possible nod to Disney who owns the MCU. Later, there is a mention of Mary Poppins, also a Disney film.
- Yondu tries to justify to the Ravagers not capturing the Guardians because doing so would send all of Nova Corps after them. Nova Corps is based on Xandar and teamed up with the Guardians in Volume 1 to fight Ronan.
- Ego calls himself a Celestial. In the comics, there were several Celestials, not just one. One of which was Eson the Searcher who may have appeared wielding the Power Stone in the Collector’s presentation on the Infinity Stones in Volume 1.
- As Ego is showing Quill, Gamora and Drax scenes of his life, the first humanoid person he seems to find is a pink girl. She looks like the same race of several people in Volume 1, including Peter’s sleeping date on Morag, the Collector’s slave, and Denarian Dey’s wife.
- Ego says he tracked down Peter after hearing of someone from Earth who held an Infinity Stone without dying. This happened at the end of Volume 1.
- On Planet Ego, Drax looks at the pools of water with Mantis and is reminded of his daughter, Camaria. She was killed along with her mother by Ronan prior to the events in Volume 1 (see item #9 above).
- While looking for Yondu’s prototype fin, Groot brings back Vorker’s eye. In Volume 1 there was a practical joke Rocket played where he said peoples’ body parts were necessary to his plans. He did this with a prisoner’s leg on the Kyln (which Peter paid the prisoner to get) and later while describing his plan against Ronan, Rocket asks for Vorker’s eye. Now he finally got it!
- The fin Yondu sports for most of this movie is similar to the one he wore in the comics.
- There was always dissension among the Ravagers about Yondu’s preferential treatment of Quill, even in Volume 1.
- The music played as Yondu, Groot and Rocket kill the mutinous Ravagers was a clone of Peter’s “Awesome Mix” tape given to him by his mother and featured in Volume 1. That there are duplicates of this music explains how the tape lasted more than 30 years without being worn out.
- As Yondu, Kraglin, Rocket and Groot travel to Ego’s planet, they jump past two Kronans fighting (we see Kronans fighting early in Thor: The Dark World). We also see Stan Lee in a space suit reporting to large-headed aliens. These aliens are the Watchers, a race of aliens doomed to watch the events of the universe but prohibited from intervening. There has been a fan theory for years that Stan Lee cameos in all the Marvel movies because he is one of these Watchers. Now we have confirmation this is true. In this scene he is telling the Watchers about when he was a Fed-Ex man. That would be his cameo in Captain America: Civil War. As that movie takes place in 2016 and the events of Volume 2 happened in 2014, I suppose the Watchers are time travelers as well as space travelers. What is interesting is that Stan Lee has made cameos in the Fox- and Sony-owned properties, so now they are all connected??? I wonder what THAT means!!
- On Ego’s planet, Peter and Gamora dance on the balcony to his room. This is very reminiscent of the scene where they dance on a balcony on Knowhere (until Gamora pushed him away for using his “pelvic sorcerey” on her).
- When Peter is touched by Ego, Peter says he sees “Eternity”. In the comics, Eternity, like Death, is a personified entity who exists beyond and before creation. Thanos seems to reference Death when we first see him in the extra scene in Avengers. Peter could be saying he sees eternity, or has become aware of the existence of Eternity. For more on this, look at #17 on Screenrant’s list I linked in my introduction.
- When Ego’s plant pods spout the blue goo that is taking over the planets, we see a couple in a car fleeing from the attack on Earth. The man driving the car is Peter’s grandfather seen briefly in the beginning of Volume 1.
- While Kraglin orbits Ego, Yondu, Groot and Rocket make their way to the surface using an excavation pod Yondu used to break into the Bank of A’askavariia. Peter mentions this job to Drax in Volume 1 as he explains he once had sex with an A’askavariian to get intel for a robbery…later in that movie Drax refers to him as “he who has lain with an A’askavariian”.
- When Yondu tells Peter to use his heart to control is powers rather than his brain, Quill remembers his past. This montage uses the same actor as played young Quill and Meredith Quill in Volume 1 and included scenes from that movie as well.
- Rocket crashes the excavation pod on top of Ego’s body. Drax replies that Rocket could have killed them all and they had the situation under control. This seems to be a call-back to when Rocket threatened to blow up Yondu’s ship to save Peter and Gamora in Volume 1 where Rocket was again told that he nearly killed the ones he was trying to rescue and they had the situation under control.
- Once Ego’s Expansion plan is underway, we see Planet Ego from orbit and he has a face. This is depicted in the comics as well.
- Much as Yondu sacrifices himself by going into space without a suit to save Peter, Quill did the same to save Gamora in Volume 1.
- When the Guardians prepare Yondu’s body for cremation, they lay his trinkets around him. Yondu liked to have these on the control panel of his ship. The glass frog was bought from the Broker in Volume 1 and was the only thing Yondu picked up from all the wreckage after the Battle of Xandar. The Good Luck troll was what Peter put in the fake Orb in that movie after switching it for the one containing the Power Stone. Yondu opens the fake Orb at the end of Volume 1, finds the troll and smiles.
- The Ravager funeral reminded me of the Asgardian funeral for Frigga we saw in Thor: The Dark World in that it involved the body being set ablaze and the embers floating up into space. If this was an intentional parallel, it would mean Yondu has moved on to Valhalla, a place for the honored dead.
- In the second extra scene we see Stakar Ogord’s original companions reunited. These were the original Guardians in the comics. Several were leading their own factions during Yondu’s funeral. They included: Stakar and his sister Aleta (together they were Starhawk in the comics), Charlie-27 played by Ving Rhames (biologically engineered to survive on Jupiter in the comics), Martinex played by Michael Rosenbaum (biologically engineered to survive on Pluto in the comics, see item #18 above), Mainframe voiced by Miley Cyrus (the decapitated robot head. In the comics he was an AI created by Tony Stark), and Krugarr the red alien (he waves his hands and does some conjuring a la Doctor Strange. In the comics he was a Sorcerer Supreme).
- In the third extra scene, we see Ayesha telling her assistant about the new birthing pod she created to birth a new stage of evolution which she would call Adam. This is a reference to Adam Warlock. In the comics, Adam was created by The Enclave, the same group that created Ayesha. Adam was created first, but when the Enclave could not control him, they used his DNA to create a less complete Ayesha. In the comics Adam possesses the Soul Stone, the one stone we have not seen in the MCU yet!
- In the credits, pictures of Howard the Duck (see item #14 above) and Cosmo the AstroDog are featured. They are both held in the Collector’s Museum on Knowhere in Volume 1.
- David Hasselhoff is mentioned throughout the movie. He also briefly does a cameo as Ego morphs his form. In the final credits, he says the last words of the song “Guardians Inferno”: “We are Groot”. David Hasselhoff played Nick Fury in a TV movie in 1998.
The following users say thank you to teamcoulson325 for this post:Hawkeye86, Zaffie Vodka
GotG 2 was a good movie, good enough to see more than once. But I do prefer Volume 1 and Volume 2 lands around the top of the middle of my MCU rankings. As I said to Zaffie "The worst that I can say about it is that it's an average Marvel movie.".
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