Guardians of the Galaxy was one of the stand-out hits of 2014. I wish I caught the film in cinemas as the visuals and the vibe were stunning, fresh characters and out of this world settings. The film had a lot of heart and whilst the film didn’t come across as overly profound, it did have some great lines as this rag-tag band of outcasts lay aside their angst, natural tendencies and dreams of revenge to do something good:
Rocket Raccoon: Fine, but I can’t promise when all of this is over I’m not going to kill every last one of you jerks.Peter Quill: See, this is exactly why none of you have any friends!
Peter Quill: [talks with the rest of the Guardians in private when they are all in doubt] When I look around, you know what I see? Losers.[Everyone looks at him]
Peter Quill: I mean like, folks who have lost stuff. And we have, man, we have, all of us. Homes, and our families, normal lives. And you think life takes more than it gives, but not today. Today it’s giving us something. It is giving us a chance.
Rocket Raccoon: To do what?
Peter Quill: To give a shit. And I am not gonna stand by and watch as billions of lives are being wiped out.
[last lines]Peter Quill: What should we do next: Something good, something bad? Bit of both?
Gamora: We’ll follow your lead, Star-Lord.
Peter Quill: A bit of both!
Fans will see that Volume 2 pretty much begins where Volume 1 ends. If you recall Rocket’s conversation with the Nova Corp in the resolution:
Rhomann Dey: Your criminal records have also been expunged. However, I have to warn you against breaking any laws in the future.
Rocket Raccoon: Question. What if I see something that I wanna take and it belongs to someone else?
Rhomann Dey: Then you will be arrested.
Rocket Raccoon: But what if I want it more than the person who has it?
Rhomann Dey: Still illegal.
Rocket Raccoon: That doesn’t follow. No, I want it more, sir. Do you understand me? [to Gamora] What are you laughing at? What? I can’t have a discussion with this gentleman?
Rocket Raccoon: That doesn’t follow. No, I want it more, sir. Do you understand me? What are you laughing at? What? I can’t have a discussion with this gentleman?
You might not be surprised within the first fifteen minutes, Rocket has stolen the very thing he was paid to protect; As a result, the infuriated Sovereigns, owners of said property, chase the Guardians with a hive of drones manned back at base by a bunch of pilots who for them, the chase is a game. It’s a hint perhaps at a theme in the film of those who find pleasure in the misfortune of others or a jab at how technology separates us from the real world. If nothing else, the arcade theme nods to the film”s retro vibe.
As an aside, the title sequence was fun until it became so long it held up the story after the intriguing opening sequence.
Without getting into detail of Act 2 – there was so much going on – the mysterious man who saves the Guardians from the Sovereigns is a much greater one, self-described as a Celestial, a small ‘g’ god, who claims to be Quill’s father. Since his mother died, Quill has been wondering, expecting, hoping to meet his father.
But his father is not his daddy as Yondu finally concludes and what is significant is that although Quill finds what he wants – to know his father – he finds this father is not what he, nor the universe, needs. Ego offers Quill ultimate power, infinite power to create and to consume the universe, to rule it as a god. The offer entrances Quill despite the fears of his friends for his well–being. In this sense, Vol. 2 is something of a temptation story away from his mission as a guardian (following on from vol 1 and into vol 2) in which he is offered to gain the universe but lose his friends and his soul:
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
The “Devil” takes Star Lord into the galactic wilderness to offer him all the kingdoms of the universe.
This in a galaxy already low in mercy and goodness and rich in power, greed and exploitation.
And exploitation, no less, of the small and seemingly insignificant. Whether its Peter himself or Baby Groot, there’s a strong sense that even in this universe full of ravagers, intense combat – both hand to hand and the drone kind – and especially in this universe, small, vulnerable ones matter. The small and vulnerable need our protection. Small ones make a difference.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried for a computer-generated character but I did want to rush home and give my children a hug, give them that little extra space to make mistakes, to watch them learn and grow again.
Guardians of the Galaxy had heart, but Volume 2, for all its flaws, softened mine.
Express, entertain, educate, elucidate...