Back on the old site, I wrote a few articles following a rewatch of the Marvel Cinamatic Universe. Here’s a new one
Title: Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2
Director: James Gunn
Writer(s): James Gunn
Characters created by: Steve Englehart, Steve Gan (Star-Lord), Jim Starlin (Gamora, Drax,), Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers (Groot, Ego), Steve Gerber (Starhawk), Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Rocket), Arnold Drake (Yondu), and Roger Stern (Nebula).
US Release Date: May 5, 2017
Budget: $200 million
Worldwide Box-office: $863.6 million
Returning characters: Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Rocket, Yondu, Kraglin, Nebula
Summary: Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora’s estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries.
After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians’ ship with a fleet of drones. These are destroyed by a mysterious figure, and the Guardians crash-land on a nearby planet.
There this figure reveals himself as Quill’s father, Ego, and invites Quill, Gamora, and Drax to his home planet. Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.
Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu hesitates to turn over Quill, whom he raised, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu’s ship and executes Yondu’s loyalists. Nebula leaves to find and kill Gamora, whom she blames for the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot and Kraglin, a remaining Yondu loyalist, free Rocket and Yondu, and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface warns the Sovereign.
Ego, a god-like Celestial that manipulated the matter around its consciousness to form this “home” planet, explains that it projected a humanoid guise to travel the universe and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill’s mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith’s death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego has been searching for him ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate Celestial power.
Nebula arrives at Ego’s planet and tries to kill Gamora, but the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels, he planted seedlings on thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children, but killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Under Ego’s influence, Quill helps him activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world, but Quill fights back when Ego reveals that he killed Meredith due to the distraction she posed.
Mantis, Ego’s naive empath servant, grows close to Drax and warns him of Ego’s plan. Gamora and Nebula also learn of the plan as Rocket, Yondu, Groot and Kraglin arrive. As they come under attack from the Sovereign’s drones, the reunited Guardians find Ego’s brain at the planet’s core. Rocket makes a bomb using the stolen batteries, which Groot plants on the brain. Quill fights Ego with his newfound Celestial powers to distract him long enough for the other Guardians and Mantis to escape. The bomb then explodes, killing Ego and disintegrating the planet. Yondu sacrifices himself to save Quill, who realizes that the reason Yondu kept him was to spare him from the fate of Ego’s other progeny, and that Yondu was Quill’s true “daddy”.
Having reconciled with Gamora, Nebula still chooses to leave and attempt to kill Thanos by herself. The Guardians hold a funeral for Yondu, which is attended by dozens of Ravager ships, acknowledging Yondu’s sacrifice and accepting him as a Ravager again.
MCU Continuity Nods: The Grandmaster appears in the credits. The character of Mantis in the comics is not an alien, but human, and acquired her skills by living with the Kree. James Gunn chose to make her an alien in the film, because he wanted Peter Quill to be the only one of the main characters to come from Earth. Steve Englehart, Mantis’s co-creator, was disappointed with the character’s portrayal, saying, “That character has nothing to do with Mantis … I really don’t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis.”
While traveling via multiple space hops, one of the planets the ship travels past appears to be the Kronan homeworld. This is home to Korg from Thor: Ragnarok Thor already fought and defeated a “Kronanite” in Thor: The Dark World. Seth Green makes a cameo as Howard The Duck once again Ego identifies himself as a Celestial, in the original Marvel Comics, he is a Cosmic Entity. The Celestials are cosmic race of powerful beings created in 1976 by Jack Kirby, made of pure energy embodied in giant armors, and dedicated to the experimentation, creation, and development of sentient life across the universe.
Easter Eggs: The other members of Stakar and Yondu’s old team, are based on the comic’s original incarnation of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Martinex, Charlie-27, Aleta Ogord, Krugarr and Mainframe.
Yondu’s replacement, larger head-fin brings the character’s look closer to his comic counterpart. Ayesha was first introduced in the comics, she was just named “Her” (since she was created as a counterpart to the character Adam Warlock, originally named “Him”). She then took on the name “Kismet,”and then was renamed yet again as “Ayesha.”
In the comics, Peter Quill’s father is J’Son of Spartax, of the alien Spartoi Empire. In this film, it is Ego the Living Planet, a completely unrelated character. However, in the comics, Ego has had the ability to sire a sibling, Alter-Ego.
Stan Lee Cameo: Agroup of uninterested Watchers abandon their informant, who is discussing several experiences on Earth, acknowledging the fan theory that Lee may be portraying the same character in all his cameos. The bald aliens with Stan Lee are The Watchers, a race of aliens who appeared frequently throughout Marvel comics in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Uatu is the Watcher assigned to observe Earth 616, the reality in which the regular Marvel Comics Universe takes place.
Infinity Stone: none, but Ego mentions the events of the first film
Post/mid Credits Scenes: In a series of mid- and post-credit scenes, Kraglin takes up Yondu’s telekinetic arrow and control-fin; Ravager leader Stakar Ogord reunites with his ex-teammates; Groot starts growing back to normal size, acting like a teenager in the process; Ayesha creates a new artificial being with whom she plans to destroy the Guardians, naming him Adam. The character will become the hero Adam Warlock.
My Take: The movie dives right into the action, assuming you already saw vol 1. We have a little development between Gamora and Nebula and I hope it continues. I’d like to see them develop Mantis a bit more.
Dave Bautista continues to be the MVP of the series, but Michael Rooker’s Yondu becomes one of the best characters in the MCU. I like how they took the weirdest of the first movie and just doubled down. The golden-skinned Sovereign, the robot prostitutes, the creature from the opening, the ravagers. I never thought that I would see a character as outrageous as Ego on screen, but it works. The success of the first movie really opened the door to allow outrageousness throught Phase Three: Giant-Man, Dormammu, and the Grandmaster. Comic books can get crazy, with characters and places that are imaginative, and we are getting to see that on screen, and I love it.
It’s funny as hell. If anything this movie made me laugh throughout. And baby Groot is adorable.
Next: Spider-man: Homecoming