Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just came out, and I saw it opening night. I am a true Marvel zombie; if the Marvel logo is anywhere on a product, I am likely to throw my money at it and not regret doing so. As of late, however, I have been disappointed with what Marvel Studios has been giving us, and I’m gonna take a good, hard look at the new Guardians movie. As the article title states, there was some good, some bad, and some ugly moments. Here is my unpopular opinion.
The Good – Drax & Mantis, Rocket, Groot, and Yondu
In my opinion, Drax had the most character growth of anyone in this movie. It was because of his newly found friendship with the “disgusting” Mantis. Drax finally found someone who can truly understand his emotions, even better than he can. We see Drax recall his time with his wife and daughter that doesn’t end with his fury, but instead his sadness, shown by Mantis instantly crying because she has never known such sadness in her life. Even though he is Drax the Destroyer, he obviously is completely distraught from the loss of his family. Once he has found revenge, only the sadness remains.
Another great character arc was Yondu. Not only did his relationship with Rocket and Groot add complexity, but also with the rest of the Ravagers. Once he knew that his work with Ego resulted in hundreds of children dying, he stopped doing his job and got kicked out of his galactic gang – the Ravagers. We did see a single scene of Yondu showing young Peter Quill how to shoot, as a way of showing his fatherly role in Peter’s life. But his real achievement was with Rocket and Groot. Rocket and Groot were previously friends and business partners, but now that Groot is little more than a toddler, we really get to see Rocket in more of a big brother role. Now that Rocket has lost someone he considered more of an equal, seeing him and Yondu come to a mutual understanding, with how they had very similar paths, was very rewarding, and really brought another level when Yondu fails to make it to the end of the film. The moment of the film I laughed most, though, was Rocket setting all of those traps for the Ravagers, and throwing them in the air repeatedly.
The Bad – Gamora and Nebula
Nebula and Gamora were given some story arcs of their own, but it didn’t seem complete to me. The film starts and the Guardians take a difficult job just so they can arrest Nebula and turn her in for a bounty. She is nothing more than a mark for Gamora and the Guardians. As the film continues, she is able to escape with the Ravagers and returns with only one goal in mind – revenge. Once she returns, she attacks Gamora to the point of destroying her ship and almost dying from her own anger. The whole fight scene was very emotional and intense, with both trying to kill the other. As Nebula wins, she exclaims that she has finally beaten Gamora in combat, and that all she ever wanted was a sister, but all Gamora ever cared about was winning. Then the scene essentially ends. After such a strong fight and exclamation, I thought there would be more emotional fallout. I was expecting them to yell at each other more, to talk about their difficult childhood, with accusations and blaming each other, like angry siblings tend to do. But instead, it was “I wanted a sister and you were a bad sister” and Gamora just kinda takes it. No real rebuttal, no denying it. It was just finished, and then they were on the same side. It just seemed a little anti-climatic.
The Ugly – Peter and Ego
I could never really get invested in the main story of the film between Peter Quill and his father, Ego the Living Planet. Everything just seemed too easy, too basic. In the second action scene of the film, all 200 spaceships they are fighting suddenly disappear because of the “1 inch man.” Then as Ego arrives, it’s just “Hey Peter, I’m your dad, let’s go to my home planet.” As Ego discusses his history, he tells Peter that he is a demigod, capable of living forever and having awesome powers, and all he has to do is spend time on the planet. He quickly learns how to make a ball, and they play catch in what is supposed to be a father-son scene, but there isn’t enough foundation for it to feel emotional like it should. Yondu says, “It’s not your head, its your heart,” and that is all it takes for Peter to have awesome mass-manipulation abilities, fight his father who has practiced this for a millennia, and end up winning. Everything just seemed too easy, and I was never worried that something bad was going to happen. Even after we find out that Ego has been killing the other children, I never felt a sense of worry like I did when Ronan and his forces were destroying the Nova Corps in the first film.
Essentially, I just felt like nothing was ever taken far enough, and there weren’t any real consequences. I felt like there were jokes placed during serious moments, out of fear of taking itself too seriously. Overall they just wouldn’t allow the scene to be what it would be. In Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark gets really upset over the death of his parents, without making smartass quips, because that wasn’t the time. Even in Ant Man, Scott Lang takes his story seriously, because to him, it is serious. Sometimes you just need to play the story straight, and the humor will come from the situation. All in all, though it had its flaws, it was a great movie, and I’m excited for the future of the MCU.