***The following post was written by Brad Morris. You can follow Brad on Twitter @BHMDeadcast***
I have a confession to make. This is the third time I’ve started this review of GotG Vol 2. The first I started after an advanced screening. I quickly deleted it after realizing it was a rush to get something out. The second one was after seeing it in theaters with my kids. I couldn’t decide the correct way to go about it, and after several false starts I had half of it done. The problem was it was half fanboy and half personal history. So into the trash it went. Now, I think I’ve found my footing after seeing it a third time, but this time I saw it with the right person, my Dad.
Now for me to properly give the correct review, just maybe not the right one, I do have to get personal for a New York minute (Go Rangers!). When I was I born, I was fatherless. My father had died before I entered the world. The woman who had me made the bravest decision one could ever make and gave me up for adoption. That decision gave me the Dad I’ve had since he and my mom picked me up two weeks after I was born. He was the first to hold me, the man I played catch with, the man who chased me around in the backyard and forced chocolate pudding in my mouth (which I spit out). He has been with me every step of my life and I don’t know if there are enough words or money in the world to ever repay him for what he did for me.
How does this lead into a movie review? Simple. GotG Vol 2 is everything a sequel should be: larger, louder, more characters, the works. The problem with most big budget sequels is that the story gets lost in the shuffle of trying to expand on the original, and in this case its tougher given the success of the first. Add on the pressure of this being a Marvel movie, and disaster loomed ahead. Fortunately James Gunn, the writer and director, wrote a beautiful family drama and slipped it into this summer movie. It has sibling rivalries, teenage parental drama, and the bad influences of the outside world.
At the heart of the movie is the relationship between Star-Lord Peter Quill and his biological father Ego The Living Planet. I’m staying clear of any spoilers, but if you’re asking how a planet could father a human baby, Drax the Destroyer asks that question with hilarious results. Ego hired Yondu, the always amazing Michael Rooker, to bring Quill to him when his mother had died. Going against Ego’s orders, Yondu kept Quill and raised him with his group of pirates and outlaws. In the first movie Yondu was shown as someone who hated Quill and wanted him dead at one point. We find out in the sequel this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Quill has a unique reunion with Ego, and appears to side with him for a time. However, over the course of the movie we see that the Father he had been looking for his whole life was already right beside him. Yondu may have been unorthodox, but he was the right man for the job. It takes the circumstances of the plot for him to find this out for his own knowledge, and almost too late. Quill has had the antihero strut in both films, and its a little bit nature. He has also had selflessness and sacrifice that is a little bit nurture. The combination of the two makes him the Star-Lord we know.
I won’t expound on the other relationships of the movie. Gamora and Nebula. Drax and Mantis. Rocket and Yondu. Groot, still in baby form, and everyone around him. It gives too much of the story away. It could also give away the great cameos that are littered throughout. As always, stay all the way through the ending credits for multiple scenes that expand on the Guardian’s universe. I’ll give you this advise for viewing it: expect the big set pieces of a big budget movie, laugh at the jokes, sing along to the music, but sink your teeth into the story that Gunn wrote. It is unexpected and totally worth it.
As for why I was able to get through to get through this review finally? That’s because the man that sat beside me today. Pop laughed and tapped his foot to the music. My favorite thing he asked was if this was an old movie. Why did he ask? You’ll have to see that for yourself. As far as a thumbs up or thumbs down, I’m going to refrain from that. This isn’t the place for me to tell you if you’ll like it, love it, or hate it. All I can say is it was a fun afternoon with the Dad I’ve always known, the only one I’ll ever know, and the one I’m proud to call my Dad.