Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is officially here and it’s officially good. Actually, it’s better than good. It’s great! It’s amazing! No, it’s not as amazing as the first film, but that’s mostly because the first set the bar so high. I mean, the first Guardians was a perfect blockbuster film balancing the right amount of humor, action, and corniness. Still though, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a worthy predecessor, as it succeeds in all the ways the first film succeeded. It’s hilarious because of the irreverent, oddball humor. It’s still the story of unlikely, outsider heroes. And, at its center, it still has a lot of heart. It’s the Guardians we all know and love.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gets so much right, making it a delightful, ‘80s-filled romp through the galaxy. Chris Pratt stars as Star-Lord, bringing that same superstar swagger he had in the first film. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is back with the same Rocket attitude. Rounding out the group are Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista) and, of course, Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). Baby Groot is… there are just no words to describe my love. Though, Baby Groot doesn’t steal the whole film. Drax may have done that. Yes, Drax the Destroyer steals almost every scene he’s in. It’s just all so good, guys. All of it.
Sequels are hard and sequels to beloved films are even harder, but Vol. 2 lived up to the hype. Below are 15 things Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 got so right (and it goes without saying: spoilers!)
15. Opening With Dancing Baby Groot
James Gunn gave the people exactly what they wanted – DANCING BABY GROOT! To be clear, I am very obsessed with Baby Groot. I think he’s just about the cutest film character ever. Baby Groot is cuter than both Olaf from Frozen and Chip from Beauty and the Beast. Baby Groot is even cuter than that talking dog in Up, though that talking dog is probably a close second. Baby Groot’s adorableness is only made even more adorable when he dances, which we all found out during the Guardians of the Galaxy credits scene that lit the Internet on fire. (That dancing Baby Groot GIF was EVERYWHERE.)
Vol. 2 opens with the guardians facing off against some sort of Jabba the Hutt beast thing with a bunch of arms. Only, we don’t see much of the actual battle. Instead, the camera follows Baby Groot as he dances around to Star-Lord’s music and tries to eat a fly. While it’s insanely adorable, it’s also pitch-perfect in terms of Guardians, as it’s a little bit off-center and goofy.
14. Actually, Every Single Baby Groot Scene
I really can’t help my obsession with Baby Groot, because it’s BABY GROOT! Come on, people. You’re totally obsessed too. I mean, every single scene with Baby Groot in it was made better by the addition of this tiny character. In fact, during the scenes without Baby Groot, I found myself waiting to get back to the little guy.
The thing about Baby Groot is that he wasn’t there to be just purely adorable. He’s actually integral in the climax of the film. You see, because of his teeny, tiny, adorable body, Baby Groot is able to put the bomb in Ego’s core… the bomb that killed the villain. BOOM, Baby Groot saved the day, y’all. Without Baby Groot, everyone would be dead.
While Baby Groot was so cute he made me want to have a baby (but, like, a Baby Groot baby), he was also important to the plot. This importance made Baby Groot more than a gimmick, and that makes him better than ever.
13. Everything Drax
To be honest, I don’t remember really loving Drax the Destroyer all that much in the first film. I know he was there, but he wasn’t, like, my favorite character or anything. In the first film, Drax was mostly just pissed off that Thanos killed his whole family blah, blah, blah, revenge and some more blah, blah, blah. In Vol. 2, however, Drax is 1000% less emo. In fact, he LOVES humor in the most recent installment and this love of humor is something that gets many audience laughs. Drax mostly loves awkward situations, like when Mantis tells Star-Lord that he’s in love with Gamora. Speaking of Mantis, Drax also gets some entertainment points for his very weird budding relationship with her. Drax straight up told Mantis that she’s unattractive and then he laughed hysterically at the thought of having sex with her… but they still kind of seem like they’re going to get together. It’s really weird, but entirely fun to watch.
12. It’s A Love Letter To The ‘80s
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 really embraces the ’80s, and that’s mostly because Star-Lord hasn’t been back to Earth since the passing of his mother… in the ‘80s. Since Star-Lord hasn’t been back, he still thinks of Earth in a very ’80s way, which results in wonderfully dated references. I mean, how many times can Star-Lord really talk about Cheers? Star Lord also talks about David Hasselhoff more than anyone should mostly because he doesn’t know that David Hasselhoff is simply not relevant on Earth in 2017.
Star-Lord’s dated references and ’80s-centric interpretation of Earth brings both a humorous and nostalgic element to the table, but also shows just how naive Star-Lord can be. While he’s half-god and commander of their ship, Star-Lord actually has no idea about what Earth is really like. This also highlights how Star-Lord is still truly stunted by his difficult childhood. While the ‘80s references may seem whimsical, they are also dark when you really think about it.
11. Yondu’s Arrow Scene
Like Drax, Yondu was another character that just didn’t leave a huge impression on me after the first Guardians of the Galaxy. I mean, he was a funny character and all, but I didn’t walk out of the theater thinking about him. That changed in Vol. 2 much thanks to the arrow scene.
Yondu’s power comes from the fact that he can control his trust arrow with a whistle. It doesn’t sound all that exciting… until the arrow scene. Yondu literally takes down an entire ship with a single arrow, zig-zagging it through everyone. Remember the badass Quicksilver scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past? Well, this arrow scene is on that level. It’s really good.
10. Yondu’s Tragic Storyline
Speaking of Yondu… Poor, poor Yondu. Just when I was starting to like him, too! But, of course, that was by design. Goddamn James Gunn made us feel for Yondu, just so his death would hurt us audience members. Thanks, thank a lot, James Gunn.
Yondu was the adoptive father of Star-Lord, though it didn’t seem that he was ever too affectionate with Star-Lord. In fact, he claimed to have only kept Star-Lord because he was small and could easily steal things. Through the course of events in the film, it’s revealed that Yondu actually kept him in order to save his life. And then, Yondu goes and sacrifices himself to save Star-Lord. AND THEN, HIS FUNERAL. We were all crying, right? It was all too emotional!
Since it’s a film about the importance of the group working as one, the climax relies on someone sacrificing themselves. In the first film, Groot made the ultimate sacrifice, but he’s still kind of alive. Yondu, on the other hand, is super dead and it hurts.
9. Rocket Raccoon Is Still Rocket Raccoon
In Guardians of the Galaxy, the main characters are all criminals who ended up being unlikely heroes. In Vol. 2, they seem to have adapted to their hero titles quite comfortably. Well, with the exception of Rocket Raccoon. Rocket Raccoon is the same self-destructive criminal we saw in the first film and it works so well. I mean, if they were all into the idea of being heroes right away, it wouldn’t be Guardians of the Galaxy, right? We need some edge. We need Rocket Raccoon!
In Vol. 2, Rocket Raccoon steals batteries from those stuck-up golden people, which results in the gang being chased around the galaxy throughout the course of the film. Rocket Raccoon also seems to still be dealing with some emotional issues. He pushes people away because he’s afraid of being loved. Will Rocket Raccoon ever work through his emotional issues? I don’t know, but I do know that Rocket Raccoon’s inability to simply take on the hero role keeps the soul of Guardians of the Galaxy in tact.
8. The Multiple Villains
The multiple villains of Vol. 2 works well for the film, as we don’t know the big bad villain of the film is really the big bad villain of the film until about halfway through. Ego, of course, ends up being the villain of the film but, in the first half, he just seems to be Star-Lord’s dear old dad. He even plays catch with Star-Lord! Dear ol’ dad, as it turns out, is actually kind of an asshole and trying to take over the universe. Uh, I guess asshole is an understatement, but you get it.
We don’t find out how evil Ego is until midway through the film so, leading up to that, those stuck-up golden people (I could write their actual name but calling them the stuck-up golden people is so more fun) act as the villains. They chase the gang around the galaxy because Rocket stole their batteries. In the climax scene, both Ego and the stuck-up golden people show up for the main event making it one hell of a scene.
7. Daddy Issues For Everyone
There were so many daddy issues in Vol. 2 that it felt like my 12-year-old diary. Actually, there was just as many daddy issues in Guardians of the Galaxy, but in the follow up they are actually dealing with their issues instead of keeping them deep down. Vol. 2 was like one big therapy session for everyone.
In Vol. 2, the gang is dealing with some heavy daddy stuff. First up is Star-Lord, who has some abandonment issues, y’know since Ego literally abandoned him. To make matters worse, Star-Lord had a complicated relationship with Yondu, his (kind of) father figure. Also dealing with daddy issues is Nebula, who tells the story of her upbringing, during which Thanos made Nebula and Gamora battle it out. Nebula would always lose, which resulted in Thanos replacing her real body parts with machine body parts. All in all, these guys are dealing with some serious daddy issues. But hey, maybe Nebula and Gamora will get to work out their issues in Avengers: Infinity War…?
6. That Unspoken Thing
That “unspoken thing” between Star-Lord and Gamora is definitely there, even if the two don’t act on it yet. Star Lord even brings up their unspoken, not-yet-acted-upon thing, comparing them to Sam and Diane on Cheers. In this comparison, Star-Lord even gets very winking-at-the-audience by talking about how the will they/won’t they of television relationships bring in rating for the show… all while having a will they/won’t they in the movie.
Why didn’t Star-Lord and Gamora finally hook up in Vol. 2? To be quite frank, the film already had enough going on. We didn’t need a hot Star-Lord and Gamora scene just yet. He’s dealing with his father and she’s dealing with her sister. They will surely get together, but just not yet. And hey, the will they/won’t they will keep us coming back for Vol. 3 and so on.
5. It Wasn’t Too Mushy
On the subject of Star-Lord and Gamora’s unspoken thing, Vol. 2, thankfully, stayed far away from being too mushy. Because what’s worse than a superhero movie that gets too mushy?
In Vol. 2, we even saw another budding relationship in the form of Drax and Mantis, but that was about as un-mushy as one can get. Drax literally laughed out loud at the thought of having sex with Mantis. The way Guardians builds romantic relationships without being overtly corny is a feat not many films pull off.
The family moments in the film were decidedly un-mushy as well. Gamora and Nebula never have one of those moments, in which they both cry and hug each other, forgiving the years of suffering. Star-Lord and Ego share maybe the mushiest scene in the entire film, during which they play ball with a little energy ball. But, it’s a hilarious scene, which saved it from going too far down the mushy road.
4. Learning More About Minor Characters
Guardians of the Galaxy introduced us to the main players, but Vol. 2 worked to expand on those minor characters about whom we knew very little.
In Vol. 2, Yondu’s character played a much bigger role, allowing the audience to get to know him and love him, y’know before killing him off. Nebula was another character we all got to know a little bit more, though girlfriend didn’t show a softer side at all. Nope, she’s pretty hard all the time. Does she ever smile? We were also introduced to Mantis, who turned out to be a softer, more innocent character. Mantis’ softer side helped round out the group.
And finally, Sean Gunn – James Gunn’s brother – got more screen time. I know, I know, Hollywood and nepotism, but Sean Gunn is just so good. Sean Gunn plays Kraglin, the Ravagers who ends up with Yondu’s arrow. The expansion on Kraglin was a welcomed treat for fans of Gilmore Girls, in which Sean Gunn appeared throughout the entirety of its run.
3. Expanding On The First Film
Star-Lord’s father, aka the villain of the film, Ego adds much more insight into Star-Lord’s past and the first Guardians of the Galaxy… but it’s, like, really dark insight. It kind of makes everything sad and depressing.
In the first film, we see young Star-Lord atthe moment his mother dies, but, beyond that, we don’t know much about his time on Earth or his origins. Through Ego, though, we learn about Ego and Meredith Quill’s relationship. This seems loving, for about a whole second. It turns out that Ego basically impregnated women all around the galaxy, hoping to create offspring that could help in his galaxy domination. OH, and then we find out Ego PUT THE CANCER TUMOR IN MEREDITH QUILL. How friggin’ sad! Now we know that Star-Lord has a sh*tty villain dad, who killed his sweet mother. It expanded on what we knew from the first film… and it made it all the more sad. It’s actually really tragic.
2. All The Credits Scenes
Vol. 2 went at it with credits scenes. There were so many credits scenes that it honestly felt like the movie was still going. All the credits scenes, guys! There were 30 credit scenes! Okay, there were really just five credits scenes, but that’s still a lot. In one scene, we see Kraglin trying to master the arrow and accidentally striking Drax, which means we may be seeing much more of Kraglin in Vol. 3. Is Kraglin a new part of the gang? This scene would appear to be saying yes, yes he is.
In another scene, we see Stakar Ogord (played by Sylvester Stallone) with his Ravagers team. This scene seems to be setting up for a spin-off, right? I mean, Sylvester Stallone ain’t just signing up for a cameo role. He’s signing up to star in his own Marvel film and we all know it. We also see Teen Groot, Stan Lee, and the mysterious Adam. Long story short, the credits scene were A LOT.
1. Set Up Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 had been announced prior to Vol. 2’s release, but there was no real information about it. James Gunn is signed on to write and direct, because duh. But, there is no release date. There are also no definite actors signed on, though we can guess who will be coming back. There was also no known plot… until now.
The credits scene set up “Adam,” who was being made in a birthing pod by the stuck-up golden woman. This is likely setting up Marvel’s Adam, who is a genetically engineered superhuman with cosmic powers… aka someone who is going to cause lot ‘o problems. Apparently, Gunn loves this Adam character and had originally had him in Vol. 2, but scrapped it because there was already so much going on. Well, it looks like we know our Vol. 3 villain, right?
Now, I’m going to go buy tickets to see it again just because I love Baby Groot so much. Also, does anyone know how I can actually get pregnant with a Baby Groot? Asking for a friend.