The Fathers of Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2
What is the ultimate best Marvel movie of all time before May 2017? To me, the answer is super easy: Guardians of The Galaxy (GoTG). Not even the mighty Avengers can match GoTG in all aspects of a blockbuster movie: wonderful characters, gripping storyline, jokes a-plenty, music to hum along, and even subtle messages that you carry. I remember leaving the cinema witha 10-year-old grin. No other Marvel movies made me feel the same way, the closest would be the first Iron Man – even that falls way below GoTG. So when GoTG Vol. 2 finally came, I felt about wary. Hollywood does not exactly have excellent track record when it comes to sequels (to me, the only worthy sequels are: Aliens, Terminator 2, The Dark Knight), and I was really worried that the giant Marvel machine will ruin GoTG for me (like it did with Iron Man, Avengers, and so many others).
[MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED]
I have personal interpretation of the original GoTG. To me, the first’s theme was all about friendship. The movie painted beautiful idea of friendship between characters without the slightest thing in common (my review: Guardian of the Galaxy And Typology of Friends). So what does Vol. 2 talk about, through my eyes?
First of all, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Is the movie good? HELL FUCKING YEAH!! Director James Gunn and whoever wrote the script did fantastic job keeping the charm of the original. Yes they had to make things bigger and louder (hey, gotta to step up) – but the movie did not jeopardize characters, story, music, or even the message. Heck, this is one of the few action movies where the 3D is actually worth it.
So if the original GoTG is about friendship, what about Vol.2? To me, it is about family. I know, kinda cliche for family theme after the super-tacky Fast 8, but I find Vol.2 brings some fresh air to the subject through the angle of fatherhood.
In Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2, I find different type of fathers. And just like the first had different types of friends we can relate to in real life, so do I recognize different types of fathers symbolized in Vol.2. Who are they?
Ego. Or The Father Who Needs His Son To Extend Himself. The central character of Vol. 2, we are finally shown Peter Quill’s biological father. It does not take long from that cheesy energy ball catch play to the relevation of Daddy’s evil intent. Ego just wanted to propagate himself, and his son is just a means to the end.
I can find fathers in real life who are like Ego. Not as absurd as having built a planet with his sheer will, but nevertheless see their son/children the same way. His children are extension of his image, pride, identity. These are the fathers who force their children to follow certain path, to study what he wanted, to continue the business he has built, to become whatever he envisioned would make him proud, in the guise of “But I want him to have the best future!” These are the fathers who pay no regards to what his children truly want to be. They are the ones who will emotionally blackmail their sons if they stray from his scenario for them, with “You are an embarrassment to the family name” or “You have no gratitude for what I have provided for you”.
Do you recognize Ego the father in real life? Is he your father? Are YOU him?
Thanos. Or The Father Who Wreck Their Children By Pitting Them Against Each Other. There was not a glimpse of Thanos in Vol.2, but boy we feel his handiwork in his daughters Gamora and Nebula. While previously we were only shown Nebula as super evil, stone-hearted, kick-ass chick without a cause, Vol.2 touchingly showed she is just a (teenage?) girl whose soul has been wrecked by being constantly compared to her sibling. Daughters always look up to their fathers as their first love, so I can imagine the devastation when one is always told, “Why aren’t you like your sister?”, “Why can SHE do it and YOU can NOT?”, etc. Nebula is just a girl who has wanted a sister, not a competitor for her father’s love.
Can you see Thanos is real life? Do you ever feel like Nebula, being made to feel constantly inferior to your sibling? Does your father never seem satisfied with your achievement, and always play you down against your sibling? You may have Thanos for a father. Or maybe YOU play Thanos on your children – you enjoy pitting them against one another like a cockfight.
Rocket. Or That Foul-mouthed, Angry Dude Who Is Really Sweet Daddy Inside. Rocket is NOT a father character in the movie. On the surface, he looks like the least character fitting the father role. He was selfish, has criminal tendency, always irritable, just standard playbook douchebag. But if you looked carefully, he was acting as caring father to Baby Groot. Even in the middle of intense battle, he never let go of Baby Groot out of his sight, and readily tending to his needs.
In real life, Rocket would be those fathers who may not look the role on the surface. They may be rough, far from refined, even looks dodgy occasionally. You may trust them more as bouncer or debt collector than as fathers. But don’t let that hard skin fool you. Deep down they will come to their children’s aide in an instant if needs to be.
Can you see Rocket around you? Or were you fathered by one?
Yondu. Because True Paternal Love Is Thicker Than Blood.
And finally we come the last father of Vol.2. Yondu is Peter’s stepdad. The first GoTG did not paint a complete picture of him other than a roaming space bandit who ‘kidnapped’ Peter and raised him as his own. We were told that he was always mean to Peter, keeping him for his thieving gift, and occasionally threatened to eat him. Sounds like the kind of adoptive father you should report to Child Protection Service.
But as we approached the movie’s end, Yondu’s true heart was revealed. He was not Peter’s biological father, but contrary to Ego who used Peter as self-serving tool, we saw Yondu as wanting nothing more but his adopted son’s well-being. While Ego would not hesitate to sacrifice his own biological son for his personal glory, Yondu would not hesitate to sacrifice his own life so his adopted son would live.
Yondu shows us that pure paternal love is not defined by your biological lineage and genes. One can choose to love another as if his own child, and that is pure, and enough.
Do you see Yondu in real life? Or are you lucky enough to have your own Yondu by your side all this time? He may not be your biological father, but he loves you amd cares for you as if you were his own flesh and blood. And you are probably the luckiest ‘child’ in the world.