How dysfunctional is your family?
Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
(M) Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper
Doing what they know best, the unlikely heroes Star Lord aka Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (David Bautista) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper), are saving the galaxy once more.
If you think I missed one guardian, I did because baby Groot deserves his own line. Yes Groot is back and is as cute as ever. To see little Groot dancing (in his ‘steal the show’ opening credits sequence) is enough to keep a smile on your face throughout the film.
Like most Marvel films — and in fact comic book films in general — even if you want a sequel or not you’re going to get one. Why? People love superheroes and in most cases that equals an easy win at the box-office (sorry, not you Green Lantern). For fans of the first film, this will be a welcome sequel delving into Quill’s back story and discovering his true parentage. The writers really tried to push the humour in this film, sometimes too much, where gaffs fell flat. The kind of humour that elicits more of head shakes than laughs. Thankfully, these awkward moments were saved by more laugh-out-loud moments, surprise cameos and an awesome soundtrack.
And not just any soundtrack, but The Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2 that kicks the 80’s nostalgia vibe into overdrive. Beware: This mixtape will be on repeat on your way to work or school for a while after the movie.
The Guardians is a type of family reunions special. Think reuniting sisters, father and son bonding. Even David Hasselhoff is thrown into the mix.
The meaning of family is the central theme threaded throughout the film. If you look at the Guardians themselves as a unit/team, they are also examples of a dysfunctional family. But really, is there any other kind?
Soon enough we’re introduced to one of the film’s most fascinating characters, Ego (Kurt Russell). After saving Quill and the Guardians from a galaxy battle, Ego reveals himself as Quill’s father.
Ego has more power than any being the Guardians have encountered; I mean the guy has his own planet. He explains that he is a god, although he puts the emphasis on the small ‘g’. The fact that he calls himself Ego should say it all for the type of being that he is.
However many parallels you may begin to draw with the introduction of this otherworldly father figure and the use of the ‘g’ word, this Ego character doesn’t come off as a criticism of Christianity or God. This is because in no meaningful way does Ego reflect God, especially as a father figure. God is more. God’s love for the world and all that is in it including His children is unparalleled. The same cannot be said for Ego. As his name suggests, his ultimate love is limited to himself.
Ego also grapples with the question of finding his purpose. This question is one that we are all faced with at some point within our lives.
There are no easy answers here and Vol. 2 doesn’t try to answer these, instead just posing the questions. Quill believes it is by understanding his true heritage that he will understand himself and in turn his purpose.
Yondu (Michael Rooker), who was relegated to the villain in the first film, is seen through a different gaze as a surrogate father, who took care of Quill for all those years, albiet in his unique and questionable way.
What Quill discovers is that family doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be blood related to show unconditional love and sacrifice.
As you reach the end of the film it becomes clear that you spend a lifetime searching in the wrong places for meaning and purpose, that often those answers have been in plain sight the whole time.
Unlike Ego, Quill’s journey of discovery challenges us all with the question: What is your purpose?
A place to start is with your faith. Understanding and questioning that spiritual side of yourself may open a path to realizing what your purpose is. There are no road maps or easy answers, but you are not journeying alone, because even though you may stray, God will never leave your side (Deuteronomy 31:6).