This is part of a series of blog posts, discussing my rewatch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe FOLLOWING my viewing Avengers: Endgame on opening weekend. If you HAVE NOT seen Endgame, I suggest you wait to read these posts as I will be mentioning and referencing plot points from the most recent film(s) including Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame.
15. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 (2017)
“That’s my point, Peter! What if this man IS your Hasselhoff? Listen, if he ends up being evil, we’ll just kill him.” - Gamora to Peter Quill about Ego.
Kurt Russell is perfectly cast in this franchise as the cocky, belligerent father of Peter Quill (with a 70’s heartthrob face). Also, the behind the scenes story of this character’s return to Marvel Studios (Ego the Living Planet was technically in the package with the Fantastic Four at Fox. They were busy working on Deadpool and wanted to use the name Negasonic Teenage Warhead, with a totally revamped power-set. So, they just traded. A similar deal was suggested once upon a time for an extension on the Daredevil rights (Marvel Studios wanted to get Galactus and Silver Surfer for the MCU and would allow Fox to extend their option on Daredevil). The Daredevil film didn’t end up getting made, Fox didn’t make the deal and eventually Marvel used DD on their own with Netflix. Now of course, ALL of this is moot as Disney has bought Fox now and controls the rights to ALL of these characters. It would have been very interesting to see where Galactus and the Surfer would have come into play in the last phase or two, but I rather enjoyed the Netflix Marvel Universe and Charlie Cox as Daredevil especially, so I’m glad things worked out like they did.
This film feels even more James Gunn than the last one did, especially in moments like Yondu zipping up in the window of the Sex-Robot brothel. Like, WHAT?!?! Or, when Rocket plays Road Runner to Yondu and the Ravagers’ Wile E. Coyote with ever-escalating hijinks. The culmination of this violence is probably Yondu and Rocket escaping the Ravagers with the upgraded fin. It's very fun but also incredibly violent for a Marvel film which generally avoids the specificity on damage to bad guys.
Michael Rooker needs to be our next topic. While he’s great in the first film, and I’ve already told you I love him in general, he shines here in a surprising way. First of all, he doesn’t enter the film at all until that aforementioned pants-zipping scene nearly halfway through the thing. But his storyline as the outcast Ravager and begrudging “daddy” to Peter is really the heart of this film though Kurt Russell gets the headlines. The MCU has dozens of characters like this. They exist in the films largely to support our leads but if given the opportunity you imagine they could easily hold down a movie on their own.
One hopes with the launch of Disney+ these characters can get series of their own, or at least heavy presences in the series of others. While you can imagine the budget would be pretty high set in space all the time, I'd absolutely be down for a Ravager series anchored by Yondu. I think Rooker is probably done with 8 hours of makeup a day too, but maybe an animated series?
As a big fan of the weirder cosmic stuff from Marvel comics I'm absolutely ready to see Adam Warlock who has now been teased in both films. I think it's a certainty that we'll meet him in Volume 3 if for no other reason than to have him available for the next big crossover storyline. He's just too good a cosmic character.
Finally, we have to talk about James Gunn's rehiring for this franchise. I understand why Disney parted ways with him at the time and I'm glad they all could make it work to move forward together now. Gunn is very talented and understands these characters superbly. It would be a great shame if he wasn't able to finish their arc.