Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Guardians are back, adding Kurt Russell (he was Colonel Jack O’Neil in the first Stargate movie [before Richard Dean Anderson took over in the series], and opposite Goldie Hawn in Overboard) as Ego, with an appearance by Sylvester Stallone as Stakar.
The film opens in Missouri, 1980, where we meet Peter’s mother, as well as his father, though we should note that there is something alien in the field. Meredith is so pleased to find a spaceman. Quick jump to thirty-four years later, and Peter is on a job with the other Guardians, with their usual antics. Dancing baby Groot distracts us from the fight going on behind him. They technically complete the job, but Rocket steals something from their client, which sends a fleet of ships after the Guardians, who still bicker and now have Nebula with them as a prisoner. Rocket and Peter argue over who is the better pilot and they are only saved by the intervention of a new ship. They crash land onto Berhert, where the other ship lands as well and their savior introduces himself as Ego, Peter’s father. He invites Peter to his home planet to explain everything. Gamora and Drax go with Peter, while Rocket and Groot remain with Nebula to fix the ship.
Meanwhile, Yandu and his Ravengers are partying (well, Yandu isn’t partying as much), then he meets another Ravanger, Stakar, who calls Yandu out for some of his prior jobs, including kidnapping young Peter. He’s exiled, but manages to pick up another job, which is to find the Guardians of the Galaxy for their botched job. He finds Rocket, who handles the crew pretty well with a myriad of traps, but Nebula manages to get free and sides with the crew that mutinies against Yandu for going soft (he’s just smart enough to not kill the Guardians of the Galaxy). Nebula makes a deal with the new crew so she can hunt Gamora and kill her, then track down Thanos and kill him. Yandu, Rocket, and Groot manage to escape, aided by Kraglin and go after Peter.
Ego shows off his planet to Peter, Gamora, and Drax, and they meet his…companion Mantis, who uses her empathy to help Ego sleep. Peter already doesn’t trust Ego, but as Gamora puts it, “if he ends up being evil, we’ll just kill him.” But Ego’s planet is beautiful and full of life. Ego reveals he’s a Celestial; in essence, a god, small “g.” He doesn’t quite know where he came from, but he’s been around millions of years. He can control the molecules around him and in the planet and eventually formed himself into a human. He didn’t want to be alone in the universe and eventually met Meredith Quinn on Earth. When he discovered she had a son, he searched the galaxy for him, then heard of a human who could hold an Infinity Stone without dying and knew Peter must be part Celestial. He swears to Peter that he wanted to be a father; Peter is not a mistake. And he wants to teach Peter about the light. But Peter is still mad that Ego left and never came back. They partially make up when Peter is able to make a ball out of light and they play quintessential catch for a few minutes.
Peter is happy and even persuades Gamora to dance with him for a few minutes, then she ends up insisting that there is nothing between them. And Mantis is hiding something from the heroes. Nebula tracks down Gamora and they start fighting each other, then Nebula’s ship crashes and Gamora ends up saving Nebula. Nebula finally shouts at Gamora that all she wanted was a sister; it was Gamora who was focused on being better and the victor. During their argument, they find skeletons and have to make it back to the surface.
That’s where Ego is sharing his plan with Peter. Peter is immortal as long as the light lives in the planet. And Ego wants to spread throughout the galaxy. In this Expansion, he planted thousands of extensions of himself (that weird alien planet from the beginning) on thousands of planets, with the intention that they will cover all that exists. But one Celestial does not have enough power on their own. So he needs Peter. Mantis explains to our heroes that the bones the sisters found are Ego’s previous children, none of whom shared the Celestial gene; only Peter. And Peter’s initially taken by Ego and on board with the plan until Ego admits he was the one who put the tumor in Meredith. Peter is furious. He tries shooting Ego, but Ego just reforms and spears Peter in order to use him as a battery. One Earth, that plant bursts into a giant black wave that begins engulfing the town.
Yandu and the rest of the Guardians crash in. Yandu admits he couldn’t hand Peter over as a child after he heard about what happened to the others. Peter grudgingly forgives him and they focus on destroying Ego, meaning they have to strike at the center of the planet in order to kill him. Mantis helps the Guardians by putting Ego to sleep, which works for a few minutes. When he wakes up, he tries to crush Peter’s friends, continuing to insist that this is Peter’s purpose in life. But Peter fights back, remembering the good times he’s had with his friends (even a brief clip of Yandu teaching a young Peter something), and his friends are released. He continues to hold back Ego, growling that he shouldn’t have killed his mom. Groot sets a bomb, but it still looks hopeless for the Guardians, with the planet falling apart around them. Rocket gets everyone on the ship and takes off, without Yandu and Peter, saving his friends. They all demand to know about Peter. Peter is fine not being a god and watches Ego disintegrate. Yandu is there to save him, using the jetpack himself, but putting the protective bubble on Peter when they hit space. Yandu freezes, but Peter lives.
They hold a Ravanger funeral for Yandu, whom Peter finally admits was his dad. The life he was always looking for was right there. Gamora asks Nebula to stay and they even hug, admitting they will always be sisters. But Nebula wants to hunt down Thanos and leaves. The other Ravangers come for Yandu’s funeral and everyone is fairly content.
This movie is about family; yes, Peter finally solves the problem of who his biological father is, but he also accepts other people in his life as family. And the Guardians feel the same way, considering they demand to know where Peter is before they leave. And I like that Peter is a little more serious in this film. There are plenty of jokes cracked to keep the humor we know from this crew, but Peter doesn’t pass everything off as a joke. He honestly wants to know this man who calls himself Peter’s father, but is also smart enough to not immediately trust him. And he truly cares for Gamora and Gamora eventually returns his feelings. Everyone experiences character growth (which is what you want in a sequel).
I’m looking forward to Next Time, we have Spider-Man: Homecoming