Road to Endgame: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is a Soulful Space Opera About Cycles of Abuse and the Road to Change

/Film | 4/12/2019 | Siddhant Adlakha
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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 occupies a noteworthy place in the Marvel Universe, thanks to both its unique dramatic focus and to the real-world firing of James Gunn. The returning writer-director had, by this point, carved out a unique blockbuster space to discuss thoughtful ideas. The rest of the Marvel series was largely Earth-bound and linear; it focused on men who needed to come to terms with non-specific paternal grief, and whose arcs, more often than not, culminated in punching bad guys. Here, Gunn was given the freedom to tell a story that, while Thanos-adjascent, had little to do with the larger narrative of the Infinity Stones. The only ways it set up future installments were rooted in character.

While Gunn was recently re-hired for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, his haphazard ousting by Disney last year over decade-old shock humour (initially dug up by bad-faith actors upset at his political opinions) was inadvertently reflected in the themes he explored with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The film is oodles of fun, but its first three scenes dramatize a complex mission statement.

Film - Scene - Years - Past - Romance

The film’s first scene, set 34 years in the past, features a budding romance between Ego (Kurt Russell) and Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock), later revealed to have twisted implications. One extreme of film’s thesis is born here, solidified later through revelations about Ego’s sinister plan. Though, the twist in the tale is not that this love was a façade, but that it was real, despite existing alongside something aberrant.

Following this prologue is the Guardians’ raucous reintroduction in the present. The scene is built around a digitally assembled long-take that articulates, through its visual framing, the kinder extreme of the film’s thematic spectrum. Now guns for-hire, the Guardians battle a tentacled inter-dimensional beast in a scene bursting with...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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