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Volume 2 Bonus Track

As it turns out, I have a bit more to say about the second Guardians of the Galaxy film. After a rewatch I'd rate the movie a notch or two higher than what I wrote in my previous post, mostly because its craft and attention to detail became more apparent the second time around. 



CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD!

First of all, the use of "Brandy" in the film approaches genius and just that little bit of foreshadowing really helps sell the way Ego manipulates his son. Later in the film Ego tells Quill that he is a 'sailor,' and that while he loved his mother, he also knew that Meredith Quill would 'steal him from the sea.' In his first discussion, Ego suggests that the 'sea' is simply a metaphor for his need to travel, his urge to explore. The idea of a planet-sized celestial seizing upon the ethos of ramble-rock makes a twisted sort of sense but that metaphor as simply a step up to Ego's true intention. What Ego thinks is that the 'sea' is really the portion of the universe which is heart-breakingly not him. Meredith's selfless love for Ego is recast as an impediment to his need to control and consume the known universe. That a catchy earworm from the 70s is used to impart this bit of toxic masculinity lends these scenes a complicate bit of emotions: the scenes are simultaneously cheesy, hilarious, affecting, and sinister. I know this is a comic book movie, but honestly I wish more movies had the courage to invest as much meaning and drama in the words of a forgotten pop song.

I also like the highly specific way Ego creates his world. While certainly impressive, there is an elaborate cheesiness about the decorations and style, as though Ego had spent a vast amount of time perfecting each gilded filigree. This is the style of narcissists and man-children, and serves as a early visual cue that Ego is not to be trusted. Ego might have as well slapped his own name on the planet with big gold letters.

On to one smaller point that a writer or other creative type could learn from. The introduction and use of the emergency space suit. This plot element is introduced very early in the film when Drax suits up and goes extravehicular to blow away a Sovereign pursuit craft. It's a throwaway gag, pure and simple.

But.

It's not only that - because the suit makes a much more impactful reappearance in the final reel when Rocket hands Yondu the suit. I think what impresses me about this is that you might not even notice how the details of this suit have already been established early on in the film. There's no need for elaborate exposition - the audience knows what the suit is and how it works. This fairly important element of the plot is already embedded in the audience's knowledge during act one. One of the reasons this climax of this film works so well, for me, is that almost everything moving, shooting, exploding, or whatever has already been introduced early on. The entire movie very carefully shifts all of the pieces into place and lets them do their thing without having to slow anything down. We know the Sovereign will do just about anything to kill the Guardians. We know that the core has got to be destroyed. We know that Baby Groot is not the best at following directions.

I'm not writing this to suggest Guardians is the greatest movie since Citizen Kane or anything, only to point out that when comparing comic book movies, particularly Marvel ones, attention to details like this, and respect for the audience really make a tremendous difference. If you want to have the standard super hero final spectacular battle make sense, make sure you explain all the pieces well before they start exploding.
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