sholio: Starlord with raccoon on shoulder (Avengers-GotG-Starlord with raccoon)
Sholio ([personal profile] sholio) wrote2017-05-13 11:26 pm

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

So the fact that I now have a GotG icon probably tells you all you need to know about how I reacted to the movie. I did not go in expecting to love it. I actually was lukewarm on the first one (which, by the way, I am totally buying so I can rewatch it now, because Netflix does not have it streaming, the jerks).



I also think the trailer for this movie (the first teaser trailer, the Fox on the Run one) might be one of the best trailers I've ever seen, because it a) took me from "meh" to really wanting to see this movie, and b) did not actually spoil ANYTHING! I went into this completely unspoiled -- in fact, far less spoiled than I thought I was after seeing the trailer -- and I'm really glad. If watching things nonspoiled is your thing, I think you will enjoy having that experience.

Which means you will not want to click on the cut tag, because ALL THE SPOILERS are here.

Okay, so first of all, the thing about this movie is that it managed to hit a TON of my favorite trope buttons in completely unexpected ways. Obviously the "found family" thing is a gimme (though I was surprised by how sold I was on it by the end of the movie given that I wasn't completely sold on it in the previous one).

But there was a bunch of other stuff too! First of all, I absolutely adore the trope of choosing the imperfect, painful world over the perfect fantasy built on top of a chasm of horror, and everything with Peter's dad nailed that so hard: being offered not just a perfect fantasy of a happy family, but genuine godhood, and noping out hard once he realizes what accepting that godhood actually means for the galaxy and for him personally. And I love the way the movie develops the theme of "everything you wanted was there all along" -- a bickering family that was nothing like he imagined (but he loves these stupid assholes anyway), and a flawed father figure who loves him enough to die for him.

... Everything with Peter and Yondu. OH MY GODDDDDD. THE FEEEEEEELZ. I have to remind myself that Yondu is VERY FAR from "parent of the year", and he knows it, which makes it worse in a way ... and yet, in the end, he was there when Peter needed him, and they got to have their moment, and ... just FEEEEEELS, ENDLESS FEELS, help.

I also have way more feels than I was expecting about Peter, in general. I was kind of indifferent to Peter in the first movie, which I guess was one of the main things that made it hard for me to get into it. But I keep thinking about a piece of movie meta that someone (I think it was [personal profile] recessional?) posted afterwards about how Peter's entire persona is basically "peacemaker" and "caretaker" -- he's basically the team mom, and watching this movie just impressed on me really hard about how much of Peter is wrapped up in loving people, and wanting them to love him, and just trying to make the people that he loves be safe and happy. And now I have about a billion Peter feels (though I think Yondu edged him out as my favorite, because I am such a total sucker for someone who has done terrible things and doesn't think they are a good person but manages to hero it up anyway).

So there was that! But I also loved how this movie wasn't JUST Peter's daddy issues (though I enjoyed those) or even Peter and the Guardians' found-family thing. Every character had at least one important platonic relationship that got story development and its own little mini-arc: Yondu and Rocket, Gamora and Nebula, Drax and Mantis. I particularly loved that Drax and Mantis were explicitly platonic (in this movie, anyway - I guess it's possible future movies might go a different direction), because it started off hitting some unpleasant buttons -- childlike female character as potential object of sexual interest (there is a really great Youtube video on this trope which I cannot find because I can't remember what it's called -- FANDOM, HELP! - ETA: Born Sexy Yesterday - thank you, [personal profile] xparrot and [personal profile] yalumesse!), but then it didn't go that way at all! And yet, despite the fact that the movie makes it very obvious he is not sexually into her, he still makes friends with her, and is willing to die to save her at the end. Ultimately, in this movie, the one and only romance (Peter/Gamora - well, if you don't count Ego/Meredith) is actually an incredibly minor part of the movie; the fulcrum on which the movie's emotional heart rests is friendship, found family, and adoptive parenthood. The movie's ultimate message is that your birth family may be total irredeemable dicks and there's nothing you can do about it, but you can still build a whole world with people who love you enough to die for you, and I just spent the last half of the movie wallowing in that so hard.

(Extra bit of awesome: that Mantis and the Ravager first-mate guy, whose name apparently is Kraglin -- I had to look it up for the fic I wrote -- and even Yondu, posthumously, ended up becoming part of the Guardians, part of their new ship's crew. I love that it's not just the 5 of them; I love that others can be drawn into their family. Same thing I'm loving in S3 of Flash, actually -- that the "family" metaphor is explicitly drawn wide enough to include the "new" members of the family as well as the founding members.)

And then there's all the '80s nostalgia stuff, which the movie cranked up to pure camp AND IT WAS AWESOME. The music! The cameos! (Best David Hasselhoff cameo EVER.) The whole aesthetic of Ego's planet, and Ego himself, which was total '70s/'80s stoner sci-fi (Rodney Matthews/Boston album covers/every paperback fantasy novel of the era) at its most psychedelic. THEY DIGITALLY RECREATED 1980s KURT RUSSELL FOR THE EGO FLASHBACKS. I CAN'T EVEN.

Not all of the humor worked for me, but I loved that the movie was funny and entertaining and then it made those sudden left turns into massively serious stuff (the charnel house of dead children's bones; "I won't leave him behind - I won't leave you behind"; "He may be your father, but he wasn't your daddy") punch all the harder because it was such a sharp turn away from the humorous tone.

Also, because it was willing to be funny instead of dead serious all the time, it came across feeling more human that a lot of epic sci-fi does -- even stuff like the video game warriors on the planet of the gold people (I don't think I ever caught what they were called), who react to winning and losing in life-and-death space battle just like teenagers playing a game, because that is essentially what they ARE.

And this movie even ended up doing better than Marvel movies typically do with female characters, admittedly with an extremely low bar to clear, but out of 8 main characters (as I count them?) 3 of them were female, none of the three were "just" there as a love interest, and all of them got cool plot stuff to do and at least one important platonic relationship, including one lady-lady relationship that was a running thread throughout the movie. Low bar? Sure. But if you'd told me that GotG2 would actually be one of the best movies in the entire MCU franchise for female characters, I would not have believed you. And yet it was!

Finally, let me leave you with the one original song on the movie's soundtrack, in all its campy glory ...

xparrot: (gintama cuteness)

[personal profile] xparrot 2017-05-17 09:02 am (UTC)(link)
Gintama is on Crunchyroll, episodes and counting? (and when you reach the end of that you will be so anxious for more!) So yeah, when you have a little space in your fangirl soul it is waiting for you~~~

And GOTG - ahhh I want to rewatch the first movie and then see this one again! I really wasn't expecting it to be a favorite, either, but man they hit the found family trope so perfectly, and with everybody too (though the baby murder tree, come ONNNNNN...and then he's going to be a teenage tree, was that setting up GOTG3 yes please?!)(also love how they're all starting to understand "I am Groot" hee. Would be even better if they all learned to speak it, can you imagine, they all go on a job and all any of them are saying is "I am Groot"...)

One of the apparently infinitely many things I love about this movie is that there is not even a HINT that Peter - or Mantis for that matter - should try to love Ego or reconcile with him or make up with him once the true horror comes out. Obviously it's not a completely easy thing since both of them have various reasons for being bound to him, but the narrative sympathy comes down very strongly on the side of the abused kids, and I liked that. <3

The movie did a pretty effective contrast here, between Ego who is a truly horrible parent because he is entirely selfish and only cares about his children as extensions of himself, and Yondu who was in a lot of ways a terrible and abusive parent but who did genuinely care - even to the point of sacrificing himself for his child. It did a pretty good job of selling me on it, even though I really didn't like Yondu in the first movie (Just saw your long post on Tumblr about this...I like the 'rough parent who fucks up' type but it went a little past the abuse line for me. But then Yondu is an alien space pirate so, different standards? And knowing the backstory and that eating Peter really was just a joke...even if Peter didn't know it, oh man poor Peter...went a long way for me.)

(...also it makes me happy that GotG fandom can balance Peter and Yondu and like both of them and not vilify either even if they hurt each other, that is a pleasant surprise to hear! Definitely not the norm in my main fandom :P)