When the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” blew into theaters in 2014 it was a breath of fresh air in the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU). The movies about various Avengers were getting darker and darker in their plot lines. Then comes along this tongue-in-cheek tale of a bunch of fugitives banding together to save the galaxy. They had just enough cynicism and irreverence that their interactions made the movie the funniest and most fun outing the MCU has seen and fans loved it.
Now we have Volume 2, another way-out-there story line but it hangs together because of the interaction of the Guardians, led by Star-Lord, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). Since saving the galaxy in the first movie, they are hired by the gold-skinned Sovereign to protect them from a huge tentacled beast. But it’s Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) who steals the show, rocking out to ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky in the film’s opening sequence. Trouble starts when Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) steals some of the Sovereign tech and the Guardians have to flee.
They’re saved by Ego (Kurt Russell) who reveals himself to be Peter’s father. A “celestial,” Ego has been searching for Peter who has always wondered about his Dad. With a name like Ego, you know that no good will come from him but it takes Peter a while to figure this out and he and the Guardians end up having to save the galaxy from his own Dad.
While the jokes were great and Baby Groot was absolutely adorable, the real focus of the film was family—blood family, adopted family, and friends who are more like family than actual family. While Peter is coming to grips with his Dad, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) deals with her sister, Nebula (Karen Gillan), who wants nothing more than to kill Gamora. When they are finally able to talk about why Nebula hates Gamora so much, Gamora is able to tell her side and they come to understand each other, and offer grudging forgiveness to each other. Yondu (Michael Rooker), the leader of the Ravagers, ends up with the Guardians and becomes an unlikely ally. As the one who raised Peter, he has some sage advice for Rocket who can’t seem to stop arguing with everyone, cutting himself off from the group.
Yondu recognizes that Rocket’s antagonism comes from feeling like he has to be mean and annoying in order to be noticed. That’s why he stole the Sovereign tech in the first place. Basically, Rocket acts like a spoiled teenager, acting out until he gets his way and driving everyone else nuts in the meantime. Yondu tells him that he doesn’t have to behave the way he always has because now he has a family, namely, the other guardians. They put up with all his shenanigans because they love him and consider him family. As he thinks about this, Rocket begins to see that he doesn’t have to act out because he has family. It will be interesting to see if Rocket becomes a little less antagonistic in Volume 3.
Rocket’s realization that he has people who love him and who he can call family might help us in our own relationships, whether with family or friends. We all know people who delight in being mean to others. Maybe all they need is someone to reach out and let them know they are loved and appreciated. It’s amazing how a little love can heal many wounds. Perhaps by treating a mean person with kindness and love, they will come to realize they can also be kind and loving.