Haydn’s review published on Letterboxd:
I know this may seem like a bad time to write a review like this. Considering of all that has happened with James Gunn and how it affected with GOTG 3 in all, but I don’t care. I have been meaning to write a personal essay towards how GOTG 2 for a long time. So I’m going to do one anyway. Also some spoilers ahead.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is a film that really affected me. It’s a film that the more that I seen it and the more I reflect on it, the more I realize how deep core the film is based on its themes and the emotionally complexity it had under the neath all of the fun humor and cool music it had.
That’s because James Gunn simply use the characters we know and loved from the first film, and destructing not only themselves, but the ideas around the characters in order explore into heavy themes like childhood trauma, emotional/psychical abuse, the immaturity of one self, family issues, the act of selfishness, toxic mascualry, and finding peace amongst other people. Many of these themes you wouldn’t find in most blockbusters these days (let alone superhero films).
As I dive more into these themes the more I reflect about it, the more I realized I found these themes are not only ways to break down these characters, but also realized how personally relatable these characters are and how much they can connect to the viewer who’s watching this.
The characters in this are incredible and are all given much depth to make me emotionally resonate with them on a personal level. But by far the characters I mostly connect with are Peter and Rocket.
With Peter, he was thrown into the typecast ideal of this cool, badass leader who seems a bit idiotic but always bring a boast of condiment into his emotional enviably. But the second film dissects more into the emotional complex side of him with him being more emotionally tormented with the passing of his mother and getting caught up with the thought he has return with his father that he often pushes other people to the side line (including his friends and Yondu) for his own self pity-ness. It wasn’t until he realized that he has put his emotional instability of connecting to someone like him was always there despite of his family background and ultimately tries to be a better person in between witness his entire family die right in front of him (with his mom, his father Ego, and his daddy Yondu) and coming closer with other people (mainly with Gamora).
I never really had any REAL issues with my dad or any members with my family, but I always feels isolated and not fully matured within my emotions or know when to act correctly when it comes building relationships with other people. Even to the point where I start becoming more of an asshole than anything else. I also try to use pop culture references in order to fluency my lovable immaturity but also being blind siting within what else is going on with my life. As well as trying to be initialed with what society wants me to be like because it’s the the cool way to do. It almost puts me into in stages of anger and depression because of the thought of being alone, but thankfully I had friends (both on social media and in real life) who were there treating me like I’m apart of a family that sometimes I feel blind sited because of the too much anger and anxiety around me. But I learned not to have those thoughts affect my overall character of being proud of who I am and not letting my anger defend the nice, caring, funny, and sweet young man I was created to be.
Now with Rocket, he’s one of the most honest looks of emotional abuse and self-righteous individuals I have seen in film. He had to deal with people around him treating him like shit (whatever it’s physically or verbally) that defends what he does (which is basically act like an asshole and steal things for his own pleasures). He wouldn’t allow anyone to see more of his trouble and emotional side to his persona flesh out because of the constant needed to prove his own self worth that he’s better than everyone else regardless of what they think of him. It wasn’t until he starts building a relationship with Yondu, who understands everything Rocket is, because he was Rocket. Someone who was abused and treated horribly that reflects his character and has learned to overcome it (to a degree). The relationships showed how broken Rocket really is, and starts to change his views towards people other than himself, even when it breaks his heart to see people he cares for go away (especially towards his last moments with Yondu). And even during Yondu’s funeral, he starts to look back on Yondu’s life through the same vain as his own brokenness and is trying to make his life better from there.
I have placed different sort use of emotional abuse than other people. Sure there’s times where I get emotional abuse from other people, but a lot of it was done to myself. It was when I landed into a state of depression and self ignorant values where I tried to act more like an ass and pretentious of myself because I didn’t want to see people how broken I really was, using the self righteous attitude as mask to hide it all. It was even at the point where I almost wanted to kill myself because of this, but I didn’t. Because it was the self discovery through other people around my age (or a little older) that can see the emotional pain I go through, a broken soul who needs something (whatever it’s a savior or a spark of hope) to redefine my character despite of my emotional state and hopefully make me a better person at the end.
And that’s why I hold this film more closer on a personal level than any of the other films in the MCU (even more so than the first GOTG or Infinity War). It’s a film that understands what I went through whatever it’s with personal issues or how I dealt with other people, and how really defines my inner character. I still have a lot of growing up to do, but I’m glad that a film like that broke down iconic characters like the Guardians of the Galaxy and make them more human with personal struggles, but can still be noble and decent people who care for one another, have laughs and fun moments, and be there when someone needs them. Which I always view this as Magnolia meets Toy Story 2 with superheroes. One that knows how to keep the same lighthearted fun and enjoyment of the original, but also knows when to get emotional and dive more into personal struggles when needed to.
I don’t know where my life would be if this film hasn’t came out in a such a time in my life where things feel emotionally empty and in need of the support of loyal friends and family who cares about me. But I’m glad this film came out and show me my life through characters that feature a talking raccoon, a blue alien who acts like Mary Poppins, and Andy from Parks and Rec being a Space Lord. Regardless if GOTG 3 ever being made or not and the amount of new films coming out in the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will always remain as my favorite film in the MCU. I don’t know what it is life anymore.
Maybe it’s just.. some unspoken thing. But that unspoken thing changed my life. So thank you.