One of the problems the Marvel Cinematic Universe has is the music. Like a lot of modern blockbusters, the soundtrack is samey and easily forgettable. Sure, you could probably identify the Avengers theme, but could you identify Doctor Strange‘s main theme? Did that movie actually have one? It did, and it sounds like a more action-orientated piece from a Harry Potter movie, but the point still stands. The exception to this are the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, full of recognizable songs to go with the standard background music. But I think Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ups the soundtrack game compared to its predecessor. Welcome back to MCU March! Yeah, I’m going to talk about the music a lot today!
Regarded as heroes after the events of the first movie, the Guardians of the Galaxy accept a job from Ayesha (Ms. Elizabeth Debicki) of the Sovereign, only to anger her when Rocket steals a MacGuffin. On the run, our anti-heroes get help from Ego (Kurt Russell), a man and claims to be Peter’s father. He explains to Star-Lord that the small planet he lives on is actually his true self, and he manifests as a human. And sometimes as David Hasselhoff. While this is going on, Gamora and Nebula are dealing with their complex feelings of sisterly love and hatred towards one another, Drax and Ego’s attendant Mantis (Pom Klementieff) develop a bizarre friendship, and Rocket, Baby Groot, and Yondu have to deal with a space pirate mutiny. But things turn extra dangerous when Ego reveals that he wants to use Peter to transform every planet into an extension of himself, so that everything is Ego. Some light brainwashing almost has Star-Lord go with this but Ego killed Peter’s mom so that’s a nonstarter. In the end Ego implodes, but Yondu and Star-Lord are at risk of dying. Making up for being a bad father figure, Yondu sacrifices his life to save Peter, and gets a funeral worthy of a space pirate hero.
The film has four extra scenes, all of which are more flavor than anything important. The first is Sylvester Stallone reforming his team (more on that below). The second is Ayesha planning her revenge against the Guardians using her newly genetically engineered creation, Adam (a reference to Adam Warlock from the comics). The third is an aged up Teen Groot being a disaffected teenager. And the post-credits is Stan Lee talking with the Watchers, silent guardians who observe everything in the Marvel universe(s).
So, the music. It’s a fun detail that the characters in the movie are aware of the music and have grown to enjoy it. Rocket requests a particular song when he and Yondu deal with the mutineers, and Kraglin (Sean Gunn, writer/director James Gunn’s brother, who was in the first movie but has a much bigger role now) has a small moment where he’s just hanging out, singing along to Star-Lord’s Awesome Mix Vol. 2. But beyond that, the songs are bangers. Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” playing as Star-Lord has the final showdown with Ego is used damn near perfectly. The only thing that beats it in this whole franchise would be “Immigrant Song” in Thor: Ragnarok, so that’s pretty high praise.
COMIC BOOK FUN FACT! I threatened it in the Guardians of the Galaxy post, so let’s talk about the original Guardians of the Galaxy! First appearing in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969, nice), the Guardians were a team in the year 3007 who worked together to resist the Badoon–lizardy aliens–and their invasion of our solar system. The original members were stocky Charlie-27 of Jupiter, crystalline Martinex of Pluto, human Vance Astro of Earth, and archer Yondu from Centauri-IV. To avoid too much time travel shenanigans (they still happen), the current Yondu in the comics who is based off the MCU version is a distant ancestor of the 31st century Yondu. Later members included Stakar Ogord (who was the son of Ayesha), his wife/adoptive sister Aleta Ogord, Mainframe (who was originally Vision of the Avengers), and Krugarr, Sorcerer Supreme of the 31st century. Why list all those names? Well, because Sylvester Stallone was Stakar, Michelle Yeoh was Aleta, Ving Rhames was Charlie-27, and Michael Rosenbaum (AKA Lex Luthor from Smallville) was Martinex. Also Mainframe (voiced by Miley Cyrus) and Krugarr were there. A person could argue that Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 was actually a backdoor pilot for a movie about the original Guardians of the Galaxy! That person would be wrong, but still!
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