2 STARS – Conflicted Values
The non-stop action of James Gunn’s second film portraying this ragtag group of heroes is impressive. However, the snarky and sometimes crude conversations between them is deserving of its PG-13 rating. Based on humor and relationships that are junior high at best, the film nevertheless addresses issues of ego, love, courage, loyalty and family. The film also has an 80’s soundtrack that the boomer generation can enjoy.
The Guardians are an ensemble under the quirky leadership of Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt). We find that his unique abilities are due to his father, whom he does not know but meets in this film. His love interest is the green-skinned beauty Gamora (Zoe Saldana). The muscle of the team of Drax (Dave Bautista) whose ideas of beauty are reversed and the two anmated characters are Baby Groot (voice by Vin Diese) and Rocket (voice by Bradley Cooper). Baby Groot is a small moving clueless twig while Rocket is the sarcastic, amoral raccoon who has quips for everyone, but especially Quill.
The storyline is fairly simple, the Guardians have been hired to protect the “batteries” of the gold-skinned, genetically engineered, perfect Sovereign race governed by Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki). But when successful in doing so, Rocket steals some of the priceless energy sources and the Guardians become fugitives of the pursuing Sovereigns, a pursuit that never riska their own lives but has a fleet of craft piloted by a room full of golden gamers.
In the pursuit they are rescued by Ego (Kurt Russel), whose god-like powers are nevertheless true to his name, entirely self-serving with no regard for others. It is on the planet that is the creation of egomaniacal purposes that Quill learns Ego is his father and begot him to help him further his domination of the universe.
In this journey we find the usual moral complexity of self-serving power with its narcissistic delusions, but we also see the power of love and loyalty more than capable of being triumphant.
A film that has the right message but is mixed with sarcastic and immature humor is a conundrum. It may in fact reflect the real world in which we live in its science fiction analogy, but it is not a film we would recommend.
- When Yondu (Miachael Rooker) teaches Quill to control his god-like power not with his head but his heart, we recognize the message that intelligence cannot guide us in the use of power. It must be with the heart. However, the arrows of Yondu and the expansionistic plans of Ego both come from a destructive and murderous heart. How do we set the heart on love and not domination or destruction? How do you understand Yondu’s protection of Quill, was his heart divided?
- The sibling rivalry between Gamora and her sister Nebulla (Karen Gillan) seems to be based not only on their competition with each other but their father’s enjoyment of it. How much do you think a father’s shortcomings and sins impacted his children and their sibling relationships?
- The coming together as family at the end of the film is true. However, the implication is that families fight together and fight each other. Is this true in your experience?