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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has finally arrived, and - to the shock of many - it actually wound up with one of the lower Marvel Cinematic Universe RottenTomatoes scores lately. That all being said, it's getting well-reviewed on the whole, albeit not quite as enthusiastically as its predecessor (which - to be fair - was helped by the surprise element).

And while the film holds together PRETTY WELL for being the story of a half-god, talking raccoon, baby tree-man, and a living planet, there are a few things that bother us.

WARNING! SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!

ALSO: HOW DID YOU NOT REALIZE THERE WOULD BE SPOILERS BASED ON THE TITLE TO THIS? C'MON DUDE. AND HEY - THE MOVIE'S PRETTY GOOD. I MEAN, I LIKED IT A LOT. YOU MAY NOT DIG IT AS MUCH AS THE FIRST BUT THE VILLAIN'S WAY BETTER AT LEAST.


1. Why does Ego's avatar age realistically?

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When we first meet Ego, The Living Planet, he's using the avatar of a CGI de-aged Kurt Russell (wearing one HELL of a wig) and looking pretty similar to what Kurt Russell actually looked like circa 1980. But when we see him in present day, he's gray and wrinkled and old - as one would expect Kurt Russell to look after 37 or so years.

But here's the thing: Ego's avatar is entirely his own creation - a false front that he can form and reform at a moment's notice. It's essentially just a light show - so it doesn't need to age at all, let alone in real time. Maybe you could make the argument that Peter would be expecting to see someone around Kurt Russell's age in order to accept them as his true father, but if that's the case (just using the avatar to appease Peter to better manipulate him), why not just appear as his made-up father, David Hasselhoff?

Speaking of...



2. Why would Ego appear as mid-60s David Hasselhoff?

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When Peter turns on Ego, he briefly toys with him by appearing as modern day David Hasselhoff - almost teasing him with what he "wanted" in a way similar to Colonel Klink appearing to Homer (when he didn't recognize Sir Isaac Newton):

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But here's the thing: modern day David Hasselhoff would not be that familiar to Peter, who last glimpsed the Knight Rider star in the late 80s. And since Ego can appear as anything he wants, why not appear as Peter's idealized version of his "father" - the same as the picture he carried with him?

Anyways, onto the IMPORTANT questions.



3. Does Drax even HAVE nipples?

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A long-running joke throughout the film is that Drax doesn't wear one of Rocket's jetpack vests because they bother his sensitive nipples (and then in the escape from Ego, we see his anguish over his nips gettin' rubbed raw up close and personal). But - does Drax actually HAVE nipples?

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I know Dave Bautista the human has nipples, but when in character as Drax, he has no visible nipples, as they're covered by paint and Drax's body art. If Drax DID have nipples and they WERE sensitive to this degree, how would he have gotten them covered like that? IT DOESN'T ADD UP.



4. Why did Ego need Mantis? Why did he need help sleeping?

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One of the bigger flaws in Ego's grand schemes is the presence of Mantis - a young, naive empath who helps Ego "sleep", and who (most importantly) is not really onboard with Ego's whole "murder countless children in the hopes of finding one who can help me conquer the galaxy" thing. Really, if you have an assistant, make sure they're gung-ho about your morally-questionable schemes before letting them hang around your temporary houseguests.

Of course, the movie tries to hand wave away Mantis' presence by saying that Ego needs her to help him "sleep" - which brings up a few questions, like "why does Ego's avatar need to sleep? Does it even get tired? It can literally be blasted apart and reform instantly, so the normal wear 'n tear of regular humans doesn't seem like it would apply." And - even if, for whatever reason, Ego's avatar DID need sleep - Ego wouldn't really need sleep all that bad, given he got along fine for MILLIONS OF YEARS (at a minimum) without Mantis. Ego is one of the oldest beings in existence, whereas Mantis is fairly young - what the hell was Ego doing for the countless eons before she showed up to act as his personal tryptophan dealer?

Of course, maybe Ego was just thinking ahead and realizing that Drax wouldn't have a whole lot to do if she wasn't around.



5. Why didn't Ego just try to FIND another Celestial to team up with instead of waiting millions of years and impregnating countless aliens (for a scheme he had no evidence would EVER work)?

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Ego's plan to take over the galaxy is a little complicated - he first had to spend ages planting single seeds on every planet in the galaxy, and then he had to bone a whoooooooooole bunch of rando aliens, and THEN hire Yondu to pick them all up individually, and THEN (this is getting exhausting) test them to see if they have "the light" within them (aka Celestial DNA), and THEN murder them when they didn't. And judging by the endless piles of bones in the caverns, Ego has been at this a LONG time, without too much to show for it.

The plan, pardon my Groot, frickin' sucks (except I didn't mean "frickin'" - this is a good reference to the movie, by the way, so please clap). Until Peter, Ego has NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that it's even POSSIBLE for him to pass along his Celestial DNA to his offspring. And this has supposedly been going on for...well, we're never really told how long, but we can presume "A LONGASS TIME." So...why wouldn't Ego just try to partner up with another Celestial?

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We know there are at least a few other Celestials in the MCU - from the skull of Knowhere to the Power Stone-wielding Celestial from The Collector's Infinity Stone-Explaining Video. Given Ego's resources, it probably would've been a lot simpler to try to find an existing Celestial (even though their numbers are diminished) instead of impregnating half the known galaxy for a plan that made no sense.

On top of that, what the hell has Ego been doing since 1988 - the year Yondu picked up Peter and failed to deliver him to Ego? Did Ego find ANOTHER Ravager to get into the child trafficking business? Or has he just been waiting patiently and doing nothing for the past 30 years?

And speaking of holes in Ego's plans...



6. WHY. THE. HELL. WOULD. EGO. TELL. PETER. HE. GAVE. HIS. MOTHER. CANCER?!?!?!

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Ego - for most of the movie - is not stupid. He knows exactly the right buttons to press to charm and manipulate Peter to his side, under the guise of a "loving dad" who just wants to reconnect with his long-lost son. He talks music, he apologizes for not being there for his mother's death, and he even plays catch with Peter. He knows what he's doing - right up until he reveals the truth about Peter's mom.

Hell, Peter isn't even putting up that much of a fight when Ego reveals his scheme to turn the entire galaxy into an extension of himself - sure, sucks for the galaxy, but at least he gets a relationship with his dad, right? Well, Peter probably wouldn't have been super into much of that, but it REALLY snaps into focus when Ego casually remarks that he gave Peter's mom the brain tumor that ultimately killed her.

WHY WOULD HE DO THAT? He already knows Peter's mother's death is his most sensitive topic and there's really NO reason he has to tell Peter that he is personally responsible for the most traumatic event in Peter's life. Yet, like a basic-ass villain who plays by the bad guy tropes a little too closely, he goes and reveals a crucial truth that blows his entire manipulation scheme instantly.

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PS - also, why would he give Meredith Quill BRAIN CANCER? That's a slow, awful, PAINFUL way to kill someone. If he just loved her too much and knew he had to permanently separate himself from her, why not just....blow her up or give her a heart attack or something instantaneous that wouldn't have much suffering?

...I'm beginning to think this "Ego" guy is kind of a dick.



7. Why does Ego keep the skeletons of all of his dead kids in the caverns?

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Hey Ego, maybe - uh - just from a "leaving way too much evidence" standpoint it would be good to clean up the MASS GRAVE OF YOUR KIDS' BONES you have hidden under the surface of your planet. But also, just from a practical standpoint, couldn't you just have evaporated your kids or something so their bones wouldn't be chilling on the planet (which is you, by the way) forever?



8. So - does Sylvester Stallone exist in the MCU? If not, who starred in Rocky?

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In one of the film's best cameos (mainly due to the post-credits payoff), Sylvester Stallone shows up as Ravager leader Stakar. And while many other famous individuals show up in the MCU (like Kurt Russell!), none have also been prominent actors mentioned within the MCU...until Sylvester Stallone:

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Yep, Captain America's pop culture catch-up list explicitly reminds him to watch Rocky (and Rocky II) - but who starred as Rocky in the MCU? Was it Sylvester Stallone? Or is Stakar someone who just happens to look identical to Sylvester Stallone?

Note: I'm not at all confident that there hasn't been another actor in the MCU who was mentioned or one of their biggest films mentioned, but it SEEMS like Stallone is the first. However, it would be pretty rad for Marvel to cast Kevin Bacon as Adam Warlock just to fuck with Peter Quill's mind.



9. Uh, did Kraglin implant Yondu's fin into his skull?

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In one of the FIVE post-credits sequences (that are all fun and surprising, for various reasons), Kraglin - the last remnant of Yondu's Ravager faction - toys around with Yondu's arrow, using his fin to control it (and then stabs Drax in the chest and runs off). The weird thing was that Yondu's fins were actually embedded into his skull - not simply worn on top. They appeared to be somehow connected to his brain, which helped him control his flying arrow weapon (the Yaka Arrow, in case you were interested).

If you COULD just wear these fins without surgically-inserting them into your skull, it'd be even WEIRDER that Yondu clearly did just that.

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And since Kraglin IS wearing the fin and utilizing the Yaka Arrow at the end, are we supposed to assume he actually implanted the fin into his skull like Yondu did? That's a pretty gross AND permanent move for a dude who just wanted to goof around with his buddy's super-arrow.



10. How quickly does Groot actually grow?

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James Gunn specifically set Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 just a few months after the original film (instead of keeping it in real time, like pretty much all other Marvel films) specifically so he could continue using the Baby Groot seen at the end of the first film. And it was probably a smart move - not only is Baby Groot adorable and the focus of some of the movie's funniest sequences, but Marvel is gonna sell a SHITLOAD of merch.

That all being said, the main issue is: how quickly does Groot grow? His growth between the end of the first film and the beginning of the second is pretty minimal - taking Groot from a legless "baby" (let's call it a newborn) to a precocious, legged baby (so, let's say maybe the equivalent of a 2 year old).

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And yet in a post-credits sequence, we see that Groot has passed by his adolescent stage altogether and is firmly in TEEN GROOT territory. Which means...is that post-credits sequence set YEARS after the rest of the film? If we assume Groot ages about "1 year" (in human equivalency terms) for every 1.5 month (assuming Baby Groot is the equivalent of a 2 year old and the film takes place 3 months after the first), then Teen Groot (age 16) would come about after EXACTLY 2 years.

So it's possible, but really unclear - evolving Groot into his teen-form may just be the visual indicator we need to know that GotG has caught up with the rest of the Marvel universe, timeline-wise, to get everyone in place for Avengers: Infinity War?

Either that, or James Gunn just knew the Teen Groot joke would be worth it (and yeah, it was).



11. And finally - how the hell did James Gunn turn GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY into the most emotional, personality-filled franchise of the MCU?

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James Gunn is a cool-seeming dude - although I'm incredibly biased towards anyone who got their start at Troma and somehow worked their way into becoming one of the most commercially-successful directors working today. With Guardians of the Galaxy, he's managed to make a franchise filled to the brim with weirdness and the kind of wackadoo cosmic craziness that no one really expected to ever become a part of the more 'grounded' MCU - and he's managed to make it emotional, personal, and full of good humor (and GREAT music). It's legitimately shocking - he took a group of C-list characters and made them competitive with the likes of Spider-Man and Batman at the box office.

And he's still keeping in constant communication with the fanbase - check out his open letter to fans everywhere at the release of GotG Vol. 2:

I've spent the past two and a half years making a film - probably a good 95% of my non-sleeping life during that time - and sometimes it seems it all comes down to these few weeks of release in theaters. Let me tell you, it's harrowing.

The movie is doing incredibly all over the world - up nearly fifty percent over the first film in most territories, and a breakout hit in countries where it didn't do as well the first time around (hi, Korea!)

I'm exceptionally proud of how well it's doing in the countries I've visited and where I've made many friends the past few years - Thailand, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, the UK. You've all welcomed me into your countries and I'm a better person for my interactions with you.

So, as we open up around the world, I would be lying if I said I don't get distracted by the numbers. The first thing I do in the morning is roll over in bed and check my phone for the morning box office reports.

But, in the end, it's not what matters to me. I write this now to let you know, but also to remind myself. Because I'm human and I sometimes forget.

When I was young I felt utterly alone, at times to the point of suicidal thoughts. I never felt like I belonged, had an incredibly difficult time connecting to other people and, despite having love around me, I had an impossible time experiencing it, or taking it in.

But I found my respite in popular entertainment - Marvel comics, science fiction and horror films, the music of The Sex Pistols, The Replacements, and Queen. Suddenly I could see past the bland suburbs where I lived into a more magical world, a world more aligned with what I imagined. Sometimes these works were simply escapist fantasies that distracted me from the difficulties of my internal life. But other times, in the strongest moments - maybe through the words of Alice Cooper or Freddie Mercury, through Cronenberg films, or even in Chewbacca's growl, I experienced something deeper - the realization that I wasn't completely alone. Someone out there was as weird and strange and whacked out as I was.

So this morning, as the internet discusses box office and its many theories around what that means (zzzzzzzz), I'd like to remember that that's truly all nonsense and noise. The only meaning the money holds for me is that I can pay my mortgage, feed my dog and cat, and continue making movies. I haven't worked two and a half years just to watch a string of numbers getting higher.

I work because I like telling stories. I work because I love the relationships I have with my collaborators. And I do it because I like connecting with people, and the easiest way I know how to do that is through filmmaking. I do it so that some kid in Thailand, or England, or Colombia, or Brazil, or Japan, or Russia, or anywhere, can hear the frequency of his or her own heart bouncing back off the Guardians.

They're a group of heartbroken misfits whose lives have been bereft of tenderness and connection and who have a nearly impossible time trusting themselves or others. But they're learning, one step at a time.

They are me. They are you. We are Groot.

And no matter how much world leaders are telling you we aren't in this together, we are. You are not alone.

Thank you so much, my Facebook friends, for supporting me over the past two and a half years, and thank you for all the messages letting us know we've keyed into the frequency of your hearts. I love you all, and I'll continue being here with you over the next three years as we create Vol. 3.



❤️

James

And - on top of all of this - he's managed to make a more mature, more interesting film this time around - and even make somewhat forgettable side-characters like Nebula and (especially) Yondu feel incredibly important and put us as an audience totally invested in their journeys.

Seriously - if you told me YONDU was going to serve as the emotional crux of the film AND that he would knock it out of the park, I wouldn't have believed you. And if you also told me he did that on top of having the biggest laugh of the movie ("I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!"), I would probably just walk away because you were talkin' nonsense. And yet, here we are.

Thank you, James Gunn. Thank you for making a weird, great movie (and reminding people how good 'Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)' is).