Well folks, it’s that time of year again. James Gunn’s sequel to his 2014 smash is finally out everywhere Marvel movies play (well, everywhere except Japan; they get it next week), and as usual, it’s time to talk spoilers. If you aren’t caught up yet, you can check out our review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here and Scott’s wonderful article about Michael Rooker’s Yondu here, and you can also expect another deep-dive or two on some other characters later in the weekend. Clearly the folks at BMD have thoughts about this movie, and we’re pretty certain you do too. It was really something, huh?
So without further ado, let’s get into spoiler territory!
Spoiler warning, obviously.
First things first, despite this being a relatively isolated entry into Marvel pantheon, it does a hell of a lot to expand on the concepts found in the Marvel cosmos while setting up some interesting prospects for the future. Chief among them: some of the original comicbook Guardians from the 1960s!
We already knew Sylvester Stallone and Michael Rosenbaum would be showing up as known cosmic players in Vol. 2, and some of us had even guessed Stallone could be Starhawk – then again, I guessed about a dozen other characters as well, so we all owe James Gunn a $5 contribution to Rainforest Trust. Rosenbaum shows up early as well, playing Starhawk’s Plutonian second-in-command and fellow Guardian OG, extremely shiny man Martinex T'Naga. Pretty cool, right? But what most of us didn’t expect in a million years began to come together in the film’s closing moments before culminating one of its post-credit scenes, and boy oh boy was it exciting.
The 31st century Guardians are leaders of different Ravager factions in the MCU, and it appears the band is getting back together. Who is the band made up of, exactly? Well, Stallone’s Starhawk and Rosenbaum’s Martinex to start with, but also:
- Krugarr, a red serpent and future Sorcerer Supreme (yes, as in Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme)
- Mainframe, originally an Iron Man A.I. based on Tony Stark’s brainwaves, here an emotive android voiced by Miley Cyrus
- Charlie-27, a big, brutish space pilot played by Pulp Fiction’s Ving Rhames
- Aleta Ogord, Starhawk’s wife in the comics, a badass looking mercenary played by Michelle effing Yeoh
How cool is that? Yondu appears to have once been a member of this crew, so the “original” Guardians of the Galaxy still preceded the modern team that made it to the movies. Now there’s a spinoff I’m sure we’d all like to see, and I’d be surprised if they don’t play a major role in some Guardians film somewhere down the line given the big names attached. Seriously, Michelle Yeoh in a Marvel movie!
As for cameos, boy oh boy, how refreshing is it to actually get a Stan Lee appearance that actually feels worth the distraction? Granted, it’s precisely because of all the previous ones that his cameo here works. Fans have been theorizing that the reason he’s able to show up everywhere something important goes down is because he’s one of the Watchers, a race of ancient observers who oversee pretty much everything in the universe. Well, that theory was about 50% dispelled. Stan Lee is explicitly not one of the Watchers. He’s some kind of inter-dimensional tourist, but given his recollection of his multiple appearances, it appears he is in fact the same person in each role! That’s pretty cheeky, but what’s even more cheeky is confirming he isn’t a Watcher by having him narrate his experiences to the Watchers themselves.
That is a BIG concept to just drop in the middle of a Stan Lee cameo, and I’m downright impressed by how it wasn’t even a big deal. For those that don't read the comics, while the Watchers don’t actually do anything for the most part (except maybe Uatu, who fights Galactus alongside the Fantastic Four) their presence usually heralds the arrival of massive characters and storylines, like the Celestials and Earth X. So while they’re technically adjacent to all the Ego stuff, events they’d normally record and observe, they spend the movie listening to the ramblings of Stan Lee! It’s so bizarre that the Marvel movies have progressed to a stage where you can just throw them into the movie for thirty seconds as a joke because there’s so much other big stuff happening.
There are a couple more Easter eggs here and there – Howard The Duck pops back up, and we also get our first look at Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster ahead of Thor: Ragnarok during the credits – but the one that feels like it’s going to have the biggest impact on the MCU is currently the being created by Sovereign villainess Ayesha. She’s hell-bent on genetic perfection, and during the credits she gives this new project a name: Adam. As in Adam Warlock. As in the entity who helps defeat Thanos and subsequently wields the Infinity Gauntlet.
You know what though, there’s still every chance he won’t show up in Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel. It’d be neat to follow the events of the comics, but the MCU has already established just how far out of the way it’s willing to go in order to do its own thing. I mean, The Vision is an avatar of J.A.R.V.I.S. (who was an actual butler until the movies, in fact) and his forehead even houses an Infinity Stone. In the comics that’s a luxury reserved for Adam Warlock, so maybe he’s being introduced for some Annihilation-esque storyline down the road. And besides, we already have plenty by way of folks for whom killing Thanos would be dramatically satisfying – among them, Gamora, Nebula and Drax – and plenty of other characters who we’re already invested in without things getting overstuffed… Then again, Warlock’s introduction just prior to Infinity War doesn’t seem random, so who knows!
Are there any other cameos or Easter eggs you’re eager to discuss? Perhaps a setup for a future film, or even just a regular spoiler you really want to talk about? Sound off below!