Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a film about a team of, well, space guardians, who fight a planet. Literally. An entire fucking planet. But this all starts after Guardians leader Peter Quill is approached and found by his father, Ego.
After a childhood with David Hasselhoff as his pretend-father, Quill finally got to spend time with his real father. They play catch with a ball made from Quill’s God-like forming abilities. It’s touching. For like 20 minutes. Cause then we find out Ego’s plan is to use Quill’s Celestial powers to terraform the rest of the galaxy.
Which you’re probably like that sucks, but at least Ego is spending quality time with his son, right? I mean, sure. If you consider using your child for evil purposes “quality time.” Then yes, they had that.
But keep in mind, Ego roamed the galaxy impregnating countless species of women in hopes of gaining a child with access to the Celestial power (which none of them did, so he killed them all), claimed to love Quill’s mother, Meredith, only to abandon them after getting her pregnant, killed her by implanting a tumor in her head because she was a distraction to his mission, and then used Yondu, a smuggler, and thief, in hopes of retrieving Quill.
Presumably to use Quill’s Celestial power. Which he might not have possessed by that point, resulting in him being killed, too. So yea, to hell with that “quality time” foolishness.
Anyway, once Quill realizes Ego is a shit dad, they fight. But Quill has help from his friends and fellow Guardians (who are like family), and Yondu who is like a dad after helping Quill survive his teenage and young adult years (even if it was as a criminal). And with that, they work together to kill Ego who, may I remind you, is an entire FUCKING PLANET!
While Guardians Vol. 2 is just as much about intergalactic adventure, Quill being steps away from mating with a gold woman (cause the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree), and Rocket having the feels, it’s also about how one man’s life is defined by not knowing his father.
I was fortunate to have my father be an active part of my life. Which shouldn’t be a big deal. I mean, a father is a father, he is supposed to be there. Right? Well yes, technically, but no, that doesn’t always happen. It’s a weird thing I learned growing up with friends whose fathers were not around.
My friends enjoyed hanging out with me AND my dad. And not because my dad was the “cool dad” per say. He was far from it. Rather, he was a dad-like figure for a group of friends lacking one, or two, or several.
There wasn’t a man around to discuss girls, school, jobs, hard decisions, or just general man stuff. So my dad became that man for them. And looking back now, I realize how lucky I was. I got to have my dad 24/7. My friends were just happy to have him for a couple of hours.
I don’t know how it felt to be them. I don’t know what it felt like to navigate life as a teenager without a father. I don’t know how that ultimately defined them as they became adults. What journey awaited them as they tried to find an identity in not knowing their identity at all?
Quill spent his life making up fathers, wondering how someone could leave his mother, was left alone to watch her die, and became the galaxy’s delinquent in a life lacking purpose or direction (as we’re told most fatherless boys do). Ego wasn’t there for any step of that road. And when the day finally came for Quill to meet his dad, Quill finds out this dude ain’t shit and never was.
That had to hurt, and I always imagined that was the road my friends were staring down: one of pain, mistrust, anger, glimmers of hope only to be followed by frustration and disappointment. I imagined life without a father being a tougher road than it needs to be. And they would find that a man who passed on being a father to his kid, passed on protecting and cultivating them, probably wasn’t shit anyway.
But I always hoped their lives didn’t have to turn into shit because of it. They didn’t have to become the very men that abandoned them. They could become great men, husbands, fathers, professionals, citizens, whatever in spite of not having a living, breathing example of what one looks like.
Guardians Vol. 2 is the story of Quill finding his identity. And not just in finding out whose seed he emanated from. But also learning his biological identity says little about the person he is. He may not have known who is dad was, but that never precluded him from being the man he always wished was there for him.
I think that’s why my dad wanted to be available for my friends at that time. Because he had the exact same hope for them. The odds in our culture say those guys have probably used crime as a means of survival, struggling to make the kind of life for themselves that they once desired. I hope my dad taught them enough to help them realize that doesn’t have to be true.