The highly-anticipated sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy is finally here! Opening in the US to a whopping $145 million, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is already well on its way to the stars, and with an estimated $427.6 million worldwide, it shouldn’t be long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe is boasting another billion-dollar behemoth.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is jam-packed with awesome, out-of-this-world moments that fans are sure to be talking about for weeks, maybe even months to come. While it’d take light-years to list all of them, there are some that definitely deserve to be singled out for helping make GotG 2 one of the MCU’s best sequels to date. Here are the 10 best moments from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
Sisters In Arms
In the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, one of the subplots that was touched upon, but largely ignored, was the nature of the relationship between Thanos’ adopted daughters – Nebula and Gamora. Sure, tensions were teased when Gamora was chosen to retrieve the Orb from Peter Quill instead of Nebula, and there was the dramatic fight between the two sisters aboard Ronan’s ship, but that was pretty much the full extent of their arc. In GotG 2, though, Nebula’s character is far more developed, stemming largely from the reveal of the true reason behind her animosity towards her sister.
When Nebula and Gamora were young, the Mad Titan Thanos would force the girls to battle one another, with the loser forced to have a part of their body replaced with cybernetics to make them more “equivalent” to the victor. After a devastating battle in which both sisters go for the jugular on more than one occasion, Nebula explains that while Gamora – the more skilled fighter of the two – just wanted to avoid defeat at all costs, all Nebula truly wanted was her sister.
Not only does this revelation lead to a brief, yet touching reunion between the sisters, but it also plants seeds for Nebula’s potential role in dealing with the Mad Titan in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War.
Original Guardians Teased
If you think that Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot were the first to hold the title of Guardians of the Galaxy, you’d be forgiven. After all, this iteration of the team is the one that most fans are familiar with today. However, long before the Guardians we know and love took flight, there existed a team that bore the same name, but a wildly different roster and that very team was teased in one of the film’s post-credits scenes.
Early on the film, we’re introduced to Stakar Ogord – the character played by Sylvester Stallone, who most comic book fans know as Starhawk. At his side is the crystal-skinned Martinex, played by Smallville alum Michael Rosenbaum. The characters would later return during Yondu’s funeral, in a scene that would also cut to various other small factions of Ravagers in their respective ships, including the likes of Charlie-27 and Aleta Ogord. Finally, in one of the post-credits scenes, Stakar, Martinex, Charlie-27, and Aleta would appear side-by-side, this time accompanied by Krugarr, as well as the robotic head known as Mainframe.
While it’s established that the group was formerly a band of thieves, longtime comic book readers will surely recognize that these characters – at one point or another – were all members of the original iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy, which debuted in 1969’s Marvel Super-Heroes #18. What’s also worth noting is that in the comics, Yondu was a founding member of this team, which makes his induction into the Guardians by Baby Groot all the more fitting.
Stan Lee Cameo
By now, fans of the MCU have come to expect a cameo from Stan “The Man” Lee in one form or another each time Marvel releases a new blockbuster. However, his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 may very well stand out as the most important of all time.
During the film, there’s a scene in which Yondu, Baby Groot, Rocket, and Kraglin are traversing various planets in search of Peter, Drax, and Gamora. On one of those worlds, we see none other than Stan Lee, himself, but he’s not alone. Gathered around him are several large-headed beings, who – for the uninformed – may as well be any old race of extraterrestrials that one might expect to find in a GotG film. If you’re a Marvel Comics aficionado, though, you’ll immediately recognize those beings as Watchers – a technologically-advanced race committed to observing and compiling knowledge on all aspects of the universe without any interference.
Why does this matter? Well, given the fact that we know the Watchers oversee all of the happenings of the comic book side of the Marvel Universe, along with the fact that Stan is breaking the fourth wall by telling them the story of how he showed up as a FedEx man in Captain America: Civil War, we can now confirm that Stan Lee is, in fact, the Watcher of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All of those cameos over the years? Yeah, that’s the same man, gathering information on the heroes of the MCU, unbeknownst to them.
Adam Warlock Teased
With Avengers: Infinity War coming next year, one major piece of the Thanos/Avengers/Infinity Gauntlet puzzle is still missing: Adam Warlock. In the comics, Adam Warlock was an immensely powerful being who emerged from a cocoon and traveled to the stars, receiving an Infinity Gem (the Soul Gem) in the process. He would then go on to aid the heroes of Earth in defeating the Mad Titan Thanos, who obtained the Soul Gem, as well as the five other Infinity Gems, and used them to destroy half of the sentient life in the universe. While we don’t see Adam in the flesh, one of the film’s post-credits scenes does show the iconic cocoon, sitting under the watchful eye of the Sovereign Queen Ayesha, who dubs it “Adam.”
Since Thanos and the Infinity Gems (referred to as Infinity Stones in the films) are going to play a significant role in Infinity War, the tease of Adam Warlock’s MCU debut is not only exciting but incredibly timely. The character likely won’t be around for Infinity War, though, as the more probable scenario would be him showing up to defeat Thanos is the untitled fourth Avengers film, presumably after Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have already been defeated.
Groot Searching For Yondu’s Fin
When Yondu’s fin is destroyed by Nebula, fans were elated - not because we hate Yondu - but because this meant that we’d finally see him don the much taller version sported by his comic book counterpart. Unfortunately, getting ahold of said fin proved to be quite the task thanks to the hilarious misunderstandings of Baby Groot.
When an imprisoned Yondu explains to Baby Groot where his new fin is, the pint-sized plant-man returns with a pair of the space pirate’s briefs instead, showing that he clearly couldn’t make heads or tails of what Yondu was asking him to retrieve or where it could be found. The antics didn’t stop there, either, as Groot would return to the captain’s quarters several times, each time bringing back something farther and farther removed from the Mohawk-like fin. Among those items were a prosthetic eye (the same one Rocket jokingly asked for in the first GotG), a large desk, and even a severed toe.
Thankfully, Kraglin would eventually make the save and deliver the fin, but in any case, this served as one of the biggest laugh-out-loud moments of the film, while simultaneously showing just how dangerous a confused anthropomorphic baby tree can actually be.
Drax… All Of Him
Although Baby Groot’s scavenger hunt delivered plenty of laughs, the true star when it comes to comedy in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer. His deadpan humor and delivery style made him one of the standout characters of the original GotG, but in Vol. 2, you can truly see that he’s evolved and become comfortable amongst his fellow Guardians, allowing for his more jovial demeanor to shine through.
Between his sensitive nipples, his “famously huge” turds, and his awkward, borderline cruel interactions with Mantis, Drax steals every single scene that he’s in. What’s more, he even manages to rival some of the heavier emotional beats of the film, particularly when he reminisces about his daughter – a moment so deep, it causes the empathic Mantis to burst into tears. It just goes to show you that Bautista really is a Drax of all trades.
While Yondu didn’t get nearly as much screentime in Guardians of the Galaxy as he does in the sequel, few can argue that he stole the show in his own right in the first film when he used his yaka arrow to massacre a whole squad of Ronan’s soldiers. Naturally, the stakes needed to be raised in GotG 2, and they certainly were when Yondu used the same weapon to slaughter an entire ship full of rebellious Ravagers.
Accusing Yondu of going soft, his fellow space pirates declare mutiny and throw their leader into the brig. However, when Kraglin sees the error of his ways, he helps Yondu escape, and once Rocket equips him with his new prototype fin, he sends his yaka arrow one-by-one through the torsos of each of his former allies. OK, maybe Rocket and Groot get a few good shots in, but it’s largely Yondu that sends the Ravagers to their graves.
Father And Son, Together At Last
Not long after Kurt Russell’s Ego was introduced, it became increasingly clear that something was off about the Celestial father of Peter Quill. Nonetheless, seeing father and son meet for the first time, especially considering Peter’s troubled childhood, was an incredibly powerful moment in the film.
While the nature of their relationship and the circumstances behind their meeting are befitting of the out-of-this-world comic book tone of the film, there’s something incredibly moving - and more importantly – relatable about witnessing a father and his son play catch for the first time. Granted, it was with a sphere made of spontaneously manifested energy rather than an actual ball, but let’s not split hairs.
Just as quickly as Peter’s newfound feelings of familial bonding filled our hearts with joy, it was all ripped away upon the revelation that not only was Ego determined to terraform planets throughout the galaxy, but that it was him that placed the tumor in Meredith’s head – the same tumor that led to her untimely death.
Understandably, Peter doesn’t take this news as well as his intergalactic megalomaniac father expected, as evidenced by Star-Lord pumping him full of plasma shots from his Quad Blasters. However, this has no effect on the Celestial, and it isn’t until Peter learns to use his heart to control his innate, yet foreign powers that he’s able to stand toe-to-toe with the god-like being and channel his inner… Pac-Man? Yeah, as emotionally weighted as this film is, it’s still a comedy at heart. Regardless, it’s amazing to see Star-Lord – a man who grew up thinking he was a mere mortal – take on arguably one of the most powerful beings to ever appear in the MCU.
Just because this is the best moment of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 doesn’t mean that it’s the happiest. Quite the opposite, in fact. Still, despite Yondu’s death being one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the film, it’s what comes immediately before and shortly after this tragic scene that put it at the top of this list.
For all his faults, Yondu was very much the only real father figure Peter ever had in his life. Seeing him make the ultimate sacrifice to save his surrogate son from the collapsing living planet by fitting him with the only available spacesuit was a tear-jerking moment, made all the more profound by Yondu’s final words: “He may have been your father, boy, but he ain’t your daddy.”
Despite the strength with which this sequence pulls at your heartstrings, though, your spirits are soon lifted when word of Yondu’s heroic deed reaches Stakar and the rest of the Ravagers. Upon learning of what the exiled space pirate has done, his former allies quickly arrive on the scene to give their fallen comrade a traditional Ravager funeral, with a stunning display of fireworks that light up the cosmos in honor of the late Yondu Udonta.