Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 leaves no stone unturned when it comes to exploring a surprisingly functional family dynamic. While you will marvel (pun intended) over the incredible graphics and engrossing storyline, it is the family that is formed through everything but biology that tugs our heartstrings and delivers a testimony on the many facets of adoption.
Part 2 in the Guardians series finds Quill (aka Starlord) discovering the identity of his biological father, Ego, and subsequently dealing with a range of emotions from skepticism, to awe, to anger as he quickly explores the hard questions. After his father attempts to explain away his absence, Quill interjects “If you loved her, why did you leave her?” to which his father had no answer. As with many who have limited information about a biological parent, Quill has spent years fantasizing about who his father might be, with David Hasslehoff as his fantasy placeholder. However, his fantasy and infallible view of his father soon comes crashing down as Quill gets to know his true origin story and how it ties to the heartbreaking fate of his mother.
The family dynamics only delve deeper as we learn that Yondu, the villain we love to hate, was only trying to protect Quill with the questionable choices he made when raising him in the absence of his biological parents. Quill has always seen Yondu’s actions as self-motivated and cold. In reality, Yondu already knew the truth of Quill’s father and did what he had to to protect Quill, even if it made Quill hate him. Yondu’s entire story comes to light as a shining example of the duty of a parent to protect their child, no matter the cost and no matter how their parent/child relationship began.
Volume 2 is centered on the journey of the Guardians as they jump through space for their lives due the poor decisions of one of their own. Rocket, the tiny raccoon, or “trash panda” as Quill quips, with a larger-than-life attitude and huge chip on his shoulder steals from the Sovereign, a golden nation who seek to avenge the theft with the death of all Guardians. Rocket spends the entirety of the movie pushing all who are close to him away and trusting no one. He is obviously scared and prepared to be abandoned as the Guardians grow closer as a family unit.
For anyone who has welcomed an older child into their home, the hesitance for a child to believe their new family will not abandon them at the first sign of trouble may be all too familiar. Even though Rocket’s misdeeds were many, his newly formed family never wavered. Even so, Rocket still felt they would surely give up sooner or later. We see Rocket’s journey come to its pinnacle with one final exchange:
Rocket: “He didn’t chase them away.”
Rocket: “Even though he yelled at them. And was always mean. And stole batteries he didn’t need.”
Quill: “Well of course not!”
Anyone touched by adoption can clearly relate to the story of the Guardian family and what it means to be a member of a much larger story. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 does an excellent job of portraying how families should react when times get hard. This unlikely group of heros know better than anyone how to stick together and how integral a sense of family is to their lives. When one of their own pushes them away, when they do things they don’t understand, they teach us the meaning of forever families: Be there. Understand. Stay. Because as Drax assertively affirmed, “We’re family. No one gets left behind.”
If you haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, grab your teenagers and your significant other and enjoy (but leave the little ones at home due to adult language and implied sexual humor). If you have already seen it, see it again, this time with your adoption goggles on to explore the parallels of adoption in the Guardian’s journey to family.