I MET CHRIS FREAKIN’ PRATT, YOU GUYS. But more on that, in a mo.
When the first instalment of Guardians of the Galaxy came out, it really took me by surprise. I remember heading into the cinema thinking, “Oh man, I am not going to enjoy this”. I had no idea what this group of seemingly C-list Marvel galactic characters were really about. Sure, I knew about the Kree, Nova and the Skrulls through some of the bigger Avengers, X-Men and Fantastic Four cross over stories in the comic books, but the Guardians really did pass me by. I know I am not the only one to have missed out on them in the comics, and I’m not alone in being totally blown away by the first movie.
So when Volume 2 finally came out, I was both nervous and apprehensive. I’d become a huge fan boy of the Guardians. It totally captured me, and I wanted to be involved in that space pirate/lovable rogue world. I’d cosplayed for a photoshoot as Star-Lord not once, but twice. The second time, photographer Michael Chapman shot me and Emil Goliath (@projectgoliath on Instagram) as Star-Lord and Drax ahead of the film coming out. We were just nerds celebrating a film we loved returning. But what if it wasn’t as good? Surely, James Gunn couldn’t pull off the same trick twice? Crafting a story where these low ranking Marvel characters had a chance to shine. No, he didn’t do that again. He upped his game – hugely! And so did we, as the photoshoot was AWESOME.
The opening scene alone in Volume 2, with Mr. Blue Sky by the Electric Light Orchestra blaring out, re-established the tone of what really makes a Guardians of the Galaxy film. Within those few minutes all the characters were firmly re-introduced with comedic effect and precision, with Baby Groot stealing the show. We all knew that would happen, right? Right.
Volume 2 followed Star-Lord Peter Quill played by my new best friend Chris Pratt, as he is introduced to his father. Ego, the living planet played by Kurt Russell. We discovered more about Quill’s heritage, which is notably different from the comic books, where in the source material his dad is J’Son of the Spartax Empire. BUT ANYWAY, for the MCU’s purposes, having Ego being the planet/God father of Peter Quill made for an enjoyable adventure – and James Gunn’s trade with Fox to obtain the rights to Ego definitely worth it.
Not only did we do some serious time in ‘character development school’ with Quill, each of our Guardians got their time in the chair as we learnt more about Drax, Gamora, Rocket and Nebula. Each character, paired off, got their moment, sat on the floor opposite the other, and had their “I wasn’t always like this…” moment. In particular the character of Yondu, played by Michael Rooker, gets way more screen time than some of our hero characters. Pace-wise, some of these therapy like scenes did feel slow, it was still enjoyable to discover more about these characters like we could in a comic book. They’d had their first, Infinity War-related, adventure and with Volume 2, we actually had the chance to delve deeper into the lives of the Guardians.
I was lucky enough to be at the UK premiere to see Volume 2 in London where the cast of the film were present. Dave Bautista was bigger than I imagined and Karen Gillan couldn’t walk in her shoes, bless her, but you got a sense of pride from the cast, knowing they are a part of something special that exists within a bigger world.
I got the chance to meet, my new super awesome bestest pal, Chris Pratt seconds after he was shown a photo of me cosplaying as Star-Lord. I was in a room full of YouTubers, and media folk that Disney had put together. I was pushed in front of him to say ‘hello’, and being a total fan boy of his, I just grinned and smiled as he grabbed the phone of my PR friend and shouted “WOAH” at the cosplay picture. He looked from the phone and back to me, shouting enthusiastically that we’d managed to copy the poster before holding the phone closer to his face and muttering “But you have much better hair than me”. I laughed like a drain (touched his arm) and we spoke about dressing up and cosplay.
He told me he and his brother used to look forward so much to Halloween and used to plan their costumes months in advance so they could look the “Most awesome in the neighbourhood”. He asked where I got the costume, and I told him I’d pieced it together from various places online (mostly eBay). I then realised I was dressed in a similar way to Pratt’s other best known character, Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation. Face-palm.
He told me it was cool to dress up like Star-Lord. Which I’ve taken as me being cool. Chris Pratt told me I was cool. And told me I had ‘better hair’ than him, which coming from a Hollywood heartthrob, basically made my LIFE.
Special thanks to Disney UK.