This writer definitely does not cry because of motion pictures. I just don’t.
I used to really pride myself for not falling for tear-jerker romantic/dramatic scenes. I mean, Titanic (1997) never made me blink twice, My Girl (1991) touched me quite deeply and yet I wasn’t weepy about it, and Marely and Me (2008) did make me want to shed a whole lot of tears but, again, I didn’t.
(Not to mention, as a die-hard Harry Potter fan, I was almost ashamed when I didn’t cry during the scene where Dumbledore dies in Half-Blood Prince.)
Now, before anyone psychoanalyses me and deems me cold or even heartless, let me tell you about the first, previously only, film to actually make me cry.
During May, 2017, I had just turned 16 two months before, and I was slowly making progress towards understanding myself and my feelings after being so emotionally distant throughout the majority of the previous year.
I mean, 2016 was a rather tough year for this not-so-tough human being, and I’m pretty sure I spent it all drowning in denial.
Denial of what, you may ask? Well, without sugarcoating it, my dad had passed away in 2015, and my coping mechanism was denying that it actually happened, at least in my mind. It was quite easy too; easy to pretend everything was still the same, all I had to do was omit some truths and it’d be like it was before.
I admit it wasn’t a particularly healthy mechanism, but it’s the one I had and it worked for a while. That is, until around till November 2016. So after about a year and a couple of months doing that, I’d found that it’s not the most practical option of dealing with the loss. Eventually, I decided I should try to embrace what I felt, to know truly that it was all valid and reasonable and that it’s okay to be sad or to be angry at the world. Maybe I’d realized that just as long as I felt something and didn’t shy away from it, then I’d be fine and perhaps I’d get over the numbness.
And now you’re wondering what does that have to do with the film, right? It has everything to do with it.
Well, it’s the 26th of May, 2017. It had been around a month since Marvel had released its 15th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the sequel to the widely successful and critically acclaimed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 (2014).
Most of you will probably assume I was anticipating it, looking forward to it, or maybe even psyched to see it. The thing is though, I wasn’t; because although I had gotten into the MCU the previous summer thanks to Captain America: Civil War (2016), I’d never actually seen Volume 1 as I’d been told it wasn’t connected with the storylines on Earth or with any of the Avengers. (Or so I thought…)
Poor naïve me thought that since it wasn’t (then) relevant to the content I love, then why should I bother with looking it up? (Yes, yes, 17 year old me would definitely beat up 15 years old me)
So yes, until the 26th of May 2017, I had no idea what the films were about or even who those “guardians” were.
Now, imagine me and a friend heading off to the cinema to watch King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017) to fawn over Jude Law and Charlie Hunnam whilst they fight over the throne of Britain. (I mean, yeah, I was probably only going in for Jude Law because who wouldn’t?)
However, my friend and I didn’t end up seeing King Arthur. Somehow, she ended up convincing me to watch Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 instead. Of course, before agreeing, I picked up the plot of the first one through Google and I thought; “There’s nothing to lose!” and “Well, this looks kind of fun”.
Plus, according to my theory, sequels are generally better than the first movie; exhibit A: The Dark Night (2008) from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, exhibit B: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) from the original Star Wars trilogy, and exhibit C is Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece: The Godfather Part II (1974).
Fast forward to 1 hour into the movie, I was already in love. Before I had even grasped the plot, I’d found myself swaying with its wonderful soundtrack of 70s and 80s hits; and a film with that much of an awesome soundtrack had to be brilliant.
Although, I’m not here to review the movie, so let me finally dive into how and why it made me cry.
“He may have been your father, boy, but he wasn’t your daddy. I’m sorry I didn’t do none of it right. I’m damn lucky you’re my boy.”
As I obviously hadn’t seen the first installment of the series, I spent the first 15 minutes or so getting acquainted with the characters to some degree. And naturally, Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) relationship with his adoptive father Yondu (Michael Rooker) intrigued me.
Quill was brought up by Yondu after he basically kidnapped him from Earth, for a reason which both we and Quill do not discover until halfway through this second movie.
“No, he’s not my father! Yondu was the guy who abducted me, kicked the crap out of me so I could learn to fight, and kept me in terror by threatening to eat me.”
Growing up, Peter didn’t feel as though Yondu even liked him; he trained him to join the Ravagers but he always treated him as though he was potential food. (Yeah, Yondu literally threatened him to eat him at one point.)
Yet, as we are introduced to Peter Quill’s biological father Ego, played by Kurt Russel, it is also revealed to us that he was the one who hired Yondu to capture Peter and his countless other children he had from various women from different galaxies and planets.
But Yondu didn’t deliver Peter, he kept him. When Rocket Raccoon initially asks him why he did so, he said he kept him because he was skinny; he could fit into places they couldn’t which meant he was going to be helpful when they went stealing.
Then it turned out that Ego is actually manipulative bastard who impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children, but killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power.
Since Yondu wasn’t some heartless being as he appeared to be, he prevented Peter from facing the same fate as those children and spared him after he realized Ego’s mercilessness.
Despite genuinely caring for, protecting and loving Peter as a son, Yondu never expressed that in order to keep up his façade of being this “tough” character.
That is, until he didn’t have to anymore.
He apologizes, says he’s lucky to have Peter as his son. And then he dies saving him; he dies floating in the abyss of space, completely vulnerable with no time or air left to say goodbye. He just holds Peter’s face, pats him slowly and looks him in the eye for a final, unspoken “It’s alright. I love you” before fading away and returning to the stars.
“I told Gamora how, when I was a kid, I used to pretend David Hasselhoff was my dad. He’s a singer and actor from Earth, really famous guy. Earlier, it struck me… Yondu didn’t have a talking car, but he did have a flying arrow. He didn’t have the beautiful voice of an angel… but he did have the whistle of one. Both Yondu and David Hasselhoff went on kick-ass adventures… and hooked up with hot women… and fought robots. I guess David Hasselhoff did kind of end up being my dad after all. Only it was you, Yondu. I had a pretty cool dad. What I’m trying to say here is… sometimes that thing you’re searching for your whole life… it’s right there by your side all along. You don’t even know it.”
I might’ve been tearing up when Yondu died but, trust me, I was full on sobbing during his funeral/when Peter was eulogizing him.
It’s kind of funny when I think of it now, but I guess I’m pretty much like Peter; I had my David Hasselhoff but I never realized he was there until he wasn’t.
When my Dad passed away, I never knew how I ought to feel. At first, I cried, I mourned and I prayed till my knees ached. Then I stopped crying, because what use is it to cry when it only brings me more ache? So I decided I’d avoid thinking about it, pretend he’s still around; “He’s just away for a while”, I’d say.
It was nonsense. So I started to let it be; I found myself thinking about him every single day, not even intentionally, he’d just slip into my mind when someone says something he’d have liked or when a song he loved comes on shuffle on my way to school. It was usually small things that would tick me off into my thoughts of what was, what is and what could’ve been had I known.
Sometimes, I’d come across a situation where I know he would’ve helped, guide me through or even just be there for me.
I remember thinking after my first sociology class last year about how cool it would’ve been to debate capitalism or socialism or whatever theory I had studied that week with him. I remember reading the Lord of the Rings series last February and wondering how fantastic it would’ve been for us to argue over the film adaptations.
Hell, just the fact that I got into Bowie, The Beatles, Queen and Led Zeppelin only a couple of months after he passed makes me so darn mad because I had someone who shared all that with me but I never realized it until it was too late.
So yeah, I cried because the ending of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 touched something that I could never put in words. Something which, even if I succeed in describing, would remain unfathomable to many, too complicated in spite of its simplicity.
Something that is just “some unspoken thing”.