When we last saw Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), aka Star-Lord, and his band of heroic misfits, they were zooming around the galaxy to Jackson 5’s “ABC”, with Baby Groot getting his groove on. In GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL 2., Quill’s love of music is further invigorated after finding another mix tape of songs chosen by his mother before she died. Only this time, it seems the other guardians are just as appreciative of the tunes, especially with Groot and Rocket staging some of the film’s biggest fight scenes to music from Fleetwood Mac, Jay and the Americans, and Silver.
Before I focus in on the music in the film, I wanted to note that I found VOL. 2 more entertaining than VOL. 1, both in terms of the plot line and the villains. Admittedly, Marvel has a recurring problem when it comes to developing villains that are as interesting as the heroes facing them; this was one of the only problems I had with VOL 1. But without getting into too many spoilers, the villain(s) in VOL 2. are much more menacing, fun, and show that the stakes for superheroes are sometimes deadly. I also enjoyed the additional screen time for Nebula (Karen Gillan), who has some seriously kickass scenes throughout the film. I would totally be down for a Nebula + Gamora (Zoe Saldana) spinoff adventure as they seek revenge against Papa Thanos… but I’ll take what I can get for now.
And who can forget the welcomed addition of the ever-dreamy Kurt Russell to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), jumping into the fray as Peter Quill’s long-lost dad, Ego. Disney again shows how far CGI has come by including a whole scene showing a young Kurt Russell (think ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK-era) on Earth romancing Peter Quill’s mom. It takes the scene from CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, which used the same technology on Robert Downey Jr., to the next level.
Also of note are a few fun cameos (including a duck, famous boxer, and Baywatcher) and 5 end-credit scenes, that you definitely want to stick around for after the film. One in particular shows the potential villain(s) for VOL. 3, which has already been green-lit from the studio and is due to come out after AVENGERS 4.
So without further ado, get your Zunes ready and enjoy a list of the songs I wanted to highlight from the film. Again, music is an integral element of GUARDIANS, and what I consider to be a main character in itself. SPOILER ALERT for those who have not yet seen the movie!
“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
When it was used in the film: Of course Fleetwood Mac should always be first on any list. “The Chain”, was used prominently in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2’s trailer. In the film, it was also used in two different places, the first was when Quill, Gamora, and Drax leave the rest of the Guardians to go with Ego to his home planet. The second and more exciting use was the climax of the film during the major battle scene between Ego and the Guardians.
“Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra
When it was used in the film: The opening of the film, as the incredibly adorable Baby Groot dances around and we catch up on what the Guardians have been doing since we last saw them. According to the Washington Post, it was quite an ordeal to get the rights to this song. Lucky for us it came through in the end!
Lakeshore Drive by Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
When it was used in the film: Um, 1) it took me a little too long to understand that Lakeshore Drive is a euphemism for LSD… 2) I hardly remember what happened with this song in the film because all I wrote down in my notes was “Chris Pratt shirtless”. Sorry, guys.
Southern Nights by Glenn Campbell
When it was used in the film: During the Ravager ambush on Rocket, Groot, and Nebula, at the behest of the Sovereigns. Rocket cranks this song while kicking major ass, but is inevitably overrun by all of the baddies.
“My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison
When it was used in the film: With the two competing story narratives of Rocket, Nebula and Groot fighting the Ravagers vs Peter Quill, Gamora, and Drax going to Ego’s planet, this song bridges the narrative. It plays as Ego explains his life/powers/planet, and while Nebula encourages the Ravagers to mutiny against Yondu.
Come A Little Closer by Jay and the Americans
When it was used in the film: Used to score Rocket, Groot, and Yondu’s escape from the Ravager’s ship. It’s a little odd to hear this upbeat, old-timey song when Yondu is killing basically everyone on-board… but hey, “coming a little bit closer” being piped through a ship’s sound system as the imperiled crew are trying to escape Yondu’s arrow is insidiously ironic.
“Bring It On Home” To Me by Sam Cooke
When it was used in the film: Peter Quill and Gamora have that “something”, and while Quill always wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to his feelings with Gamora, she is more closed off. Drax, when talking about romantic compatibility, says some people are dancers and some aren’t. While he thinks Quill is a dancer, and Gamora isn’t (showing their incompatibility), Gamora shows she is in fact a dancer as the two secretly dance to “Bring It On Home To Me” during a quiet moment on Ego’s planet.
“Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl” by Looking Glass
When it was used in the film: This song is used in two different points of the film. First, it was used in the beginning when you meet Kurt Russell’s Ego while he is on Earth with Peter’s mom and they are driving around in the convertible, Russell’s gorgeous locks swaying in the wind. The second involves Ego reciting the lyrics to “Brandy”, slowly revealing the sinister character that lies within and his galaxy-threatening master plan. It bookends the story of how Ego met and then left Peter’s mom.
“Wham Bam Shang-A-Lang” by Silver
When it was used in the film: I don’t think this song will ever get out of my head. Thanks a lot, James Gunn! This song was used when the Sovereigns’ drones come back and attack Kraglin on the awaiting ship.
“Father and Son” by Cat Stevens
When it was used in the film: This plays during the backdrop of the movie’s most emotional scene, as Peter Quill deals with the fact that he had to destroy his biological father, Ego, and see the man who raised him, Yondu, sacrifice his life to save him. The film ends on a somber tone as the Guardians and Ravagers honor Yondu and his sacrifices.
“Surrender” by Cheap Trick
When it was used in the film: Used during the end credits. The lyrics are pretty interesting, especially as the movie ends on such a somber note. “Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird.”