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Tear Jerker / Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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"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."
Peter Quill/Star-Lord

Remember the opening scene to the first film where you had to watch a young boy face the death of his mother from cancer? Well...

  • The opening scene, with Meredith and Ego having fun as a couple. It's so sad when you remember she'll be dead in eight years time. This scene is made even worse with the reveal that it was Ego himself who killed her, after using her to have a child, and that he planned on using the space plant he showed her to destroy the Earth one day.
  • Yondu starting the movie in the slums of a distant planet. Not going on an adventure, or celebrating, just wasting his time away until he accidentally meets one of his old friends... who brutally tears him down.
    Stakar: There are a hundred Ravager factions. You lost the business of 99 of them by serving this one.
    • Yondu's situation is sad in itself; in contrast to the Guardians, who have a strong and supportive team dynamic, Yondu's only company is a prostitute who switches herself off once her job is done. It's obvious that the old ruffian has no meaningful or fulfilling relationship, and the constant loneliness is starting to wear him down. It only gets worse when Stakar bluntly points out that Yondu brought this on himself.
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    • Stakar himself is getting torn up at seeing Yondu. He comes across as a real Jerkass to Yondu just for showing up and demanding a seat at the table, but then he drops the last line and it becomes clear. He's the one who found Yondu all those years ago and brought him into the fold. And then he found out that Yondu was kidnapping kids for years and only got ousted because he saved Peter. He had to exile Yondu for breaking the Ravager code.
      Stakar: If you think I take pleasure in exiling you... you're wrong. You broke all our hearts.
  • Stakar's voice cracks a bit when he insists he didn't want to exile Yondu, but had no choice after he broke their law, with Sylvester Stallone bringing some of his all too rarely deployed genuine acting chops.
    • Moreover, Yondu practically begging to be acknowledged by his old crew, especially with the knowledge that at one time they'd been a close-knit group much like the Guardians.
    • The pain and regret in Yondu's voice in the above scene makes even more sense when we learn what happened to the kids he brought to Ego. Greedy and foolish as he admits to having been, one can only imagine the guilt Yondu felt when he learned the truth, or how often he tried to comfort himself by telling himself he didn't know.
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  • Listen to Kraglin when he yells at Yondu about always going easy on Peter. His voice is cracking as though he’s near tears. He’s not a fed up member of the ravager crew, he’s a scorned sibling who’s finally speaking up about how neglected he feels.
    Kraglin: No matter how many times Quill betrays you you protect him! Like none of the rest of us much matter!!
  • Yondu being too physically weakened by Nebula blasting off his fin to stop Taserface and the mutineers from killing all the Ravagers loyal to him.
    • The last one they killed. He begs his captain, who's too shocked even to answer him, to do something. But that's not the worst, the worst is the one before him...
    • Tullk, who is shown more than once being totally loyal to Yondu. As he's being dragged through the ship, he's shouting, "This is mutiny!" and then we get a moment of him pounding on the door of the airlock, while the rest of the crew jeers and waves, and then we see the moment when he gets spaced... he's the only one we see on-screen; we don't know how many actually were killed until the camera zooms out of his corpse, showing us all the others, floating in space.
    • Afterwards, Kraglin chokes up as he comes to Yondu later, admitting he didn't want to cause a mutiny and "they killed all my friends."
    • Later, Yondu dies in the same way as his loyal crew, freezing and suffocating in the cold vacuum of space. At least in Yondu's case, he went out on his own terms...
  • Nebula reveals the source of her resentment towards her sister, Gamora. Thanos would force both of them to fight each other, and every single time, Gamora would win. With each defeat, Thanos would take Nebula and have part of her body replaced with cybernetics against her will in the hope that she would become Gamora's equal. Despite this, Gamora always beat her no matter how hard she tried.
    Nebula: You're the one who wanted to win, but I just wanted a sister! You were all I had, but you were the one who needed to win. Thanos pulled my eye from my head, and my brain from my skull, and my arm from my body... because of you.
    • When you consider Nebula's line in the first film about how, out of all their siblings, she "hated [Gamora] the least", one has to wonder what her relationship with her other siblings was like.
    • It also puts an earlier line from Gamora in a much harsher light; Gamora says when they pick up Nebula that the latter doesn't mean anything more to her than the bounty on her head, and doesn't show any particular caring for her up until that point. The revelation that it's Nebula, and not Gamora — the more heroic and noble of the two — that wanted them to be close and that all Gamora was ever focused on was winning puts a lot more tragedy on the situation for the daughters of Thanos.
  • Mantis uses her Empathy Touch on Drax, and her face contorts with rage and grief, tears streaming down her face as she feels his pain over the deaths of his wife and daughter. The entire scene is without dialogue, but what's even more saddening is Drax's face. He looks at peace, either because he doesn't know how to emote his pain, or because he's come to live with it.
    • Equally chilling is that this could be the first moment where she really discovers what "normal" paternal relationships are like, and when she realizes what a monster Ego really is.
    • And only moments before that, Drax stops his taunting of Mantis as he realizes how much she reminds him of his daughter:
      Drax: She was like you.
      Mantis: Disgusting?
      Drax: Innocent.
    • A subtle moment comes earlier, with a dash of Fridge Horror: When Mantis explains that one of the reasons Ego keeps her around is to help him sleep, because "He lies awake, thinking about his progeny", Drax asks her to "Do one on (him)". Though his falling instantly asleep is Played for Laughs, it hints that he also "lies awake, thinking about his progeny".
  • After spending years wondering about his parentage, Peter learns that his father isn't quite the angel his mother said he was. This is especially upsetting when we learn that Ego was responsible for Meredith's brain tumor.
    • The reason why he did it? He realized that he loved her too much, and was afraid that he might abandon his godhood if he let his affection for her grow any stronger. Cosmic god though he was, Ego was still capable of love... and it terrified him.
    • And to add insult to emotional injury, Ego also destroys Peter's Walkman and mixtape — the last remaining keepsakes from Peter's late mother — right in front of him while Peter is unable to move and stop him.
      • What makes this bit particularly heart-twisting is the little 'no' Peter utters. It can be argued that he was weak from being impaled and having the life sucked out of him by his bio-dad, and thus could not muster anything except a whimper, but in that moment, he's not the cocky, witty leader of a band of mercenaries, eager to fight and even more eager to help his friends. In that moment, he's an eight-year-old kid again; one who just had to watch his mother die in front of his eyes.
    • Yondu was right. Peter's father was a jackass.
    • The bitter irony is that, in a twisted disconnected way, Ego may have been trying to help Peter; he was fully willing to share his godhood with his son and didn't want anything to threaten their ascension, committing all those horrible deeds without any trace of sadism or malice. If anything, he tried to be sympathetic towards Peter while utterly failing to be empathetic, which could make Ego a tragic character in his own right.
    • When talking about how Meredith died, Peter stresses that he had to watch her die. Not just at the very end, but he had to watch her get sicker and sicker, start saying things that didn't make sense, and in general start to lose control of all her faculties and abilities. As sad as Ego might have been about his decision to leave his mortal ex-lover behind and to directly doom her in the first place, he didn't have to watch. He just planted the seed, so to speak, and left.
  • When Ego initiates his plan to absorb every planet into himself, thousands of people across the universe are shown to be killed and others are running for their lives. In one shot, an alien woman is crying while shielding her infant as there is no chance to outrun their impending death. Fortunately, when Ego's plan is stopped, it's revealed both the alien woman and her baby are alive.
  • When Drax is being swallowed up by Ego's planet, instead of trying to save himself, he holds up Mantis as high as he can so she won't be swallowed too. The heartbreaking part comes when you remember that Mantis reminds him of his daughter. He's still devastated from her loss. The last thing he would want is to see a girl just like her die young.
  • Most of Yondu and Rocket's interactions are both this and heartwarming, since it shows us what they really feel, and Yondu tries to help Rocket overcome his issues.
    • Yondu chewing out Rocket just before they go on Ego to save Peter really stands out. Yondu tells him that they are the same, both made by people who didn't care about them and left, leading them to be extremely abrasive towards the people they care about. Yondu reveals that his own parents sold him into slavery as a baby.
  • Despite also being heartwarming, Rocket's final goodbye to a still-living Yondu. He gives him the only gear he has left—one personal space suit, and one jetpack. He knows that Yondu will only be able to truly save Peter or himself after Ego explodes. And as a final goodbye, Rocket doesn't know what to say, so Groot gives both their goodbyes. Welcoming him into the Guardians as a part of their family.
  • Yondu's Heroic Sacrifice, showing that for all his abrasive ways, he truly loves Peter enough to die for him.
    • Peter has now had to deal with watching all three of his parents die before his eyes.
    • The scene itself. Yondu tells Peter just how much he cares for him as they break free of the dying planet before Yondu slaps the last spacesuit on Peter, leaving Yondu himself exposed to the vacuum of space during their escape. When Peter realizes what Yondu has done, he breaks into a Rapid-Fire "No!" before trying to tear off his spacesuit to give it to Yondu. Yondu cups Peter's face in his hands as he dies, leaving Peter clutching his body and crying.
      • Peter reacts the exact same way just like back when he watched his mother die, with the Rapid-Fire "No!" and crying.
      • What's the name of the score track that plays during the scene? Dad.
      • Yondu's final act to Peter was a "There, there" head pat.
      • "He may have been your father, boy... but he wasn't your daddy." *Sob*
      • Yondu's face as he takes Peter into space. He's practically breaking up as he does so, and it is heartbreaking to see.
    • His funeral as well. From seeing Peter and Kraglin lose someone who meant so much to them, to Groot being morose about the man, to Yondu's old friends who made him a pariah showing up to pay their respects, who also happen, in the Marvel Comics universe, to be the original Guardians of the Galaxy. All this on top of a truly spectacular and gorgeous showing of Fantastic Fireworks, as Cat Stevens' "Father and Son" plays in the background and in-universe. The whole scene is one tearjerker after another.
    • Literally a tearjerker. His funeral caused Peter and Rocket to cry. In fact, the latter is the last thing seen before the credits. Good thing the post-credits scenes are mostly quite happy to counterbalance it.
    • Yondu was the closest thing Rocket ever had to a father.
    • The ship his body lies in is full of the figures he collected, among others the glass frog and the Troll doll from the first movie.
    • Then the Ravagers come to send him off, after telling Yondu that he wouldn't get such a sendoff. Only in death did he redeem himself, but he will never know how much his old comrades still loved him.
      Martinex: He didn't let us down after all, Captain.
      Stakar: No he did not, son. He did not.
    • Yondu's last words to Peter are him apologizing for not being a better parent while also saying that he's proud to call Peter his son. He may not have been the best father, but unlike Ego, there's no doubt whatsoever that Yondu loved Peter.
      Yondu: I’m sorry I didn’t do none of it right... I'm damn lucky you're my boy.
    • The fact that, until literally the final battle, Peter had no idea that Yondu regarded him as his son. Peter had gone through most of his life thinking that Yondu kept him around because he was good at stealing, never realizing that it was because Yondu regarded Peter as the closest thing he had to a son. In a short period of time, Peter met his biological father only to realize what a monster he was, then discovered Yondu to be the father he was always searching for, and lost them both at roughly the same time.
    • Even Honest Trailers stopped joking around long enough to quickly go back through the entire MCU up to this point and confirm that, yes, Yondu's death is actually without question THE single saddest thing in the entire series so far.
  • Rocket's self-loathing comes to the forefront in this film as he's forced to confront his abandonment issues and feeling that he isn't deserving of love and loyalty. In the climax, he is forced to tase Gamora to stop her from going back for Peter, saying that he isn't ready to lose another friend, and is completely emotionally drained by that act.
    Rocket: I'm sorry. I can only afford to lose one friend today.
    • Depending on your read, the friend Rocket knows he's about to lose is either Peter, or Yondu.
    • Also his reaction to Drax's demands to go back for Peter — and Drax's increasingly insistent demands to go back, too.
  • Say what you will about Ego, but nothing changes the fact that he was Peter's biological father. So when he gets disintegrated right in front of him (after being physically restrained by Peter himself and pleading desperately for his son to help him stop the bomb). In spite of having taken vengeance for his mother's murder by killing Ego, it was regret, not joy nor satisfaction, that contorted Peter's face as the Mad God crumbled in his arms; Peter did love Ego and genuinely wanted his love as a father in return, but with the decisions Ego made in life, had no choice but to stop him.
  • Kraglin's reason for betraying the rebellion and repledging his loyalty to Yondu? "They killed all my friends."
    • Kraglin really does edge into Woobie status as the movie progresses. As he points out, he's been nothing but loyal to Yondu for decades, and yet the scrawny Terran kid always seems to come first. He inadvertently sparks a mutiny against his boss, resulting in all his friends being killed and him being wracked with guilt. By the end of the film, his beloved commander is dead, his friends are all gone, his ship is barely functional, and he's alone with naught but a "magic arrow" that he doesn't really know how to use.
    • After retrieving Yondu's prototype fin, he receives his new orders. You can tell by his tearful expression and the way he performs the Ravager Salute that he is torn up inside by grief and guilt. He is desperate to make amends because it is the only way he can manage his inner pain.
    • When he sees the other Ravagers have come to Yondu's funeral, his cheer of joy is both cathartic and heartbreaking.
  • The scene of Nebula and Gamora hugging, and Nebula leaving anyways to take revenge on Thanos. After a short conversation, Gamora steps forward, hugs Nebula and tearfully tells her that she'll always consider her as her sister. Nebula slowly raises her arms and returns the hug for just a second, before quickly leaving and flying away, while Gamora sadly looks after her. It doubles as heartwarming.
    • Watch the way Nebula reacts before they hug. It's obvious she has no idea what Gamora was trying to do at first, as Nebula's first instinct was to raise a fist as if she was expecting a surprise attack once Gamora reaches for her shoulder. It's likely that Nebula had never gotten any kind of affection from anybody for a long time... if at all.
  • Some scenes with Baby Groot in actual distress, such as after the mutinous Ravagers taunt him, kick him around, and pour alcohol on him, and he walks away from it looking so pitiful. Then near the end when Ego is trying to trap the Guardians within the planet, and when Groot is getting closed in, his pretty cheerful composure breaks and he starts to legitimately cry like an actual child in distress. It gets worse with Word of God confirming that the original Groot did die and that Baby Groot is his son. He actually is a child in distress!
  • The Reveal retroactively makes a lot of the scenes in this film and the previous ones profoundly screwed up:
    • Ego taking Meredith on a date and showing her a flower he planted. He's showing the thing that he planned to kill her and everyone else in the universe with, the whole time he seeming blissfully unaware of how monstrous this is.
    • Meredith calling Ego an angel in the intro of the first film and talking about how he'll come back for her and Peter. Not only is he not planning to come back ever, but he gave her the brain tumor that killed her and if Peter hadn't inherited his Celestial genes, Ego would've just killed him like all of his other children.
      • It's also pretty messed up that Peter had hundreds, maybe thousands, of half-brothers and sisters that he'll never get to know, purely because Ego stopped caring about them when their powers failed to manifest.
      • One can only imagine what happened to all their respective mothers. The best case scenario is that their children vanished without their mothers ever learning why. Since all the remains were obliterated alongside the planet, now they never will.
  • The last shot before we cut to credits is not a shot of the team, or even just Peter watching Yondu's funeral: it's a shot of Rocket with a single tear rolling down his cheek.
  • The very last line of the film, Stan Lee telling the Watchers, "I have so many more stories to tell," is quite a poignant bit of Reality Subtext.
    • When this movie was released, Stan was 94 years old, and the fact that he wasn't going to be around forever had clearly crossed everyone's mind, as they had James Gunn film several of Stan's future cameos at the same time as this one, and all of his Phase Three cameos some time later.
    • Stan's pleading line is a great, yet sad, reminder of the great storyteller whom the Marvel Universe (cinematic and otherwise) won't be the same without him. It got even worse with his wife's passing a couple months later and even more poignant when he passed the following year at the age of 95.


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