of the Galaxy, Vol. 2(Marvel/Disney, 2017) –
Director: James Gunn. Writers: James Gunn (s/p). Dan Abnett, Andy
Lanning (based on the Marvel comics by). Steve Engelhart, Steve Gan
(Star-lord created by). Jim Starlin (Gamora and Drax created by).
Stan Lee, Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby (Groot created by). Bill
Mantlo, Keith Giffen (Rocket Raccoon created by). Stars: Chris Pratt,
Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen
Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth
Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan,
Aaron Schwartz & Laura Haddock. Color, Rated PG-13, 136 minutes.
Having seen the
first installment of Guardians, I eagerly anticipated the
sequel. I know and like the characters and wanted to see what
adventure awaits them. It turns out there wouldn’t be an adventure
if it weren’t for my favorite character, a genetically engineered
raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Cooper), who by the way, hates being
The unlikely team
consists of Quill, an Earthman, Rocket, Gamora (Saldana), a sensual
green woman with flaming red hair, Drax (Bautista), a hulking
muscular purplish-gray man with red scrollwork tattoos, and Baby
Groot (voiced by Diesel), a tree creature who sprouted up in the
previous film from his own dying self. Groot’s only line is “I’m
Groot,” and only Rocket can understand what he’s saying. Toward
the end of the movie Rocket tells him, “We definitely have to work
on your language skills.”
As the movie opens I
couldn’t help but recall the 1984 film Starman, as
extra-terrestrial Ego (Schwartz) drives Meredith Quill (Haddock),
Peter’s mom-to-be to a place in a forest where he planted a
mysterious alien flower. We hear her favorite song playing in the car
and through the scene, Looking Glass’s “Brandy (You’re a Fine
Then it’s “34
years later” and the Guardians are defending a platform belonging
to the golden Sovereigns, a race of perfect (so they insist) beings,
from an inter-dimensional monster whose sole intent is soaking up the
power from the Sovereigns’ batteries. Quill, Rocket, Gamora and
Drax battle the enormous, tentacled, triple-jawed creature while Baby
Groot dances through the opening credits to Electric Light
Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.” It’s more a hilarious spoof than
a tense battle scene.
Even if you haven’t
seen the first installment, you get the idea that the Guardians
actually enjoy danger and never take themselves seriously and the
plot follows suit. In payment for their service, the Sovereigns
release Nebula (Gillan) to them. She’s the adopted cyborg sister to
Gamora who only wants to kill her, and Gamora wants her locked up.
When Rocket finds the temptation irresistible to steal the
Sovereigns’ batteries, their leader Ayesha (Debicki) summons a
fleet of drones to destroy the escapees.
In an effort to lose
the drones, Quill and Rocket fly the ship into a “Quantum Asteroid
Field” where the going gets tougher as asteroids pop into existence
randomly, trying to make it to a jump gate. But the drones go around
the field and meet them on the other side firing from all directions
and causing serious damage. Time for a Deus ex Machina. After a
mysterious stranger in the ship shaped like Mork’s birth egg
destroys the drones, they are able to crash land on the nearest
The egg lands near
them, a port opens organically, and we meet Ego (Russell) a second
time, along with antennaed empath Mantis (Klementieff). Ego
introduces himself as Quill’s father and takes Quill, Gamora and
Drax back to his home planet while Rocket repairs the ship and
watches over Nebula and Baby Groot.
Ayesha hires Yondu
Udonta (Rooker), a former “Ravager” exiled by Stakar Ogord
(Stallone) for child trafficking when he took Quill from Ego and
raised him as his own. Yondu and his pirate crew find Quill’s ship
but are not prepared for the riotously funny set of booby traps set
by Rocket. But using his telekinetic arrow, he captures Rocket,
Nebula and Groot. When he appears soft by not killing his prisoners,
his right-hand man Taserface (Sullivan) leads a mutiny, destroys his
telekinetic crest and imprisons Yondu with Rocket and Nebula. Groot
is held in a bird cage and made a source of amusement by the crew,
much to his chagrin.
Drax, and Gamora arrive on Ego’s self-created planet with Mantis.
It’s almost baroque in its design and organic at the same time. Ego
tells the story of his travels throughout the universe, finding and
falling in love with Meredith. He mesmerizes Quill, but Gamora
doesn’t trust him. She’s right. Ego is well named. The alien
plants he established on all the worlds he’s visited will reform
them into extensions of himself, eliminating all existing life in the
process, when he finds a celestial like himself. (You guessed it,
The rest of the
movie is a series of captures, escapes, attacks, surprise bondings,
alliances and discoveries that will keep the audience guessing.
Kraglin (Gunn) is the only surviving member of Yondu’s loyal men.
Rocket actually drops his aggressive attitude and sheds a tear. We
see a series of cameos, including Howard the Duck (Seth Green), a
mainframe computer with the voice of Miley Cyrus, the Grandmaster
(Jeff Goldblum), Zardu Hasselfrau (David Hasselhoff) and an astronaut
(Stan Lee). Why David Hasselhoff? Quill told all of his childhood
friends that Hasselhoff was his father.
soundtrack,“Awesome Mixtape 2,” includes the pop favorites
mentioned before with “Southern Nights” by Glen Campbell, “The
Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay and
the Americans, “Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke, “Surrender”
by Cheap Trick, and “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens.
My favorite quote is
from Drax, “There are two kinds of beings in the universe: those
who dance and those who do not.” He’s referring to the “unspoken
thing” between Quill and Gamora. Volume two is a wonderful romp
through intergalactic space and a fantastic, colorful special effects
and CGI delight. The humor is kind of raunchy, but not out and out
vulgar, so parents, take that into consideration. And…be sure to
stay through the credits for hints of things to come. There
definitely will be another.
Foragers Table is
the four-year-old extension of the Foragers Market on the corner of
22nd Street and 8th Avenue in
Chelsea. All food is delivered fresh daily from farms in the Hudson
Valley and you can definitely taste it when you dine there.
Outside, what looks
like two gigantic floor-to-ceiling windows on the outside framed
subtly by slate gray wood are really six panels each of double-paned
glass joined by a flexible polymer. Inside, everything is simple and
a bit rustic inside the single room dining area, with 15 to 20
bare-topped tables with votive candles; a bar with extra seating that
takes up the wall opposite the windows; and simple globe lights
shining from the unfinished ceiling. The old-fashioned wooden chairs
are comfortable enough and had sufficient support for me and, by the
window, there was ample light.
Jill, my server,
brought the drinks and food menus. I ordered the London Calling
Cocktail – Breuckelen glorious gin, ginger beer, Cointreau,
lemon/limeade, bitters – an interesting mix of many unusual
flavors. I sipped it while Jill cited the soft-shelled crab special
and the beef and lamb entrée specials, leaving me to decide.
brought the most delicious, fresh focaccia I’ve had in a long time.
It didn’t need butter or tapenade and wasn’t served with any. It
had a nice, fluffy texture, was a little bit salty, and was browned
golden on top.
The Foragers Farm
Salad – sweet gem lettuce, heirloom mix, sunflower sprouts, olive
dirt in a sherry vinaigrette – while not aesthetically presented
(just simply piled in a white bowl), was amazing. I’ve had edible
flowers before but the sunflower sprouts were a delight. The dressing
was understated and let the salad greens stand out with an
The wine I chose was
the 2014 Gothic vineyards Nevermore, a Pinot Noir from the Willamette
Valley, Oregon. It’s a beautiful deep ruby red, medium bodied wine
with light tannins that proved itself worthy of all my dishes.
The bright green
English Pea Soup was a good one. The bowl was set with pea hash, sour
cream and a thin slice of prosciutto in the center and the server
poured a soup that could have been the pride of the Emerald City
around it. I love English peas for their sweet, bold taste, unlike
the flat-tasting ones in the canned goods aisle. Jill was excellent
with timing. No two dishes arrived simultaneously.
The main course, the
Long Island Duck Breast, came with a spiced honey glaze and was
served over wild rice, tatsoi (aka spinach mustard),
fiddlehead ferns, ramps and morels. The duck slices were medium rare,
tender and juicy, with a crisp skin and just enough fat to make them
As I was enjoying my
meal, the manager arrived at my table. We had a short talk on
European travel and he asked me if I was ready for dessert. I
mentioned that I love ripe cheeses and he helped me choose three
cheeses: a firm, buttery white, a crumbly cheddar, and a bleu.
Jill brought me a
mug of Earl Grey Tea, and I asked if they had any good sipping
tequilas. She listed three or four, mentioning there’s one nobody
ever orders. That caught my attention. The Chinaco Reposado Tequila,
an 11-year old luxury tequila made from 100 percent blue agave, has a
smooth, woody flavor with none of the bite of younger tequilas, a
perfect after dinner drink. I felt sorry for anyone who didn’t
The business card
from Foragers Table primarily advertises the market (which I have
visit soon). If the produce is as wonderful as the dishes made from
them, I can’t wait. For the Dinner and a Movie archive, clickhere.