“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” brings back just about every character from the first film, advancing their character arcs in a variety of ways. But you could be forgiven for having forgotten some of the more intricate details and backstories at play in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
One key bit of backstory that comes up a lot during the second “Guardians of the Galaxy” concerns the family of Drax (Dave Bautista). Several times during the course of the movie, Drax references his wife and child, who were central to his backstory in the first “Guardians.” But this time he never talks about what happened to them — he just references them pretty regularly. We don’t point that out in order to criticize the movie, but if you haven’t watched the first “Guardians” in a while there’s a good chance you won’t remember their story.
So here’s a quick explainer on Drax in case you’re struggling to remember his deal.
Drax had a wife, Hovat, and a daughter, Kamaria, who were killed sometime before the events of the first movie. In that movie, Drax’s loss is keenly felt: the reason he’s been branded an interstellar criminal in the first movie is because he’s trying to get revenge against Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), the primary villain of the first “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
In “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Ronan, a member of the race of blue Kree aliens, wanted to get his revenge on the Nova Empire, and specifically the people of the planet Xandar. The Kree Empire had previously been at war with the Nova, but lost in the conflict and signed a treaty.
Ronan wasn’t happy about it. He allied with Thanos, the major Marvel Cinematic Universe bad guy who’s pulling the strings leading to the upcoming “Avengers: Infinity War” in 2018, and tried to destroy the Nova in the movie.
Backed by Thanos, Ronan became much more powerful, and in his exploits to gain military might for his war against the Nova, Ronan killed Drax’s family. That put Drax on the path of revenge in an attempt to hunt Ronan (and Thanos) down and kill them. During the course of that attempt, Drax killed and injured a whole lot of folks, landing him in a Nova Corps prison.
Of course, the Guardians defeated Ronan and he was killed in the final moments of the first movie, so Drax got his revenge. But he spends a lot of time remembering his family fondly, and in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” it’s clear the pain still isn’t behind him — and probably never will be.