Types of Good Dads:
- Didn’t want to be a father, but became a good one after having a kid.
- Always wanted to be a father, exudes a fatherly aura, and will become a father-figure to anybody who needs it.
- Combination of (1) and (2). Didn’t want to be father, but becoming one triggered their Dad Instincts, which they can never turn back off.
Spoilers for a bunch of MCU stuff, most importantly both Guardians of the Galaxies and Infinity War.
4. Rocket, raccoon-ish member of the Guardians of the Galaxy
Rocket, as the result of years of experimentation, looks like a raccoon and sounds like a New York cab driver. When we first meet him he’s a bounty hunter working with his partner Groot, a Groot, but both of them are quickly swept up in Peter Quill’s bullshit and ninety minutes later both of them have new career trajectories. Specifically, Rocket as a guardian of the galaxy and Groot as dead.
But all is not lost, for old Groot somehow births a new Groot! Said new Groot is seen as an adorable young child in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel and then as a shitbird teenager (redundant) in Infinity War. Now, as captain of the Milano, you might think dad duty would land on Peter Quill’s lap. Luckily for literally everyone involved, it didn’t. Quill barely has his own shit together. No, dad duty ended up with Rocket.
I’m not saying Rocket isn’t a gruff, self-centered asshole with issues of his own, because he totally is. But he definitely has a better grip on his life than Quill, who apparently not only masturbates all over his own ship, but lets things fly to the point where ‘it would look like a Jackson Pollack painting?’ Like, that’s a funny line in the moment but the more you think about the implications the more you need a shower.
What impresses me the most about Rocket is that he is obviously the same type of Good Dad that Frank Castle is – aka, never wanted to be a dad but now that he is one he is all about that life. And he seems to become a dad to Groot so effortlessly. Granted, there’s a five year time skip between GotG 2 and Infinity War, but even the way he encourages Baby Groot to get him and Yondu free and then help kill the mutinous Ravagers…look, I’m not saying Rocket is Mr. Rogers. I’m saying, given the situation they all exist in, he’s doing a great job.
In Infinity War, he has a heart-to-heart check up with Thor, telling himself it’s something he should do because he considers himself captain, but we all know where that impulse is really coming from: Baby Groot has awakened his Dad Instincts and he will now be dadding anyone he deems in need. And Thor was definitely in need.
3. Yondu, Ravager captain from both Guardians of the Galaxy movies
Finally, we move into picks I’m pretty sure I won’t get shit for.
I don’t really have to defend how Yondu qualifies as a dad, given that that’s an entire theme of the second movie, but let’s talk about why he’s a good dad.
Because at first blush, he sort of isn’t. And by ‘sort of’ I mean ‘holy Christ could you fucking imagine?’ He’s better than Peter Quill’s biological father, of course, but that is a low God damned bar to clear. But Yondu is not only a good dad, he’s the second type of good dad: he always wanted a family. Look at the Ravagers, especially Kraglin. I don’t think the movie ever implies a brother-brother relationship between Quill and Kraglin, but there is definitely the same sort of adopted father situation going on with him and Yondu. His ‘I didn’t mean to do a mutiny’ and the look on his face as the other Ravager crews show up for Yondu’s funeral are all you need to see that. Even before Yondu took a shining to Peter and decided to keep him instead of dropping him off on his dumpster fire of a biological father’s planet, he was out there filling his crew with people who just needed a family.
And then, of course, there’s his relationship with Peter. Again, by the end of the movie its explicitly clear that the two of them have had a father-son relationship this whole time, whether Peter knew it or not, but there are even little bits in the first movie that support it, and here I’m specifically thinking of when Yondu opens up that round container thingy at the end of the movie and finds, not an infinity stone, but a Troll doll. And instead of being mad, he makes this face:
A) its established that he fucking loves shit like this, so whether Peter knows it or not, on some level he was giving his dad a gift he knew he’d like. And B)…I mean, look at that face! That is the face of a proud father. That is the face a good dad makes when his kid beats him at basketball in the driveway for the first time. He wants to be mad, but all he can think about is how his son is not only thriving, he has now beaten him at the game he taught him in the first place.
Watch the scene where we first meet Yondu again. When you first see it, it just looks like a criminal boss yelling at a runaway underling, but damn the language he’s using. “I slaved putting this deal together.” “We do not do that to each other.” “You’re alive ‘cause of me!” This isn’t a boss yelling at an employee, it’s a dad yelling at his fuck-up son.
My favorite scene in the second movie is when Quill admits to Yondu that Ego has been trying to teach him to control his powers but so far he hasn’t been able to do much. A single, simple conversation later and Quill has enough control to fight back against his psycho-hosebeast of a sperm donor. This might seem tropey – especially with the ‘use your heart, not your head’ aspect – and a way to get the climax moving, but I also see it as proof that Yondu understands his son better than Ego. He knows exactly what to say to him to get Quill to fulfill his potential, because he’s been doing it successfully for close to thirty years.
Like Rocket, Yondu isn’t a good dad in a traditional sense. But they’re in space and shit is all kinds of fucked up. You have to grade on a curve. These two are working with the circumstances they have, and they’re managing to be better dads than most of the people who put their kids in beauty pageants. I’m talking the four year olds. That shit is messed up.
The Scoreboard So Far
- Frank Castle
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