Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Marvel, where I go through the Marvel movies over the next few months.
So while I have just got back from seeing this movie, but the time you read this it’ll be in the distant past. Ergo I can spoil without any fear whatsoever. Because there is something important that needs to be brought up with this movie, namely how it has forever changed the Marvel cinematic universe, and nothing will ever be the same again.
To address these changes I suppose the easiest way would be to analyse each character and show how they’ve made an impact. So lets start with Peter Quill, aka Starlord. He is very much a character more like Tony Stark than Steve Rogers, which works wonders for this character. While both are rather snarky, clever men, Quill is much more of a smooth-talking, quick thinking con man compared to Stark’s Di Vinci’s persona. But he illustrates the first major change of the film since he’s the only link any of this actually has with Earth. He is abducted at a young age and is forever arrested mid-development, since he can only talk about pop culture before the 80s. He is the audience avatar for the strange going-ons in this world. He is meant to be the guy that centres the film. But the biggest change to the Marvel universe is not only that aliens exist, they visited Earth in the 1980s. Now I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t The Avengers already set up an alien race? Why yes, yet they did. They set up a race of aliens… and that was about it. They didn’t set up a whole host of alien beings coming together. That’s what Starlord does. He’s the audience first impact with aliens and how they’ll feature in the Marvel universe from now on. Add to that the revelation at the end that he’s not just human and we now have a more interesting twist on the character. He helps prove that there are beings perhaps even higher up in the food chain than the Asgardians.
What about Gamora? Well I’m going to put her and Drax together for this little bit, since both of them exist to play on alien stereotypes while providing greater narrative function. Gamora is the green-skinned babe popularized by Star Trek, but one capable of fighting and looking after herself. Drax is the standard ‘alien that doesn’t understand humanity’ stereotype, but one with a lot of heart and soul. While he doesn’t understand what metaphors are (a standard alien clichÃ© when you think about it), it only exists mostly for laughs and isn’t the beginning or end of the character. But both are the human-alien characters so popularly found in fiction, but also help established the idea that aliens in this universe look like humans. Now perhaps this’ll be explained in future movies (not that it needs to), but the long and short of it is that we’ve now established that human-like aliens do exist.
Then of course there’s Rocket and Groot. Has a better double act been found in the Marvel movies? Lets start with Groot, a character who is essentially just one joke. All he can say is â€œI am Grootâ€ and is portrayed as being a bit thick. But, like The Iron Giant, he has a big artificial heart and cares for the world about him. Some of the best humour comes from Groot just doing things, as do some of the more touching moments. Groot is the heart of the film, the group’s conscience, and he plays the part perfectly without having to say anything. But lets focus on the real success of this film: Rocket.
Rocket probably best sums up Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a talking raccoon with a giant gun. That image alone is absurd… but by golly if they don’t make you care about the little guy by the end of it. You stop seeing Rocket the joke and start seeing Rocket the character, a fantastically written being whose being a raccoon is solely an afterthought. You stop thinking it’s absurd and start thinking ‘yeah, that makes perfect sense’. It’s a bold face move that essentially goes ‘we are so confident in this movie we have a talking raccoon who you’ll love’. And that’s why the film as a whole works so well. It knows its silly and somewhat irrelevant, but it embraces that. It doesn’t treat the material with mockery or scorn, instead it stands by premise with full confident. You can’t deny a film that confident, you can’t not buy it. You get so invested in it that you have to stand by it. But I don’t think Rocket is the most important character in the film, oh no. No there’s one more that is probably the most symbolically important character ever put in a Marvel film.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a very interesting film. One part Star Wars, one part Star Trek, one part Firefly and one part complete mad libs. But the biggest change to the Marvel Universe is that there is now a Marvel universe. We are no longer tied solely to Earth, Asgard, and a few of the realms briefly mentioned in the Thor movies. There is literally a whole universe out there with all sorts of strange and wonderful aliens just waiting to be explored. We are not just confined to the Nine Realms and one small insignificant blue-green planet. There is more stuff we can see and explore. More stuff we can play about with. Now whether we see a first contact story between the Guardians and S.H.I.E.L.D, who knows. I wouldn’t be surprised if this made up a big part of their arc in the second or third season. But aliens exist, there’s a whole big universe out there, and soon we’ll get to explore it.
So there you have it. My look at Guardians of the Galaxy, a film that really helped expand outwards the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.
(Oh, you’re still around. Well lets talk about that last character in the film, the one that appears after the credits. Now for those not in the know, the character was one Howard the Duck. Created to be a parody of Disney’s style, he’s probably most famous for having one of the worst movies ever made. Howard the Duck was Marvel’s first film on screen and easily the worst. Which is why Howard turning up is a good thing for a few reasons:
Firstly it’s historically significant. It’s a great way of showing just how far the company has come in 25 years when it comes to their movies, going from one of the worst movies of all time to some of the best. It’s a good nod to their past while facing their future.
Secondly it’s emotionally significant. Marvel sits down, looks the audience in the eyes and goes ‘you have just gotten emotionally attached to a talking raccoon and sentient tree. Why is it so hard to now get attached to a talking duck as well?’. After watching the movie we watched we’re suddenly confronted with the idea that perhaps Howard the Duck isn’t a conceptually impossible idea to put on film. If Guardians made us care about a raccoon, why couldn’t we care about a duck?
Thirdly it’s culturally significant. It shows how much faith Marvel now has in itself. It’s willing to shamefacedly go ‘we like Howard the Duck, even if the general audience doesn’t’. It pays off, since in a film that was a confident gamble on virtually unknown characters they end with a virtually unknown but despised character. It shows the faith Marvel has in themselves and their product.
And finally it’s funny as hell, since it’s essentially a middle-finger to all the haters out there. It’s such an over-confident take that against those that despise the Marvel movies you can’t help but laugh.
So there you go. My own little post-credit scene after my blog. Mostly for laughter’s sake).