Let me begin by saying I was a big fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book. The Annihilation storyline brought me into “cosmic Marvel” in a big way, and I was hooked on space heroes for a long time afterwards. That there was going to be a Guardians of the Galaxy movie was something I never expected to hear, and I have to admit, I was pretty psyched.
The movie is nothing like the comic book in so many ways, but that isn’t a bad thing. There’s no reason to try and introduce concepts and characters that have no purpose to the story. I’m fine with there being no Nova Corps, for example, and all the rest. Ronan as a dyed-in-the-wool badguy instead of the vaguely-antihero jerk he is in the comics was probably the only thing which took me more than 5 seconds to accept.
I’ll not spoil much of the movie’s plotline in case people haven’t seen it yet, but I’ll say one thing: it balances a fine line between emotion and humour. You find yourself feeling empathy for all the characters, even the ones who you wouldn’t expect to feel for from their first appearance. It’s a tight-knit team and way they become friends feels very believable.
It’s also fun, and the characters have fun. They also get angry and upset, yes, but there are parts where they are genuinely having a blast doing what they do. That’s something I feel is sorely missing from a lot of superhero films. They’re supposed to be escapism, bright colours, daring action, the works. Spending the duration of a movie trying to convince the audience that having superpowers (or being a billionaire playboy) is a curse is just obnoxious, and slightly insulting.
Most of Marvel’s movies manage to do that, but Guardians is just bursting at the seams with fun. I had a big grin plastered on my face throughout most of the film. The first scene was touching, but the immediate next one has the main character Peter skipping and dancing through alien ruins. He’s kicking through puddles, listening to his 80s jams, having a blast. This life is fun for him. He’s not moping about, he’s not being maudlin about his past.
It’s an upbeat message and I endorse it one hundred percent, especially because of just how great the soundtrack happens to be. I also fully expect the new Batman/Superman movie to ignore this lesson and have everyone be depressing and monochrome as heck. However, there is one not-so-tiny problem with Guardians of the Galaxy: there’s one woman.
Theoretically there are three women, but they fall into the categories of protagonist, antagonist, and side character. Every other woman is a minor character at best, showing up for a single scene if they even bother getting a name. The original comic book had several women on the team: Mantis, Moondragon, Martyr, and although everyone’s names beginning with M might have been a bit weird, it would have been nice not to have a retread of the Avengers where it’s a team of guys and the token lady to roll her eyes at their boyish antics.
I really loved Guardians of the Galaxy, it was a fun movie. I would just like Marvel to remember that it has a lot of women characters, and a lot of women fans, and it doesn’t need to listen to the typical Hollywood creeds of what “sells” or not.