Ask anyone, and they will tell you I am the biggest supporter of Guardians Of The Galaxy. Since the first trailer, I put so much stock in it that one might think I had more to gain or lose on it becoming a success than Marvel did. There is so much fun and imagination that his been created by the weirdness of this movie that you can bottle it up and celebrate it each time. I have already seen it five times, and I know I will be seeing it more before the summer is up. It has that affect on me the same way I knew the Star wars films would if I had been able to see them in the theater when they first came out. This one you need to see more than once because there is so much going on that you can miss different goodies in the corner. That was part of the fun of going back; to see what I missed. I did find some nice Easter eggs hidden by James Gunn, but I as I watched more I found things about the movie I didn’t like. They are nothing that takes away from praising they wonderful film, but now there are problems I found.
The first may seem more minor than anything. Marvel always knows how to tell the story of their characters. They continue to add to the compelling arc of their heroes like Captain America. The heroes are what make these films, so much of the time should be given to them, but Guardians continues Marvel’s problem of developing a decent villain. Besides Loki, they have no one to remember, and they l they are just there because they are needed. Marvel’s biggest problem wasn’t the use of Ronan The Accuser, but the showing of Thanos.
Since the post credits of The Avengers, we have been wonder when we would see the Mad Titan on the big screen. There has been great anticipation for the past couple of years until this past weekend when the purple overlord finally made his appearance. I had to admit, the first time I saw it I had a smile on my face because I was finally witnessing the badass he was. I have to give Marvel credit because they used that anticipation of the audience make it a cool moment, no matter what was happening. But as I watched the film for a second and third time, I realized something; this scene is a complete waste of time.
Thanos does absolutely nothing and after a few second he is gone the rest of the movie. He just sits there and give Ronan a few orders, then turns away as if he has some sports game to watch, or something better to do than gather these infinity stones. We know he will be back because the idea of The Avengers 3 hinges on him having these infinity stones and becoming a being so powerful no one will be able to ignore him. So far though, he has come in small teases like this, and mentioned briefly, and to be honest it is getting old. He hasn’t done anything to title himself as a huge threat.
Kevin Feige compares Thanos’ place in the Marvel Universe to that of the Emperor from Star Wars, and I see a problem with that. Yeah, the Emperor did hide in the background for most of the first trilogy, but his marching orders had a greater impact. Through Vader he was able to destroy a rebel base and chop Luke’s hand off. Although he never defeated the heroes, he left them on the brink of hopelessness. Thanos has done more good by bringing the team of Avengers together, and did the same thing in Guardians. To be fair, it would help if he had a competent henchman like Darth Vader. Besides Loki, every other villain Marvel has put out has been a stinker. They are all generic and it doesn’t help to make Thanos the nasty bad guy if these are the beings he has to do his work. Not to mention in Guardians, all his henchmen betray him. It undermines what type of a bad guy Thanos is if he can’t inspire those to do his bidding.
Marvel has a major flaw with Thanos, and it does not look that it will be fixed within the next year. It’s already been announced that Thanos will not be appearing in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, But Feige hints of a possible tease where he could show up. Stop it, we don’t want that. Having these teases of the Thanos can work in the comics for a few months to wet an appetite, but on screen it won’t work teasing us for three years. Marvel needs unleash Thanos now, or else risk him having be the villain that say “I’ll get you next time” when 2019 rolls around.
Marvel could have made Thanos more appealing without actually having him in the film. I actually did not expect him to make an appearance because they had a character in place to help us feel the evil that is Thanos. Gamora was one of the characters I was most interested in seeing because she had by far the most interesting background. She is the adopted daughter of Thanos, and when hearing about how she was forced to become of an assassin because he killed her parents they could have showed just what a mad Titan Thanos was. But more than that, it added to what could have been the most interesting character in Gamora.
Where each of the five Guardians are given some type of depth to their character, Gamora is left feeling like the least interesting character, and it only adds to Marvel’s inability to give us a solid female character. Some of my favorite scene involved Gamora like when she is kicking ass to show the destructive weapon she is. One thing Gunn did well was in the jail scene where he could have made us show concern because the inmates might want to rape her. it is something overly used in movies. But the inmates don’t turn against Gamora because she is sexy. They despise her because she is responsible for killing families and those they loved. She’s being threatened because she deserves, not because of her gender. I love how she is the lone assassin, but show her own loss of innocence in a scene a with Starlord where she allows herself to be charmed by him and music before snapping out of it and shouting at him, “I will not succumb to your pelvic sorcery!” It are scene like that which make the movie awesome, and you can tell Zoe Saldana is working hard with what she is given, and it is not enough.
It’s a sad, but no an uncommon thing that Marvel chooses the female character to be the one that has to suffer and not garner the audiences’ attention. They have done the same thing with Black Widow in the Avengers. Both her and Gamora each have charming and compelling stories, but the writing makes the female character to have the least charming character and story amongst the males. I sometimes wonder if marvel realizes just as many women go to these films as men do.
I normally use this blog to review movies, and it has been pointed out that the treatment of the female stereotype is something I ignore. I have a lot of friends who are feminist, both male and female, and I couldn’t call myself a friend if I didn’t respect and believe in what they do, and consider myself one as well. So, when Marvel continues to blow it with female character I feel like they are telling my best friend Jeannine, and sister Jillian like they don’t matter. Kevin Feige says that a female lead is in the works, but he doesn’t say when. His excuse is that because they have so many different franchises the challenge is managing them, but he hopes to have a female film soon. Hope? This is the president of Marvel Studios. He has the power to do more than hope. The truth is he is comfortable with how things are, and that the male characters will be enough not to have to give any females a shot. He has to know of the huge demand for female-led Marvel film. There have been demands that Black Widow should have one, but that would mean restructuring the contract of Scarlett Johansson, and Marvel is fine with what they pay her now. It’s frustration because it looks like Marvel is happy to give the female characters just a little spotlight, but do not want them to take over. The perfect example is right in this picture below. Our heroes from Guardians are on the shirt, but wait, where is Gamora?
Go to any Disney Store and you will notice the lack of Gamora. They did the same thing as well with Avengers where it was next to impossible to find anything for Black Widow. I’m guessing when Star Wars rolls around we won’t see anything for Princess Leila because she doesn’t fit the Disney princess mold.
I do think James Gunn has more in store for story of Gamora, as well as her sister Nebula, who was far more an interesting villain than Ronan. You can feel there is more to them to crack beneath the surface. I have belief that Gunn can do what Marvel is failing to do, and in doing so hurting their product.
Of course I’m not the only voice, so let me know what you think.