Guardians of the Galaxy writer-director James Gunn has taken to social media to confirm some of the central themes of the films.
The Guardians of the Galaxy movies are some of Marvel's most humorous, but they're also a lot darker than fans actually think. Gamora and Nebula, for example, are dealing with a twisted, tortured relationship defined by years of Thanos's abuse. Drax is seeking revenge after the slaughter of his family. Peter Quill finally meets his father, only to have to kill him for the sake of the galaxy. Mantis is brought up to think of herself as nothing more than a means to an end, a tool for Ego's use. These are very, very damaged people.
Given that's the case, fans have been able to see some pretty deep themes running through the films. Writing on Twitter, James Gunn has confirmed that's very much intentional.
Thanks. Guardians of the Galaxy is, to me, more than anything else, about adults who were abused as children starting to heal, uneasily and in fits and starts, by building relationships with other adults who were abused as children. https://t.co/KwVfFDLyjH— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 19, 2018
It's a beautiful comment. To Gunn, the Guardians of the Galaxy movies are about a bunch of damaged "a-holes" who gradually begin to heal. The first film was about the team becoming a family, the second was about them being a family; every character is slowly growing and developing, learning to put their past behind them, discovering how to heal.
That's perhaps most visible in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. One scene is partly inspired by North by Northwest and partly by Furious 7. It brought Gamora and Nebula into desperate, violent collision. Where the Guardians films typically glory in their soundtracks, Gunn stripped that sequence of all music, giving it a raw, emotional edge. As the siblings fight it out, they dive further and further into their relationship, even as the action symbolically takes them deeper into the cave-system. It's surprisingly dark, given the "fun" vibes in the rest of the film. In reality, though, this was simply the most prominent and visible scene to explore these scenes; a careful watch will dig up countless poignant character moments. Who can forget Rocket's drunken rant in the first film?
Gunn's comment prompted a response from Jody Houser, Eisner-nominated comic book writer. She revealed that's what drew to the Guardians when she wrote a story for the Avengers: No More Bullying campaign. "Vol. 1 was the most recent Marvel movie at the time," she noted, "and those themes hit me hard."
This is the beauty of film. Skilled filmmakers, like James Gunn, can blend light and dark in tremendously creative ways. Although fans and critics alike tend to dismiss superhero films as mere action set-pieces, the reality is that they can have a remarkable degree of depth.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018