[Analysis] - Guardians Of The Galaxy, With Spoilers [Updated]

Courtesy of Marvel
This past weekend saw the release of Guardians of the Galaxy. I thought it was great, but was very careful in my review not to detail anything remotely spoilery or to get too geeky about what happened in the film. That time has passed.

Everything herein contains spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy. You have been warned (and if you haven't seen it already, just do yourself the favour and go. It is genuinely, properly good.)

A big plus, for me, was how divorced the film was from anything else going on in the Earth-based MCU. And based on the fact that it made $94 million in its first weekend, so did everyone else. Basically, the connection was limited to Thanos, who to be fair had only been teased before now, and gets his proper introduction here. So, when the time comes for these two corners of the universe to overlap, it'll seem more like Avengers borrowing from Guardians rather than the other way around.

And it is important to note that, for all intents and purposes, the MCU is now clearly divided between those two franchises. Things either happen in the Avengers world or the Guardians. Going forward I, for one, will make those distinctions. Because James Gunn has created a massive sandbox, and left more than a few Lincoln Logs protruding from the sand to pick up and chew on next time. So, now that you've seen the film, let's pick on some stuff.

Thanos

Last seen sneering at us out of the corner of his eye, Thanos (and Josh Brolin playing him) made his first, full entrance into the MCU here. He was named, and thanks to Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly), positively identified as "the mad Titan." And like Loki before him, Ronan stood in Thanos' weird floating asteroid court, took flack from The Other (though he succeeded in killing the annoying dogsbody), and saw the Big Bad in his full on glory.

But we still don't know that much about him. We know that he wanted the Infinity Stone discovered by Peter Quill. We know that he has destroyed entire planets in the past, and that he is really bad at inspiring loyalty in his adopted children and underlings. His motivations are, for the time being, still uncertain. That he is a genocidal mad-man responsibly for the deaths of potentially billions, is all that we know and all that is needed to be known to this point. Assuming that his story will continue building in Guardians 2 and Avengers 3, following a build-up comparable to the Emperor in the original Star Wars trilogy, we'll likely learn more about this Titan starting in 2017.

Infinity Stones

The words Infinity Stone were first used in the James Gunn-directed post-credits teaser on Thor: The Dark World. At the time, I gave a break down as to their comic origins and possible use in the MCU. In the Guardians clunkiest scene, The Collector gives a fairly detailed description of their origins in the film universe, and simultaneously introduces the Celestials as elements. The Stones are (science bullshit warning) the remains of the six proto-systems that existed before the Big Bang, crafted into stones of immense power by the ancient immortals, the Celestials. To wield even one of the six Stones is to have power over all of creation. To wield all six is to be a God. The Stones were lost with the Celestials (of which Knowhere, the Collector's home base, is inside the rotting head of one), and scattered through the cosmos.

One is the Tesseract, currently in possession of Asgard, locked in Odin's trophy room. The second is Malekith's Aether, given to the Collector by Sif and assumed to still be in his possession. The third is the one featured in Guardians, which draws on organic life and consumes it, and is currently locked inside the Nova Corp vault on Xandar. The rest will presumably present themselves over the course of the next six or seven films (I'd be shocked if they didn't turn up in Age of Ultron, Guardians 2, Doctor Strange and Thor 3). It also means that, if Thanos' goal is to acquire them all, as it was in the comics, he hasn't succeeded in acquiring any of them to this point. And right now, they are all fairly securely locked away.

The Collector

What is this guy's deal? The ominous way he spoke at the end of The Dark World suggested that he was working for Thanos, slowly building up a collection of the Stones to deliver to his master. His role in Guardians was considerably smaller than I expected, basically just a cameo-exposition dump, and with no clear indication of his ultimate motivations, other than the fact that he treats his staff like shit. If he isn't collecting the stones for Thanos, than why the hurt-on for for them? I look forward to learning more about this character in later films, if they can keep him on screen for more than five minutes.

Peter Quill's Father

The biggest "mystery" seeded by Guardians is the identity of Peter Quill's father. And James Gunn has confirmed that Quill's father will likely be a major factor in the plot of the sequel. What we know is this: his mother described him as her angel, bathed in light (though this might describe the tractor beam technology that Yondu used to pick up Peter with). The Nova Corps medical scan identified Quill as half human, and the second half being a biology unknown even to them. Ronan incorrectly identified Quill as being "mortal" and that his mixed parentage allowed Quill to use and survive using the Infinity Stone. Oh, and that Yondu was hired by Quill's father to pick him up from Earth after his mother's death, but Yondu never delivered him because "that guy was a jackass."

Anyone familiar with the comics might be saying, "Wait a minute, Peter Quill's father is J'son of Spartax, Emperor of the Spartoi Empire." And to you I would say, calm down and go outside for a half an hour. Because J'son, origin of Quill's middle name, is a very minor character in the comics, playing only a significant role in Quill's retconned origin story, a story that the movie utterly dispensed with. Early drafts of the script heavily featured Spartoi, but these were removed by Gunn in favour of better establishing Xandar, and introducing Yondu. Considering what the film has already introduced, and without wanting to get too detail crazy so early on in a franchise, there might be a better direction to go in with Quill's parentage. If the Celestials could harness the power of the Stones, and Quill has this power also, but the Celestials are all dead, that would suggest that Quill is the child of the children of the Celestials, the Eternals. Of which Thanos is one (kind of, but we won't get into that). Don't worry though, Gunn is smart enough not to go all Darth Vader on Quill's backstory. I think he's looking to a different sci-fi staple.



Quill's Captain Kirk-like, ladies man behaviour would be fitting for a child of Eros of Titan, AKA Star Fox. Star Fox, perhaps the only comic book hero ever put on trial for repeated date-rape (really), has the ability to manipulate people's emotions, specifically in relation to love, and uses that power to basically man-whore his way across the galaxy. He's also mostly an ass, and Thanos' brother. Which would make Quill Thanos' nephew, a relationship that Gamora and Drax would probably take issue with.

In the hands of the masterful undercutting on convention that James Gunn has built his career on, Eros would be a fantastic character, basically a Burt Reynolds in the 1970's style bottle of smarm. An immortal, hammy, cod-piece wearing, mustache having ladies man (or something equally cheesy). And immediately, two names spring to mind that would be fantastic in the role (which wouldn't have to age match Chris Pratt because, you know, immortal): Nathan Fillion or Nick Offerman. Both actors have something working in their favour: Fillion, because he's worked with Gunn before, and Eros would basically be Captain Hammer. And Offerman, because he already has established father-son chemistry with Pratt from their time on Parks.

Howard the Duck

And just because, no one else would have been able to put Howard the Duck in a movie and still have that movie get a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Because the places where a talking duck in a suit drinking a martini can be an applause generating cap to a fantastic explosion of imagination are few and far between. And because he's Howard the freaking Duck, and deserves a better place in the public consciousness than being associated with George Lucas.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.

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