Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy ★★★★

As much as I tend to enjoy superhero movies as popcorn entertainment, I do have to admit that there are certain trends in them I don't feel particularly comfortable with. Take objectivism, for one thing. Superhero media has always had an authoritarian streak to it, but the modern superhero narrative in particular has taken on aspects that would have Ayn Rand foaming at the mouth in glee. Superhero stories like Batman v. Superman and the Iron Man series seem more focused on the concept of the singular hero rather than the idea of heroism - every act they do is shown to be for the sake of themselves and their self-improvement rather than the idea of standing up for others.

Maybe that's why I love this movie so much. Whether intentional or not, Guardians of the Galaxy is a counterargument against the modern superhero movie, presenting the self-centered egotistic heroism of Star-Lord, the detached, mocking objectivism of Rocket, and the brutal humorless vigilantism of Drax as worthless without a sense of community and a cause worth fighting for. For all of the fan claims that the film is Marvel "not doing a superhero movie", this is possibly Marvel's purest superhero movie yet, one centered around kindness and solidarity and characters who actually change because their creator isn't afraid of making them interesting and multifaceted and not wholly marketable. This lacks the obnoxious irony and grey sameness of everything else Marvel seems to be producing lately, yes. This actually feels like it was created by a creator rather than a committee, yes. But what matters is that this has real empathy, something that I can barely imagine a true superhero movie without.

Also, it has a Ranger Rick reference that actually makes sense in terms of characterization. Take that, Avatar.

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