Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
All the reviews of Guardians of the Galaxy mention the “ragtag band of misfits” trope, but none of them seem to have noticed how political this movie is. Not that it’s especially allegorical or polemical, it’s not. This is not a movie about how politics is, could be, or ought to be practiced, which is good, because I hate that kind of movie. Instead, despite the epic scale, this is a much smaller movie, about the effects of political trauma on individual life.
When you hear “band of misfits,” you assume you’re going to get some combination of fuckups and weirdos, and GOTG certainly delivers. They’re all different colors and species, engaged in variously illegal activities, with levels of merriment ranging from “stonefaced” to “maniacal.” But to stop there would be to miss the most important part. The emotional core of everyone on the team comes from their origin stories, which are: abducted from home by mercenaries, coerced into service of same; family killed by invading attackers; family killed by invading attackers, then coerced into service of same; abducted from home (or synthesized?) by shadowy experimenters and coerced into experiments in service of same; and Groot, whose origins are unclear but who is completely alone, except for Rocket.
These are not “dropped out of state school because I was partying too hard” stories, despite the lazy jokes about Quill sleeping around. These are stories of political violence and disenfranchisement. Our heroes belong not to the social category of fuckups but to a political category: refugees. By the time the movie starts, they’re a long way from being innocents, but those trajectories all started with being rendered helpless and alone. “Life takes more than it gives”: it’s taken their communities, their families, their autonomy.
This movie is about what it means to make something new for yourself, after what you have is taken. Petty larceny doesn’t cut it, grand larceny doesn’t cut it, even vengeance doesn’t cut it. There are only two things that really help: making your own family, and giving a shit, which turn out to be pretty close to the same thing.
Our heroes belong not to the social category of fuckups but to a political category: refugees.
Page 1 of 662