Guardians of the Galaxy
directed by James Gunn

What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Guardians of the Galaxy? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper
Director: James Gunn
Production Co: Mavel Studios

Written by: Ben Steiner
Analysis & Directed by: Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Producer & Additional Artwork by: Jacob S. Salamon

Guardians of the Galaxy’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema

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Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Guardians of the Galaxy, overachieving stepchild of the Marble Universe and proud father of the enduring genre known as “milk every obscure piece of intellectual property for franchise potential even if it kills us.” Which as we all know, it did.

The film follows an Earthling named Peter Quill who is too busy jamming out to Spotify Preem to notice his mother is dead. Another thing he doesn’t notice is the ship full of space pirates that comes to abduct him for no apparent reason. Smash cut to four score and six years later, and Quill is something of a space pirate himself, stealing paperweights and whatnot. He tries to sell the paperweight, but there’s a bounty on his head, and before he knows it he’s being attacked by a raccoon named Rocket, a tree named Groot, and a sexy gremlin named Gamora. The fight ends when they all get abducted by the circus.

Once in the circus, an skinless carnie named Drax tries to shiv Gamora because she’s like this with some goth guy named Ronan who killed his family. But it turns out Gamora is more like this with Ronan, so Quill uses his human powers of butting into other people’s business to suggest she help Drax bring Ronan down instead of getting killed. They escape to go try to sell the paperweight again, since that worked so well the first time.

They travel to a giant head in the sky, which Earth poets called the “man on the moon”. There they meet the Architect, I mean the Collector. He opens the paperweight and finds an Infinity Stone, also known as the same MacGuffin that’s in every Marble movie. As the Wild Thornberrys once said, handle with care.

To keep things moving along, Ronan arrives and steals the paperweight back. Gamora’s ship gets blowed up and she floats in space for a bit, and even though Quill hates letting other people borrow his stuff, he lends her his favorite air helmet. As a last resort, they contact the only people they know who have a car: these donks.

Ronan puts the Infinity Stone in his hammer, giving him the first and only super powerful hammer in cinematic history. The space pirates and the space police try to surround the bad guy ship like so many pigs in so many blankets, but this little piggy wants to go to market. So Rocket cries roast beef and they all go wee wee wee all the way to whatever planet they crash on. Groot keeps everyone safe inside a wicker basket, but gets destroyed by his increasingly complicated identity issues.

Quill teaches Ronan how to NayNay, then takes the Infinity Stone as his instructor fee. And in a stunning twist, it doesn’t destroy him because of the power of handholding.

The space police give all the main characters a full pardon, and Groot reincarnates himself as an inflatable dancing man for a used car lot.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a film permeated by tragedy, and I’m not just talking about plot holes. Nearly all of the film’s main characters have experienced horrible misfortune: Quill’s mother dies of disease, Drax’s family was murdered by Ronan, Gamora’s parents were killed by Thanos, and Rocket is plagued by a special kind of existential angst known as Frankenstein’s Disease. Ronan, too, is pushed to radical zealotry after witnessing his entire race near extinction, just as the Galapagos tortoise was before him.

Yet, despite the film’s grim reality, Guardians of the Galaxy maintains a cheerful tone by way of its soundtrack, an assortment of 1970’s and 80’s songs primarily from Earth. These classic jams transform a spooky cave into a night club and an inhumane torture scene into a night club. Quill’s most prized possession is his Awesome Mix Tape, because as Quill says, dancing is “the greatest thing there is.” Clearly he’s never listened to any late-period Ryglar and the Kravdavlians.

This frivolous attitude also manifests itself in the film’s comedy. If a scene approaches potentially toxic levels of seriousness, it is often undercut by a moment of levity, indicating a cosmic need to laugh away the pain. Like this: ha ha ha.

When Quill dramatically displays the paperweight as a symbol of significant power, he drops it, as if it were nothing more than a little ball to keep papers from blowing away. Later, when the Guardians share a poignant realization of their impending self-sacrifice, Rocket comments on the fact that they’re all standing up, something only jackasses do.

But if a flippant attitude is the film’s attempt to deflect tragedy, friendship is its long-term solution. You hear that, Karen? LONG term solution, not “every couple months if you don’t have anything better to do” solution. But I digress. The space police are able to become more than the sum of their parts by linking up, evoking K’Nex, a Earth children’s game played amongst friends. And our heroes use a similar tactic to endure pain, break the cycle of violence, and by their powers combined, summon Captain Janet.

You see, when it comes to confronting the horrors of a bleak and violent universe, there are two options. You can either let it consume you and seek vengeance, or you can laugh it off with friends. Me? I choose the former every time.

For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid.

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And, as always, thanks for watching.

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