I love these review podcasts – nice to have Ron around!
As I mentioned briefly above, I loved this movie. Of course the Star Wars allusions were fantastic. I also got a little Indiana Jones feel from the move. Chris Pratt was equal parts Han Solo and Indiana Jones – the loveable rogue character. And of course, Star Lord’s theft of the orb was incredibly reminiscent of the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
What I found myself thinking about after the movie was over was how strong the theme of family played through the movie. Each of the characters had their own particularly experience with family that was very much the defining moment for the character. Drax is the most obvious. With Star Lord, I found it interesting that he loses his mother but gains a father-figure (of a sort) in Yondu. Gamora is the adopted (abducted?) child of an abusive and violent despot. Gamora and Nebula together seem to display two responses to growing up in an abusive (foster) family. Both of them want to see Thanos dead, but you get the sense that Nebula is a much more broken individual than Gamora. Ronan also, in addition to his religious zealotry, seemed motivated by what had happened to his father and grandfather (something he mentions a few times). And of course, John C. Reilly thanks Star Lord because he has a family, whom we see him coming home to in the end.
I couldn’t help but think of something from Timothy Zahn’s The Last Command. I read this back in high school and haven’t reread it since so the scene isn’t quite exact in my mind. But, I remember a scene where Wedge talks about how the Republic has had to put their faith in the most unlikely characters, thinking back to the farm boy that Luke was when he destroyed the death star to the group of smugglers who went against Thrawn. Xandar was in the end saved by a similar group of unexpected heroes in Yondu and the Ravagers, and Star Lord and the Guardians.
The only thing that I had some trouble with was Ronan. He was very mustache twirling, and I was really curious as to how much people unfamiliar with this material would have understood about him. But, as I thought about it, it seemed to me that we really don’t need any more explanation of Ronan’s motivation than the fact that he was a zealot and a fanatic. As with any zealot and fanatic, the underlying reasons for their actions really don’t matter and tend to disappear. Or, at the very least, it’s incomprehensible to anyone but themselves. In that sense, Ronan does work. He gives these little remarks about his fathers and Kree justice, which clearly make sense to him (pulled off by Lee Pace’s acting) but are pretty much meaningless to everyone else.
I cracked up with the post-credits scene. I took it as a little inside joke to people in the know but also a joke played against the normal Marvel movie expectation. This is really the first movie that comes outside of the Avengers universe, and as part of this new wave, the little post credits scene tells you not to expect what you’ve gotten used to with the other movies. Or maybe they just wanted to get Howard the Duck in. Of course, if and when they actually try to make a(nother) Howard the Duck movie, that’s when all of this Marvel / comic book movie thing will have jumped the shark.