Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Misogyny Continued

I explained to a female friend why I thought 'Guardians of the Galaxy' was a big pile of shit (apart from Rocket and Groot, both of whom I adored in every way). I told her that apart from having an irritatingly unoriginal and predictable storyline, the main character was hollow, uninteresting, cliche in all the wrong ways, and one-upped by a Raccoon going through the exact same character arch in a much more interesting way (they were both Han Solo, but Rocket made a better Han Solo than Starfucker, or whatever his name was, by far. Plus, Rocket had the big companion. Groot = Chewbacca. I rest my case). Also, their space United Nations headed by space Hilary Clinton against the space terrorist... alright, the terrorist idea was kinda good, but the self-righteous Western world allegory was so thinly veiled that all I found myself thinking was "Afghanistan or Iraq?"

But my main beef with the movie was this: Zoe Saldana's character was brought in as a bad ass intergalactic spy, a force to be reckoned with, and the second after their initial fight, she spent the rest of the movie as a damsel in need of constant rescue, in prison, in space, etc... presumably to justify the shitty story of the asshole protagonist (granted I hated him more than most normal people would, because he represented to me, in every conceivable way, all the guys I hated in high school, and college... and now). Sexy, green-skinned girl needs rescuing; asshole suddenly wants to be a better man... d'awwww... how quaint... and how very Captain Kirk. But we've already got the Kirk of the era, and somehow in the Star Trek remake, he managed in one movie to pull off the asshole-to-hero arch incredibly well. Ssure, they were both sexist pigs, but Kirk's character arch was one of greater-good nobility, rather than merely "I want to fuck the green girl"...which is strange, being that  even had him with a green girl at the beginning of the movie. (Star Trek was brilliant, by the way.) On the other hand, Starfucker's "oooh, I can hold the scary glowy thing!" as his final act of nobility... too little arch, too late in the movie for me to give a shit by that point. He'd already managed to be a hollow asshole too long for me to care about him. "We are Groot," was the only thing keeping me hanging on at that point. The only time Zoe's character (whose name I can't remember without looking it up, which tells you something about how much care the filmmaker's put into her and how memorable it was) actually ended up kicking ass again was... oh, right, of course, against the other girl.... who she didn't even really beat... presumably to help set up the sequel. Again, the main female protagonist was used as a plot-device and not much else.

I'm not telling you this because I care to debate the matter. That's my opinion, and that's why you didn't see me praising that movie in the slightest. I'm telling you this because when I explained my opinion to a female friend of mine, she said, "That's females in comic books." She didn't say that in protest. She said it in resignation. And that just made me really fucking sad. The history of comics is of course one of a boy's club, but when things are being revamped, revitalized, and brought to contemporary audiences, c'mon, let's not just roll over and accept the fact that yet another generation is being fed this bullshit.