Family of Misfits

Serina Thomas

21 Century Expression

Frances Tran


Guardians of the Galaxy is a modern-day example of a movie that has created characters that relate to today’s audience. The film utilizes science fictional elements to present the audience with an entertaining but understandable way of looking at the broader them of family in superhero’s lifes. The movie intertwines the theme of family with identity and morality to show how crucial the aspect of family is to the development of individuals, no matter who or what they are.

The absence of family is a particular trope that is very present in almost all superhero stories. Peter Quill loses his mother to cancer and has never met his father, Gamora’s adoptive father is the evil villain Thanos, Drax’s family is killed, while Rocket and Groot don’t even have a family. Family is an important element that everyone, human or not, longs for and is connected so strongly to how one’s mind develops. The heroes in Guardians of the Galaxy all suffer a lack in their sense of identity because they didn’t have that developmental aspect of a loving, nurturing family who teaches them right from wrong and where they came from. Growing up without a true sense of family leads each character to question their identities. For example, both Rocket and Gamora are called names such as being a vermin or monster which affect them negatively because they themselves are not secure in what they believe and who they are. They take the comments of their society as the truth because they don’t have any family to be honest and nurturing with them. Most of us grow up with our identity strongly grounded in our culture and family background but these characters have a hole in their identity that causes them to do drastic and immoral things, such as commit crimes.

All the characters are misfit criminals that essentially meet in prison which show how they have grown up without a real sense of morality of how stealing or killing people is not tolerable in society. Even their initial motivations behind dealing with the infinity stone was based on the external reward of getting money, almost to show that they are trying to fill the void of being lonely with the reward. The shift in the characters’ morality and motivation occur when they discover that they need each other to complete their goals and that they are each other’s family. In particular, the scene that occurs after the collector’s place is blown up by the infinity stone and Ronan comes to retrieve it marks the beginning of the change in the characters. In this scene, Drax unsuccessfully tries to take on Ronan by himself, while Peter and Rocket try to help Gamora keep the infinity stone away from Nebula. After this scene occurs the viewer can see a shift from being selfish to caring for each other when Groot saves Drax from drowning, Peter saves Gamora, and Rocket, Drax, and Groot try to save Peter and Gamora from Yandu. None of these characters had to save each other but they wanted to because they had cultivated a bond with each other that resembled that of a family. Being misfits that are underestimated and picked on is one of the bonds that binds them to one another. The audience truly relates to this misfit element of the characters because it makes them more “human” in a sense.

The film shows that they are not the ideal superhero identity that many are used to, instead they are more real in their actions and mentalities. This goes to show how different types of people can still have a significant impact on society despite criticism and hatred that they encounter. The film shows that once the characters become a team and commit to each other that they become invincible and confident in their unique identities. The film deals with the contemporary ideas of how important family is because it impacts how we see ourselves and how we conduct ourselves in society. It speaks to how one can always find the place where they belong and have an impact on the world not matter how insignificant they may seem


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