Family of Misfits

Serina Thomas

21 Century Expression

Frances Tran

12/15/2015

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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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Facilitators: Vennela, Brandon, Wen-Chiao, Serina

As we have learned throughout this course, everyone loves a good superhero movie to watch and grow up with. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is the most current and newest superhero movie that audience have been introduced to. The film follows a group of misfit criminals and their journey to save the universe. This blockbuster hit is entertaining but also has some deeper meanings as we have learned to find during this course. See if you can find those deeper meanings, tropes, and similarities that this amazing movie has with the materials we have encountered in this course as well as movies and books that we haven’t discussed. Chances are most of you have seen the film but  if not here are just some scenes that will give you the main plot and points of the film.

Enjoy!

The very beginning

26 years later

Prison Break

The Collector

We are Groot

Star-Lord Dance

Infinity Stone/ Guardians of the Galaxy

Being A Team- Big Hero 6

This scene focuses on Hiro’s presentation at the robot exhibition in which he showcases his micro-bots in the hopes of getting into the school. This scene may seem ordinary and just a part of the plot line but when read closely you can see how this foreshadows to the Big Hero 6 team. When Hiro says “This is a micro-bot. It may not look like much but when it links up with the rest of its pals (garbage bins fall over letting all the micro-bots flow forward to unite onstage) things get a little more interesting”. This alludes to how as one individual they are unsuccessful but together they are stronger. As individuals, each member can be read as small, weak, and easy to defeat. You can see that they are a weak team in their first battle against Callahan. Each person approaches Callahan with the goal of getting the transmitter from his head, yet each walk away defeated. They approach the situation without a plan and mainly act on impulse, which seems ironic because they all are brainiacs who think things through, with the slight exception of Fred.  Below you can see how unattached they are and how hard it is for them to accomplish their goal of defeating Callahan. Wasabi is asking what to do, while Fred, Honey Lemon, and Go Go just act. An overall confusion is seen in the battle. The disconnect felt is also shown with the micro-bots especially when Hiro uses a singular micro-bot to find the others. The micro-bot is so drawn to the others that it is restless to become connected with its equals, it becomes a need that must be fulfilled. A point that flows into the Big Hero 6 team.

It is later on, in the final battle that we see the team become one unit. The line in which Hiro says “I think what they want them to do and they do it” relates to the final battle scene in which Hiro is the one that comes up with the plan. Hiro seems to be the one who brings the team together and helps them to think outside the box. The fluidity of the team’s actions show how they are more in sync with each other, instead of tripping over each other as they did before. They have acquired one mind, which arguably is Hiro’s, and acts upon it together.He says that “the only limit is your imagination”, which can be looked upon as nothing can stop the micro-bots as long as they are together, anything is possible.

The dark, dimly lit setting of the first battle pretty much foreshadows the impending defeat that will happen. It has an non-clarity and confusion about it that reflects the tone of the situation. While, the final battle takes place in the sunlight, which represents hope and victory. The sunlight shows a more clear mindset of the team in which they have a focus on the task of beating Callahan. The music of the first battle plays to every emotion of the scene from the funny moments to the defeat by using a more light melody and switching to a lower more pounding sound that emanates doom.

These scenes are similar to many superhero movies in which the team initial fails because they act as individuals instead of as one.  The idea of teamwork is an element that shows that superheros are not unbeatable by themselves but with others.

“Ink” (p.68-111)

“Like, people inside are pretty much the same people outside. We’ve got somewhere around 1,000 inks of all kinds here now and if you walk into the lunchroom you’ll see them sitting into ethnic groupings. And within each group, they sit pretty much by color of tat. Unspoken hierarchy, a lot like high school. The only ones who seem to cross the boundaries are kids too little to recognize the distinctions other than size” (p.74)

In this passage, Abbie is observing the lunchroom of the inkatorium after a shipment of new inks came in. She watches the inks and takes note of how they organize themselves by ethnic groups and within their groups, by the color of their tattoos. The inks are all bound together by their situation, the way they are seen and treated by the society they live in. I find the organization among the inks to be interesting because they seems to have an “unspoken hierarchy” that is evident despite the fact that they are victims to another ranking system. It seems strange to me because the thing that bonds them together, their tattoos, also separates them from each other. However, this is not the case for children. In the eyes of the kids there are no differences between the people among them except for the size of a person. The passage illustrates how the children know little about the reason for the organization or the reason as to why they are in the inkatorium in the first place. This in itself shows that the people are raised into the hierarchical system not born with it ingrained in them, meaning that as the children grow up they will learn their place in society and begin to organize themselves to fit the system. This learned behavior goes beyond the minds of the inks to even those of ordinary American citizens. Abbie makes reference to the “unspoken hierarchy” of the lunchroom to her experience in high school. The reference points to how even within the social structure of the American citizens there is a hierarchical system that determines how people treat one another. One example being when Rose, a fellow classmate, says ‘I don’t know why you hang with trailer trash, John’ (p.68). Here, Abbie is ranked to be of a lower class to that of Rose and John because she is not as well off as they are, even though all are the same race and citizens. The passage illustrates that no matter the situation, the idea of superiority, rank, and classification seems to be the main focal point that the author writes about and questions.

-Serina Thomas