I went with my family to see Guardians of the Galaxy Saturday, and spent most of the movie in open-mouthed horror. I would have been warned if I had even glanced at the movie poster before entering, but due to my inattention I had no idea what it was about. So I suppose I deserved what I got.
While I watched, I was reminded of something I once read, “When your young children watch television, it’s like inviting strangers into your home to teach them values.” You should take your kids to see Guardians of the Galaxy if you would like strangers to teach your children that:
- Abusing and killing small animals is funny and cool
- Gambling-induced animal fights are very entertaining
- There’s no problem that can’t be solved with a gun. If you can’t solve a problem, your gun isn’t big enough.
- Prison guards are the bad guys
- If the dialogue isn’t working out, just pile on the bodies. On-screen killings are a great diversion.
- It’s really funny when someone somewhat gentle unexpectedly kills 20 people in an extremely violent way.
- Violence is even better with a cool retro soundtrack.
- We just need to get rid of the “bad guys” and everything will be fine.
Here are the footnotes:
- The hero starts the movie off by kicking small animals out of his way, at full force. I wondered if this would be the horrible “before” person the hero changes from, but while the heroes do grow in that they care for some people, they do not grow less violent.
- There is a dog-fighting equivalent with aliens animals. This is at the point in the movie when the heroes begin to be a little nicer to each other, so I was hoping one of them would show, by even a look, that this was not OK. But no. They eagerly participate.
- If you go see this movie, try to spot the scene without a gun. It is non-stop. At one point, one hero blows away his friend’s sister with a bazooka (literally) when she calls his friend a mean name.
- Our heroes are in prison after they break the law on a peaceful planet. We are supposed to cheer when they kill dozens of guards on their way out.
- I couldn’t believe how gratuitous the violence was. They wouldn’t merely injure someone if they could kill him, and they wouldn’t merely kill one person if they could kill 20. I asked my daughter how many people she saw killed in the movie. She guessed a thousand. I think that would be low if you count the one-man spaceships which are destroyed, but shots where you actually see a person killed, probably several hundred. Alas, their deaths were in vain – they failed to distract from the clunky comic-book dialogue.
- A hero who seems quieter and kinder suddenly impales 10 soldiers and then for a good 10 seconds smashes the implement and their bodies into another dozen or so soldiers, smashing everyone to bits. He then looks back at his friends and smiles at their surprise.
- The soundtrack was all old hits. This was meant to help us relate to this guy as he blew people away.
- The bad guys were completely one-dimensional. Why is it OK for good guys to kill them? Because they’re bad. Why are they bad? Because they’re the bad guys. It’s the Myth of Redemptive Violence. I know, it’s a comic book. But when you put it into a live-action movie, it becomes values. I prefer this one: Wouldn’t it be convenient if we could line up all the bad people on one side, and be rid of them? But the line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man, and who would cut out a piece of his own heart?
It makes me very sad that these are the stories our culture tells itself, these are the values our culture admires.