In the transition from the pages of a comic book to the big screen, some things obviously have to change. Story-telling between the two mediums is largely different, and that inherently necessitates that some alterations be made. Such is the case with the two ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ films: characters are adjusted, their back-stories are tweaked here and there, locations have a little “wiggle room,” and so forth.
This is definitely what happened to the character of Mantis in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.’ Portrayed on-screen by Pom Klementieff, Mantis is a member of an unnamed alien race who uses her emotional-psychic abilities to help ancient Celestial being Ego (Kurt Russell) rest. While her empathic powers do come directly from her comic-book version, that’s about all that remains of the character; in the Marvel books, she is actually a human whose parents leave her with a fanatical religious sect of the alien Kree race. She eventually joins The Avengers (after brief stints with DC and Eclipse Comics), turns from Vietnamese to green-skinned, and engages in cosmic adventures with the Silver Surfer and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The character’s written creator, Steve Engelhart, is the one that carried her to the other comic companies, and eventually back to Marvel, where he has written a sizable portion of her adventures. In a recent interview with Polygon, however, he expressed his disappointment in how much the character was changed for the cinematic version of Marvel’s story:
“Well, I was not happy with Mantis’ portrayal. That character has nothing to do with Mantis. I will say that I liked the film quite a bit overall, they’re doing good stuff and I enjoyed my night at the movies so long as I turned my brain off to the fact that that’s not Mantis up there. I really don’t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis. That I do not know.
I wasn’t impressed with what they did with Mantis but the Mantis on the screen was entertaining, I liked her but that’s not Mantis.”
What do you think? Do you agree with Engelhart?
‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2’ is currently in theaters.
Tony Schaab rolls his eyes when he hears kids reference a screen-cap of the original NES Super Mario game as a “Minecraft Mario” – you damn kids, get off my lawn! A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Twitter or follow him on Facebook to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.