Though it would be easy to dismiss them as such, the Guardians of the Galaxy are more than just a “bunch of a-holes.” If you’re a fan of the films, this may go without saying, but it can nonetheless be easy to overlook given that – despite their depth – the two ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movies also function brilliantly as “simple” action/comedies. But once you scratch the surface, you find a pair of movies that are fundamentally about family, specifically, the family we choose (as opposed to the one we’re born into). And of course, there are any number of thematic throughlines that play into and shape that narrative, but there’s one in particular that stands out to director and screenwriter James Gunn. Responding to a fan on Twitter, Gunn explained what, to him, is the unifying thread not only of the films themselves but of each individual character’s narrative:
“Thanks. ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is, to me, more than anything else, about adults who were abused as children starting to heal, uneasily and in fits and starts, by building relationships with other adults who were abused by children.”
This particular theme is reflected most explicitly in the interplay between Gamora and Nebula across both films (especially in the second), though it can be seen to one extent or another in virtually every character. Whether it’s Rocket’s existential self-loathing, the profound grief that lurks just below Drax’s jovial façade, or the cycle of abuse embodied by Star Lord and Yondu, it is an inescapable truth that each and every one of the film’s cast is in some way damaged, and through the companionship they have found, they may finally begin to heal.
The Guardians of the Galaxy can next be seen ‘Avengers: Infinity War’, which is set to arrive in theaters on April 27, 2018. The film will see the Guardians team up with the Avengers as they prepare to go toe-to-toe with Thanos. Their next solo appearance will be in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’, which is planned for release in 2020.