Karl Puschmann: Star Lord or Star Whore?

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Guardians of the Galaxy transformed Karl Puschmann into his own worst nightmare; a person who cares.

Guardians of the Galaxy takes a disturbing, misogynistic turn for the worse.
Guardians of the Galaxy takes a disturbing, misogynistic turn for the worse.

I'm pissed at Guardians of the Galaxy. Not for any man-child, 'they ruined the comic' nerd-rage reasons. No. I'm pissed because Marvel's latest blockbuster has turned me into something I never wanted to be - or even imagined I could be; offended.

It's awful being offended. Have you tried it? I can't recommend it. You bore people. You bore yourself. You bleat and moan and you get blank stares and then people mutter about how boring and bleating and bloody earnest you are behind your back. And then they ignore you. Next thing you're writing letters to the editor, calling talkback radio and commenting on blogs.

You become, in short, an idiot. Someone you wouldn't want to know. The worst part is that you can't help acting this way. You know you should let it go. But you can't. Because you're offended and you want everyone else to be offended with you.

I'm going through this right now because of one of the most entertaining movies of the year. A film I loved. One of the best comic flicks ever made.

If you haven't seen GotG yet, you should. Preferably in IMAX 3D. It's bright colourful fun, smartly plotted with great characters and packed with LOLs.

It's also casually and needlessly misogynistic. Which is what's grating me, chipping away at my enjoyment a little more each day. I walked out of the cinema buzzing. Now I'm just bummed out.

Spoilers, obviously. Before the climactic battle one of our heroes, an alien named Drax who doesn't understand metaphors and can only speak in absolute literal terms, calls Gamora, the female guardian, a "green whore". In the same breath he also calls her "friend", but that's overshadowed by the whole "whore" thing.

It comes out of nowhere and jars like a door being slammed right in your face. It's going for a cheap laugh, but it's uncomfortable and wholly unsuitable in a film aimed squarely at kids.

Not only is it unfunny, in context it doesn't make any sense. At no point does Gamora act whoreish. Yes, she almost makes out with the movie's hero, Star Lord, but she pulls away. However Drax wouldn't know about that as he's busy getting boozed at the time.

In contrast, the dudebro Star Lord gets so much play he actually forgets he has a female conquest asleep onboard his ship. We don't learn her name because he's forgotten it. Later, he makes gags about how filthy his ship is.

Really, it's Star Lord who is the star whore. Not the heroine who stares down a prison full of thugs, kicks ass throughout and comes up with the day saving plan. She's like a green Beyonce, and you know Bey wouldn't stand for that kind of talk.

But Star Lord's behaviour is passed off as charmingly roguish instead of supremely slutty while Gamora gets labelled a whore by a loutish drunk for no reason other than that she's a she and the male writer/director obviously believes calling women whores is the pinnacle of cherry banter.

Well, it's not. Marvel made its fortune telling the stories of the outcasts, the picked on, the judged. Their comics offered playground solace for millions and their films have made being a nerd or a geek somewhat cool. Yet their biggest movie of the year, one that unashamedly appeals to kids, not only judges, but actively insults, half its young audience. That is not what Marvel is supposed to be about.

What message is this sending to all the wide-eyed, impressionable kids rushing out after the movie to play with their plastic space raccoons? At the risk of sounding like a bleeding heart... what about the children?

Rolling your eyes yet? Yeah, me too. I never wanted any of this. And that's why I'm pissed at Guardians of the Galaxy. You can try and save yourself, but it's too late for me. I'm already offended. See you in the comments.

- NZ Herald

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