In less than two weeks, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will hit American theaters.*
In case you are unaware, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera starring a team of prisoners who band together to save the universe. This team consists of a human, two humanoid aliens, a talking tree, and a machine gun wielding raccoon.
I’ve found that people generally have one of three reactions when it comes to hearing about this movie:
(1) Extreme excitement. These are the people like me who love cosmic Marvel and are excited to see some of our favorite characters (*cough*Rocket Raccoon*cough*) come to the big screen.
(2) Trust in Marvel. These are the people who are skeptical about the movie but are going to go see it anyway, because with Marvel Studios’s current track record of awesomeness they will pretty much see anything they produce.
(3) Complete Disbelief. These are the people who hear the idea of a talking tree and a gun-toting raccoon and think that executives at Marvel have gone completely off their rocker. These people have no intention of seeing this movie.
Needless to say, this movie is a bit of a risk for Marvel. Will people accept Rocket Raccoon as a compelling character? Will they understand Groot even though he can only say three words? Can the average superhero movie watcher handle a movie where Earth is only ever mentioned but not actually a place that is visited?
Marvel doesn’t know. Honestly, I don’t know what the outcome of this movie is going to be. I suspect it’s going to be amazing, but I don’t know if the box office will reflect that, because I don’t know if the average person is willing to take a chance on it.
People complain all the time about how formulaic fiction has gotten. They complain about how Hollywood only produces sequels anymore or how Hollywood won’t make movies with female action leads. They complain about these things and then they only see sequels, they only see movies led by men, and they only buy formulaic fiction.
Money talks. Ultimately money is all that matters in a capitalistic society. YA fiction will continue to be dominated by heterosexual romance until people start putting their money where their mouth is and buying books like Malindo Lo’s Adaptation. Action movies will continue to star men unless we all start buying tickets to movies like Lucy or The Heat. Women, PoC, or non-heteronormative couples will continue to be ignored and sidelined until we start actually paying for stories that focus on these characters.
And it’s happening. Slowly yet surely it’s happening. This week Ms. Marvel, a comic book starring a Muslim teenage girl in New Jersey, reached it’s sixth printing–something that rarely ever happens. The Hunger Games and Frozen are teaching Hollywood that women are a force to be reckoned with, both on and off the screen. But we can’t stop there. We can’t relent. Don’t just talk about how interesting having a female Thor or a black Captain America would be. Buy the comics.**
This is why I’m going to see Guardians of the Galaxy, and regardless of how good it is, I’m going to see it multiple times. Because as a cosmic Marvel fan, I want to do everything I can to say to Marvel Studios, “I want to see more of this. And please for the love of Loki give me a Nova movie.” And the only real way I have to tell Marvel that is with my money.
Let’s not just be talkers. Let’s put our money where our mouth is and actually support the kinds of stories we want to see.
Are there any books, movies, or comics that you love, which feature minority groups, and you wished got more support?
*No one here should be shocked that I’m talking about a Marvel movie in a post. What can I say? Everything in life relates to Marvel.
**I am very aware of the Remender problem, and personally I’m torn as to whether or not to pick up the first Sam Wilson as Captain America comic. I want to support Sam as Cap but I don’t want to support Remender. Alas. It’s a dilemma.