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Something Good, Something Bad, or a Little Bit of Both?

August 5, 2014

I’ll just mention this now, but this post is more than likely going to contain great big fat SPOILERS!!!! for Marvel’s new intergalactic epic Guardians of the Galaxy by the bucketful.

PS – SPOILERS! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Still reading? Did I mention the Spoilers? Good. Lets get on with it…

So we went to see the above mentioned film yesterday, and I really enjoyed it. At least, I enjoyed it while I was watching it. Afterwards… not so much. Allow me to explain.

We went to the cinema because it was my daughter’s (we’ll call her K for convenience) 9th birthday yesterday, and she really wanted to see GotG. Like, really really really wanted to see it. She’s enjoyed other Marvel films like Avengers, Thor and Captain America and also really likes Agents of Shield on TV, so when the trailers started appearing I showed her them on the laptop and it got her excited for the film to the point of delirium. I admit, I definitely stoked the fires of Hype for the film – after all, it’s great when you can have that kind of shared experience with your kids when you’re both really looking forward to the same film or whatever. I was a bit wary of the 12A rating, but when thought about the other films K had been fine watching and I started hearing reviews describing it as a fun sci-fi/fantasy romp I reckoned it would be OK, so we headed to our local cinema.

Even before we got to the cinema, K was asking me if we could buy the DVD when it comes out. ‘Why don’t you wait to see if you like the film first?’ I said. She looked at me a bit funny, and replied ‘how can I not like it? It’s a film about a thief, and assassin, two thugs and a manic who save the universe?’ At least we know advertising works, eh? When we were waiting in the cinema my wife asked her what she fancied getting to eat after the film. K said Subway, even though she doesn’t really like the stuff they sell. It turned out she said Subway because she wanted to get a Rocket Raccoon bag or similar from their GotG promotion.

So in we go to watch the film. As the movie progressed there were a few bits where I was a little bit concerned for K – when Star Lord’s mother dies in the first few minutes, for example. She can be a bit sensitive with that kind of scene. Then the prison scenes were a bit grim, as were the villains. The bit where the Collector’s servant gets vaped by the infinity stone isn’t very nice to watch, certainly. Rocket’s and Drax’s back stories were a wee bit harrowing too, as was the scene were Gamora almost gets killed by Nebula. But K seemed to be managing OK. As I said, she’d seen worse stuff. I recall her clearly bouncing up and down when Rocket did his ‘Awww Yeeaaah’ line, and being very amused by the whole ‘I need his leg/eye’ stuff. She also seemed to like all the bits with Groot, such as his stealing the battery thing and giving the little girl on Knowhere one of his flowers. Basically she loved Rocket and Groot… and therein, I think, was the problem.



So we get to the climatic battle sequence… and Groot dies (well, sorta) heroically saving the rest of the team. Not only does Groot die (well, sorta) he does so in a way designed to get maximum emotional response from the viewer. And boy, did it work. Doubly so when Rocket breaks down and sobs while holding a handful of broken twigs that used to be his best friend. K’s spent the entire film enjoying the antics of Groot and Rocket, and now one of them’s dead and the other’s howling in despair. This, as it turns out, was too much for her. Like I said, she’d watched stuff with adult themes before and coped – she didn’t even get upset when Coulson got killed in Avengers – but the combination of how hyped she was for the film and how much she liked Groot and Rocket ending up backfiring with a level of upsetness that eclipsed even dying E.T. And Gandalf falling at Khazad-Dum combined. Even the rebirth of Groot / Dancing flowerpot sequence didn’t really help. The damage had been done at that point and K was still sat on my knee all teary when Howard the Duck turned up during the post credits scene. When we left there was no talk of going to Subway or buying the DVD. We just went home instead. Her disappointment that the film hadn’t turned out to be her favourite thing ever was palpable, and I felt it as keenly as she did.

So, I thought GotG was an excellent movie. Good story, good cast, good action sequences… the lot. If you haven’t seen it you totally should (and if you haven’t seen it why the hell are you reading this? Did you not see the spoiler warning?). But K’s reaction to it has really taken the shine of it for me. She was just so upset and disappointed that I feel like right bastard for getting her excited with the trailers and for taking her to see it, particularly as it was her birthday as well. I felt rotten for not following my normal 12A policy of making sure I’ve seen the film myself before letting the kids watch it, but even if I’d done that I’d probably have still taken her to see it as I couldn’t have expected her to react like she did.

At the moment I can’t think of the film without thinking of her being upset and feeling like it was my fault. Somewhat irrational, perhaps, but that about sums it up at the moment. It’s not the first time something other than the quality of the film itself has influenced my feelings about a movie.  When I went to see Hellboy at the cinema I ended up getting into an argument with a bloke behind me who wouldn’t stop yapping, and the foul mood that the altercation put me in soured the whole evening. For ages I couldn’t try to watch that film without remembering the disappointment of the ruined evening and the ugly incident, though I got over it eventually. Hopefully it’ll be the same with Guardians – maybe a second viewing in the safety of our front room in few months will help K see that she really was enjoying it until Groot’s sacrifice, and that there’s still a happy ending after all. We’ll see.

And if that doesn’t work… well, I guess I’m going to be watching the sequel alone when it rolls around. And I’m going to be heck of a lot more careful with 12As in the future. The kids certainly won’t be watching them until I can confirm them until I can be sure they don’t contain any living tree/anthropomorphic racoon-based trauma, that’s for bloody certain.


From → Musings

  1. I read on despite the spoiler warning 😉

    • I don’t know…some people just never listen 🙂

      You should still go and see the movie though – it’s top notch bubblegum sci-fi fun.

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