The Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guardians of the Galaxy might be a fearless band of warriors, but they’re also a group of serious weirdos. Arrested development, daddy issues, tragic origin stories — if you can name a serious insecurity or trauma, odds are, one of them has it. These are the Guardians’ greatest weaknesses. Peter Quill is kidnapped as a child by Yondu and his band of Ravagers right after he watches his mother die.
Growing up in the company of space pirates is as thrilling as it is terrifying, ultimately stranding him in a prolonged adolescence. He gives himself the name “Star-Lord” in order to sound cool. His tastes and interests are static, as his entire cultural education is stuck on the “Awesome Mix” his mother left him. He is an eternal child of the 1980s, stranded among aliens who’ve never heard of Kevin Bacon.
While all of this is endearing in its own weird way, less so is his underdeveloped emotional intelligence. Peter is incredibly insecure. He gets into fights with Rocket over who’s the best pilot, becomes jealous of Thor. He puts personal satisfaction before the greater good consistently. Who can forget the moment in Avengers: Infinity War when he attacks Thanos out of grief for Gamora? It gave the tyrant the opening he needs to escape. It’s all part of his overall immaturity.
Groot is introduced as Rocket’s muscle and partner-in-crime. While Groot turns out to be a sensitive creature, he also seems perfectly happy to do what everyone else is doing, especially if it allows him a relatively easy life.
I am groot
The adult Groot in the first Guardians film is happy to take orders from Rocket, even amid constant criticism. Groot is a useful teammate when he’s motivated, but pretty useless when it comes to everything else. Groot isn’t going to come up with plans, chart a new course, or even pay attention. Indeed, when Baby Groot is asked to find a particular item for Yondu, he brings back everything imaginable but the item, including a severed human toe. The one time Groot thinks independently is when he sacrifices himself at the end of Guardians Of The Galaxy. He might not be a great thinker, planner, or leader, but he loves his adoptive family and will do anything for them.
“We are Groot.” When audiences meet Drax the Destroyer in the first Guardians film, all he wants is to kill Ronan the Accuser.
Later, all he wants is to kill Thanos. His focus is sharp, but it also leads to trouble. While his lack of nuance and intense literal thinking is hilarious, “Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.” …Drax’s one-track mind gets him and the group into trouble on more than one occasion. Indeed, after the Guardians’ plan to sell the Orb to the Collector goes awry, Drax responds by calling Ronan out and demanding a showdown. He has no plan, other than to stab Ronan repeatedly. This, to him, is not an impediment. To Drax’s credit, the beatdown he receives from Ronan does teach him to value his team.
The games of Thanos
It doesn’t change his approach to battle, however: He’s still a stab first, ask questions later kind of guy. Sometimes this is useful, but other times it leads to trouble. He’s learning â€” but he’s likely always going to be a hard-headed goofball with too many knives and too little caution. Thanos raised Gamora to be the perfect killing machine.
She grows up steeling herself against the need for affection, striving to become her adopted father’s perfect killer. She succeeds, but only at a tremendous emotional cost. When Gamora finally escapes Thanos and finds herself with the Guardians, it triggers a long-suppressed need for a real family. While she complains about having to deal with Quill and Rocket’s adolescent antics, it’s clear that she secretly delights in scolding them. The same is true of Baby Groot and even Drax.
She doesn’t just want to take care of them â€” Gamora wants them to behave. The problem is that Gamora puts everything into her strange little family. She goes from totally closed-off and selfish to totally open and self-sacrificing. That imbalance kills her, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thanos does one of the worst things a parent can do to Nebula and Gamora: He pits his daughters against each other, forcing them to fight for his approval. Nebula tends to come out the loser in these twisted games, and it scars her for life. When she finally hunts down Gamora on Ego and beats her in a fight, Nebula celebrates like the little sister that she is. That’s when she reveals that all she’s ever really wanted to be a sister.
This moment frees her of the need to please Thanos â€” now, all she wants to do is kill him. In the aftermath of the Snap, Nebula learns how to be a good friend. Instead of killing to please her father, she learns how to play paper football and be a good sport.
Does Gamora get a happy ending?
It’s not a happy ending for the blue-skinned cyborg â€” it is instead her happy beginning. At the beginning of the Guardians films, Yondu captures young Peter Quill on Earth but decides not to bring the boy to his father, Ego. From Quill’s perspective, Yondu kidnaps him, but in fact, the pirate was saving him from a terrible fate, as he’d discovered what Ego was really doing with his children.
When the other Ravagers catch wind of Yondu’s apparent human trafficking, they exile him. Instead of trying to find a way to redeem himself or tell Peter the truth, Yondu doubles down on being a scoundrel. Though he can never bring himself to kill Peter when he’s betrayed by him, Yondu never tells him that he sees Peter as his own son until it’s nearly too late. Being unable to say he’s sorry dooms him in the end, even if he manages to redeem himself. Rocket puts up a gruff, wise-cracking exterior as a way of protecting himself from his own trauma and self-loathing.
Even when the Guardians accept him, he still actively antagonizes them because of how much he hates himself. It slips out occasionally, like when he gets drunk and yells, “I didn’t ask to be torn apart and put back together over and over, and turned into some…some little monster!” His need to push everyone away obscures the fact that Rocket is a fierce warrior, a brilliant engineer, an ace pilot, and a loyal friend.
Everybody loves the Guardians Rocket
Rocket pushes people away because every time he feels love and acceptance, he remembers how much he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. Groot is the only one he really lets in, and even then, Rocket bosses him around. Mantis first appears as a servant of Ego, Peter Quill’s father. She knows that Ego is murdering his children as part of his plan to create one powerful enough to overrun the galaxy with his essence. However, she’s too Egoistic to tell the Guardians right away.
Only her burgeoning friendship with Drax moves her to tell them what’s really happening. Plainly put, Mantis has no self-esteem and no social skills. In a group where ruthless mockery is the norm, Mantis instantly becomes an easy target. She’s happy to absorb it because the group accepts her, but hopefully, she’ll soon learn that she doesn’t have to stand for such teasing just to enjoy the bonds of friendship.
The Guardians End game
Even before Asgard’s destruction, Thor struggled with responsibility and leadership. The events of Avengers: Infinity War send him spiralling into drunkenness in an effort to block out his trauma and loss. It’s an understandable reaction, and ultimately, he redeems himself by naming Valkyrie as the next leader of Asgard. But his underlying problems remain.
By the end of Avengers: Endgame, Thor has no real long-term goals. He can do anything, but he realizes, even after defeating Thanos, that he doesn’t know what he wants to do. That’s why he fits in so well with the Guardians: He’s a screw-up trying to figure things out, just like them. Will he chart a new course alongside them?