Guardians of the Galaxy
This weekend I saw Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time at friends house. I have to say, I really enjoyed the movie, and Marvel continues to do a really good job with their cinematic universe- what they are doing in film is very ambitious and I’m very excited to see how it all unfolds. Guardians of the Galaxy is no exception to this, it is a very fun space opera movie. The lasers are exciting, the heroes have a firm grasp on the power of friendship, and the green alien space babes are more than sexy enough. Rocket was great, he managed to be both adorable and kick-ass without straying into obnoxious and try hard territory. All and all, I felt it was a pretty good action movie and I’d enjoy watching it again.
Spoilers abound from this point on, of course.
There was however, a small detail that really bothered me, and kind of stretched my suspension of disbelief for the whole movie. Namely, the lack of Xandarian Capital Ships opposing the Dark Aster. I personally find this completely unbelievable, and a little more than a bit absurd.
Remember that the movie is framed by the signing of a peace treaty between the Kree and Xandar. This is pretty important to this whole argument, and I think I can argue that Xandar either paid a lot of money to the Kree in order for a cease fire, or the Kree military was forced to sign a treaty because of eternal political disputes. The latter is an explanation I favor, for reasons that should become clear.
When we look at Xandar itself, it’s clear that the war has never reached this planet specifically, at least not recently. The entire planet seems to be guided by civilian police rather than military forces, which is a little odd for what seems to be a capital of an interstellar empire that was just at war. The city we see is prosperous and appears peaceful, and we see no signs of orbital bombardment or invasion. Citizens don’t seem very tramatised, even when bounty hunters start firing it public- they trust the space cops to take care of it. This does make a lot of sense, if the war was primarily occurring in other star systems. Hell, we even see that the Xandarian leaderships seems very unprepared mentally for the idea of their capital city being attacked- there are very much aghast at an emeny ship appearing in orbit. This supports the hypothesis that the majority of the Xandar-Kree war being fought off world.
It certainly wasn’t being fought with the Nova Corps fighters we see in the movie, however. Their main feature seems to be the ability to create a force field by interlocking their ships with the power of friendship. I don’t even have a problem with this- after all, they did it in Homeworld Cataclysm. These would be great to defend vital buildings from orbital bombardment, or better yet, protect capital ships in large ship to ships engagements. The problem though, is that its clear that neither of these things seem to be happening. No part of the city is shelled out, and as I have noted, Xandar does not seem to have access to ships even as large as the pirate vessels we see. I also doubt these ships are hyperdrive (or the marvel equivalent) equipped and used for engagements throughout the galaxy, given their role as defensive and support ships. So its kind of unclear what exactly the Xandarians where fighting their war with. There could of course be millitary ships off screen, but Xandar never bothers to attempt to call them- their first choice is a set of criminals that just escaped from a high security prison they just sent them to.
Lets talk about what we know of the Kree Military. The Dark Aster is what I am going to call a Kree Carrier- it has a lot of Fighters, but I don’t recall it having a lot of guns on its own, and it doesn’t seem to be able to bombard the surface of Xandar with missiles and bombs. I’m assuming its main role in the Kree military is to launch an angry hoard of fighters at people they don’t like. If galactic warfare is analogous at all to warfare here on Earth, then carriers are surely important. But the Kree government does not seem very concerned at all that a crazy fanatic has taken one of their warships. Some of their unwillingness to help is surely because they don’t, you know, like the good guys very much, but I find it hard to believe they would act like this if they had only one or two carriers in the first place. A genocidal maniac stealing one of your ships to go screw over people you don’t like is one thing, but a genocidal maniac stealing half of your military force is another thing entirely. If that was the case, the Kree would be concerned that Ronan could just roll over the rest of the Kree forces and take over the government. After all, that would give him access to more people and resources to support his cause, surely So it’s likely that Ronan’s Dark Aster is just one of several- they have to have at a minimum three or four other carriers, as well as whatever other battleships they might be fielding.
The point I’m getting at is that a random, if well equipped, band of space pirates has just about as much to contribute to the films ending space battle as the entire Nova Corp defense force. Which is not to say the battle wasn’t pretty damn awesome, but that Xandar is pretty terribly equipped for an interplanetary war- no wonder they were suing for peace. And that’s against one Kree Carrier- that had a rather absurd objective of trying to get to the surface. I’m very unsure why the Kree haven’t just invaded a year before this film opens.
My suspension of disbelief is broken by the fact the Kree should have been able to win whatever war was happening, relatively easily. The Xandarians don’t have any large battleships, and apparently weren’t able to field any for the defense of their home world - where were they then? Did the Kree for some reason decided to stop fighting a war they were wining? Have all the Xandarian ships been destroyed and the planet just was bluffing that they had more?
If Ronan was so cheesed off at Xandar and doesn’t have to fear intervention from the Kree government or military, I think a better course of action would be to ignore Thanos and the Infinity Stone all together. If you get involved in that mess, no wonder he had to deal with a ragtag bunch of misfits with good hearts trying to stop him at all costs. Destroying a planet is one thing, but a galaxy? Certainly a lot less support for our good guys would be rallied if he just parked the Dark Aster in orbit around Xandar and sent his fighters on bombing runs every few hours. It’s not like the planet has any anti aircraft guns in its major cities, there doesn’t seem to be any need for him to align himself with the forces of ultimate darkness if all he wants is to cripple an empire he doesn’t like. Nova Corps seems rather underpowered on the galactic scale anyway.
Well, that’s my little rant- I just hope Marvel gives more weight to considering the reality of space battles moving forward, lest they tarnish an otherwise masterpiece of cinema.