So I’m reading this post on The Guardians of the Galaxy (which I shouldn’t be doing, since I haven’t seen it, but I’ll bet the raccoon lives.)
And I misread this sentence:
In fact, these space misfits offer something rarely seen in superhero films: the Guardians show emotional, neurological, developmental and communication deficits that 1) are not expected to be resolved or cured at the end of the film and 2) do not make them ineffective as heroes.
Because surely we need to lose that last ‘not’. DO make then ineffective as heroes. That better be it, otherwise obviously this film is just like all the other stories about heroes who are kind of damaged but awesomely effective.
Obviously (I can tell this without seeing it), Guardians IS like all the rest, not different as this author so wrongly suggests. (But I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.)
Let’s back up so I can explain. A couple weeks ago I was reading horror-stories in the New York Times (can’t find the link) about malfeasance in forensic labs stretching back decades. Not important to find that article. Anything about prosecutors refusing to cooperate with the Innocence Project will do as well. Same tune. I thought: someone should really make a gritty, thrilling cop show about cops who probably think about themselves as being good cops but are basically, unknowingly, incompetent and corrupt. They don’t always get the wrong guy. But they often frame the wrong guy, just because they need to goose their numbers. But they always tell themselves a story about how they are good cops. CSI! The ‘I’ stands for ‘incompetent’! But the characters really think it stands for ‘investigation’.
I’m not talking about comedy. This isn’t Parks and Recreation. I’m talking about The Wire, minus the competence. Instead of the characters being high-functioning alcoholics, or guys with hair-trigger tempers that really only result in them beating up assholes, have a low-functioning alcoholic, partnered with a guy who just has anger-management problems that, as you might expect, keep him from getting the job done. Another example, True Detective. Rust is a hallucinating, trauma-repressing alcoholic. Marty is an immature womanizer. But they are both supremely functional when they are actually on the case. I just think it would be interesting to play it differently, just for once. Have the detectives/forensic lab boys be psychological damaged goods, and have that cause them to be regularly incompetent. Tell exciting stories about absent-mindedly framing some poor black kid, because the interesting detective characters screw up, and don’t even really realize it themselves. And sometimes they get it right. And we get to know them, so we get that they aren’t positively evil. This isn’t Bad Lieutenant, just the banality of semi-competence careerists. The whole system is just a giant moral hazard waiting to happen in every average officer’s life. It would be a great way to tell a story, if you could get it right, so the viewers wouldn’t just find it frustrating to watch a procedural about people who can’t follow procedure, or work out good procedures to follow.
Meanwhile, I look forward to watching The Guardians of the Galaxy be absurdly competent, despite all their psychological damage. Hilariously, all their crazinesses will be complementary! I’m sure it’s great.