Guardians of the Galaxy part 3

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Thirteen minutes into the narrative, the chief antagonist is introduced, Ronan the Accuser. He lives in a tank of goo on a Kree spaceship called the Dark Aster (possibly a reference to the classic early John Carpenter movie Dark Star?)

What does Ronan want? His actable goal, his cinematic goal, is “to get the whatsit that Peter stole.” It was his goons who tried to get it from Peter already. But what will that get him? What does the antagonist want?

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Ronan has, at the moment, a complicated backstory and a fairly circuitous plan. He’s waging a one-man war on Xandar, which is a planet we don’t know anything about yet, for crimes against the Kree, a people we know nothing about. His plan is to take the whatsit, “the orb,” and get it to a guy named Thanos, who will, in exchange for the orb, destroy Xandar for Ronan. That plan, it seems to me, has at least one logical flaw in it; whoever Thanos is, he apparently has the power to destroy at planet at will, and folks with such power do not tend to grant favors once they get what they want.

Ronan learns that Peter has stolen the orb to give to Yondu to give to a collectibles-trader called The Broker. That, as far as we know, is the sum total of Peter’s involvement with the orb. So Peter, like Ronan, has no plans of his own, as yet, for the orb. Both are but middle-men in their respective schemes. Ronan, of course, couldn’t be bothered to go fetch the orb himself, he had some heavy sleeping to do in his tank of black goo. He sent Korath, his number-one henchman, and some expendable redshirts to fetch it for him. So, in that scheme, Korath is actually Peter’s equal, Ronan is Yondu and Thanos is The Broker. The difference between the two teams is that one is a scrappy bunch of losers playing for peanuts in a game they can’t begin to comprehend, and the other is a bunch of sadistic, power-mad, revenge-fueled Nietzschean supermen who sit around a lot and brood and roar at their underlings. (In some ways, the volume of their roaring is their only difference.)

So we know what Ronan wants (the orb) and we know what he plans to do with it (give it to Thanos — whoever that is) and witness the destruction of a planet he hates. (Logic flaw #2: What kind of bad guy’s endgame features “Watch somebody else make my dream come true”?) But what does Ronan want, emotionally? What drives him?

Ronan, like Peter, wishes to be taken seriously. He wants respect. Unlike Peter, who wears his skills lightly, with ease and derring-do, Ronan takes himself waaaaaaaaay too seriously. He is, in fact, a blowhard, a bully and a buffoon. And his endgame being rooted in revenge is key: Peter has his ghosts, but he’s figured out a way to turn his ghosts into his friends. He’s turned his Awesome Mix into his private army, his cheerleading squad, his strength and joy. Ronan, on the other hand, has turned his past into a weight as heavy as the hammer he drags around with him, brooding like Batman in his cavernous spaceship, vowing to get even with the man who killed his parents. Peter makes no plans and has no agenda, which keeps him barely out of the reach of the many people who want him dead, but also keeps him free and happy. Ronan, on the other hand, is so locked into his plans and his visions of revenge that it blinds him to any other vision of the future, including one that gets him more than being a mere witness to his moment of vengeance.

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Ronan has a family, of sorts, on the Dark Aster, a dark reflection of Peter’s family with Yondu (both families squabble, under the thumb of a grouchy patriarch, only one intends to destroy a planet). He has Korath, who’s more of a flunky, and he has two black-clad female super-assassins, as any self-respecting warlord should. These assassins are not just female, but sisters! (Adopted sisters, but still.) On top of that, they’re both adopted daughters of the aforementioned, still unknown, Thanos! So, apparently, they have a vested interest in getting this orb to their father. Which raises the question: if Thanos wants this orb, and he’s got two competing daughters who are both super-assassins, why does he need Ronan to get the orb for him?

Thanos (whoever he is), it seems, has a bit of a Lear situation on his hands. His two daughters hate each other, and compete for his affection. They, too, cling to past resentments and let their pain define them. Nebula, it seems, is the one who has more to prove, and Ronan (who, for some reason, presently has jurisdiction over them) sends Gamora to fetch the orb from Xandar.

A diligent reader commented yesterday about the planet where Peter gets the orb, and how the whole area had been under water until just today. That accounts for how “easy” it is for Peter to find the orb, and also accounts for how Korath and his goons get there almost at the same time as Peter. So it would appear that Ronan sent Korath to get the orb, and left word with his flunkies to get him out of the tank of black goo when Thanos’s daughters showed up to fetch the orb. The orb having gone missing, it now falls to one of the daughters to go fetch it from Peter, or, failing that, The Broker (whoever that is). Why Ronan is the one who decides who goes escapes me, it would seem to me that both Gamora and Nebula would outrank Ronan, who basically lost the precious object Thanos sent him to get in the first place.

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5 Responses to “Guardians of the Galaxy part 3”
  1. Hannele says:

    Just for fun: the black tank of goo bit borrows from the Fifth Element soundtrack, I think from the part where they wake up Leeloo for the first time. It made me think initially that maybe he’s not such a bad guy, although of course the subsequent face-hammering dispelled that notion pretty quickly.

  2. Space Oddity says:

    I feel obligated to note that the blackish fluid that Ronan is submerging himself in is Xandarian blood. Which is really just another part of his “take me seriously” persona–“I LITERALLY bathe in the blood of my enemies!”

    Another thing is that Ronan doesn’t seem to want vengeance against the man who killed his father. No, that’s too small for Ronan. (And one is left with the impression that Ronan likely never knew him.) No, Ronan wants to annihilate the culture that took the life of his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and he’s not going to let the fact that they died in a lengthy war that you’re left with the impression the Kree started get in his way of wanting this. In fac,t to Ronan this is what proper Kree do, and the fact that the Kree government isn’t doing this is proof that they aren’t legitimate.

    • Todd says:

      Ah, I see. And they made the Xandarian blood black so that they could retain their PG-13 rating. Yeah, I was completely baffled.

      • Space Oddity says:

        That and to emphasize that these guys that look like humans aren’t quite humans. So, yay for dual purposes.

  3. Doug Orleans says:

    When I first heard Ronan’s speech about avenging his father and his grandfather etc, I thought maybe the idea was that the Kree (like the Cree?) were the indigenous population of Xandar, and the Nova Empire had colonized it and subjugated them, so Ronan was a kind of Geronimo/Crazy Horse caricature. But apparently it’s just a thousand-year war between two empires, which doesn’t really explain why there seem to be “assimilated” Kree on Xandar (wasn’t there one piloting one of the Nova Corps ships?)

    (Also apparently Cree is a language, not a tribe.)