Fans Praise ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ For Being “Anti-Woke”

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Actor Chris Pratt as Guardians Character; 'Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3'

Credit: Inside the Magic

There’s a lot of debate over the “wokeness” of Marvel’s newest film.

Bradley Cooper/Sean Gunn as Rocket Racoon in 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord No Longer a Superhero In the MCU

It is well-known that the studio that created the Avengers films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Marvel Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, has been encountering a slight slump lately. Critically, movies such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), and the inaugural film of Phase Five, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023), have not been as well-received as earlier Marvel productions. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, however, is on a trajectory to become a fan favorite — despite the boatloads of controversy it has already garnered.

'Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3' (2023). Front side Chris Pratt and 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Poster as a background
Credit: Inside the Magic

The new Marvel Studios movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023), which is director James Gunn’s final project within the Marvel Cinematic Universe based on the Marvel Comics, premiered on May 5th, 2023, featuring John Murphy’s score. This movie concludes the story of the original team of Guardians. The film picks up from their appearances in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) and the Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019) movies from the Infinity Saga. Before that, the team’s most recent adventure was showcased in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, a popular Marvel Studios Special Presentation that aired on Disney+.

Guardians of the Galaxy characters Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), Nebula (Karen Gillan), and Mantis (Pom Klementieff)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Boycotting of Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy 3’ Starts Huge Debate

It’s the final time for the Guardians to embark on another adventure through space, featuring the likes of Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) the gun-toting human (and former part-Celestial), Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) the daughters of Thanos, Groot (Vin Diesel) the tree alien, Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) who is adorable yet deadly, the vengeful Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), empathic alien Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Kraglin Obfonteri (Sean Gunn) of the Ravagers, Stakar Ogord (Sylvester Stallone), and even Cosmo the Spacedog (Maria Bakalova), a newcomer to the movies.

Will Poulter plays Adam Warlock in the movie, alongside Elizabeth Debicki’s Ayesha, who is referred to as his “mother”. Chukwudi Iwuji takes on the role of the nefarious geneticist the High Evolutionary, with Nico Santos playing his assistant Theel. Daniela Melchior portrays Ura, while Kai Zen plays Phyla-Vell. Linda Cardellini also joins the cast as Lylla the Otter, with Asim Chaudhry as Teefs the Walrus and Mikaela Hoover as Floor the Bunny, all of whom are former cellmates and allies of Rocket Raccoon.

Lyla the otter in Guardians 3
Credit: Marvel Studios

Why people are calling Guardians 3 “woke”

It’s well known by now that Marvel Studios has been dedicated to telling more diverse stories for a while now — but it seems there are some who believe that the latest MCU movie is turning things around, from supposed “woke” territory.

The following contains language that may be unsuitable for younger readers.

Users online, including creator Tyrone Magnus have been rejoicing the lack of “woke bullshit politics”. Magnus loudly thanks Marvel for “not including all that woke political shit”, saying that he’s glad to not have “woke identity politics… staring you in the face”. Others however vehemently disagree, with members of the public like @NebsGoodTakes calling this behavior out and insinuating Magnus’ rant as “childish” — going viral with almost 20K likes at the time of writing:

this man is 45 years old

The reaction to this has been substantial, with multiple posts and quote tweets on the topic going viral. Magnus has been summarily called out by even more members of the public, like @Targ_Nation, whose comments cite the very much “woke” contents of the film. They highlighted how the new Guardians movie was staunchly “woke”, being anti-animal cruelty, human trafficking, and eugenics, just to name some ideologies that the movie decries. Ultimately, they made the observation that for many, “woke” has just been co-opted to mean anything including “women, queer people or POC”:

saying that a movie like guardians 3 which is heavily about messages (animal cruelty, human trafficking, anti eugenics, found family, etc…) is good because it isn’t “woke” is just another proof that to them that term just means women, queer people or poc existing in media

It appears that the much-lauded Marvel Cinematic Universe film is expectedly generating a lot of debate, what with it boldly exploring complex and deep themes around trauma, found family and doing what’s right. What we do know for certain is that the movie very clearly speaks out against animal cruelty and the dangers of dictatorships, corporate greed, and genetic superiority. The fact that there even is a debate surrounding its “wokeness” is probably more telling of how the term has been warped to mean different things to different people.

Where do you stand on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 being “woke”, or “anti-woke”? Share your thoughts in the thoughts below!

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