Warning: Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel Studio’s most unique franchises. The characters separate themselves from the other characters in the MCU not just in appearance, but also in shtick. It’s still a rag-tag group of heroes, but with much more charisma and flair than any other of Marvel’s movie titles.
Still, one character lags behind the others: Gamora. Despite fulfilling several roles in the story and group composition of the first film (love interest, connection to Thanos and Nebula, sword fighter, girl), in terms of dialogue and personality, she never fit.
Though I think Zoe Saldana is very talented and delivered her lines as well as they could be delivered, Gamora’s dialogue was far too clunky and never fit into the rest of the group very well. Her language was both too metaphorical and too literal, and it was just not very funny. Being that she was one of the main characters in an action comedy, this hurt her development and chemistry with the other characters.
Gamora’s personality never quite fit into the film either. Her shtick never went far enough in one direction. She was most similar to Drax, but far more serious and aware. Again, this doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of the group. There were only one or two scenes where her personality and hang-ups led to anything humorous. For most of the film, they were just a bummer.
Now, in the recently released sequel, all of the characters are turned up to 11. Rocket is more ornery, Drax is more brutally honest and literal, and even Groot is more adorable. However, Gamora gets more vanilla. Nebula takes over her role as the serious character, and even her reluctance to dance is eliminated within the first half of the movie.
In Vol. 2, Gamora exists only to further the plot and development of others. She halfheartedly encourages Peter and Nebula to face their past, and, other than the occasional cool fight scene, she doesn’t do much else. Meanwhile, she has almost no development of her own. She is closed off to the detriment of her characterization.
It’s disappointing to see the lead female role in both Guardians movies has a major lack of development compared to every other character. And, while Nebula was well-written in both films, the trend of every female character being very serious and very dangerous is getting old fast. Mantis, the only character who does not fit this trope, spends most of the movie as a punching bag for Drax. As humorous as these scenes are, it doesn’t break from the trend in a positive way.
This film may pass the Bechdel test, but Gamora still has a ways to go.