On my side, it is all about affordances. Usually I choose a film and allocate the time because I seek affordances for better living in my life. Narrative is all about affordance: what changes in the story, with mysteries and power that I can be tricked into (or trick myself into) — folded into how I conduct myself.
On the filmmaker’s side, they need to offer this value to get my attention and money. Predictability and readability of the world they present is essential to that contract between me (all the Teds inside) and them.
For me, this is a narrative of Rocket — a powerful film with a bunch of episodic inserts. This Rocket narrative works for me because the world building is coherent. That coherence allows me to find my way and understand the layers where I fit.
That world, by the way fits the Ted’s Law approach: Rocket is a fabricated being, designed for a world that runs in parallel to the world I live in. His life fits the standard noir tradition, where a completely ordinary soul is captured by the narrative, with all sorts of unlikely things imposed by supernatural forces for our amusement.
We, then, see Rocket, but are placed in the story as the manipulator, who is simultaneously creator, adversary, and narrative tease to keep bringing the story back from whatever diversion Gunn has inserted. — business about the other characters who this time around are more cardboard than in the past.
My major complaint is a built in problem with Marvel. Over the decades, they have played with so many different cosmologies that it is impossible to synthesise a cosmology for us to navigate. We do have that within the Rocket story, but outside we have a mishmash.
We have an evil corporation that makes beings and literally exists in a synthetic organic structure. That evil corporation is somehow tied to The High Evolutionary who has no apparent need for it. He himself lives in a grand pyramid/spaceship and is served by minions who don’t seem to understand his powers which we never discover. Likely there is a comic with an origin story — or many different overlapping comics.
We have the High Priestess of the Sovereign from an old story line, and an entirely different cosmology and set of powers. Apparently the Adam character is from a cosmology where an infinity stone animates him, but here he is shoehorned into a different cosmology and story.
We have the Ravagers in the background. Sly Stallone presenting an amazingly tone deaf presence. The Knowhere ship/world has its own dynamics and pirate steampunk narrative.
It is a mess and impossible to find a place to be in the story — so those elements we just have to take as flashing lights with some artist’s vision of the local landscape — none of which impress.
Posted in 2023
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.