Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 3 and The Western Religious Subconscious

Matthew Gindin
5 min readMay 29, 2023

Marvel does Dostoevsky

[SPOILERS] The most recent work of James Gunn is a timely, Dostoevskian meditation on transhumanism, technology, humanity, and God wrapped in the gaudy upholstery of an absurdist Space Opera. Being currently immersed in Joseph Frank’s masterful biography of the Russian master of the novel, I spent the whole movie thinking about this (as well as cringing, laughing and thoroughly enjoying myself).

The basic narrative of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise is quickly summarized: Peter Quill (aka Starlord) is kidnapped as a young child by space pirates (Ravagers) shortly after the death of his mother and comes of age in the galactic theatre as a hedonistic Ravager before fate brings him together with a band of plucky, traumatized outlaws like himself who, in response to coming face to face with a massive threat to all life as we know it, gradually transition from cosmic bandits to virtuous “guardians of the galaxy.”

The moral thrust of the first two movies lies in the developing familial bonds between Quill and his mates- two sisters, Nebula and Gamora, who narrowly escaped a literally torturous childhood at the hands of the megalomaniacal ideologue and genocidal psychotic Thanos; Groot, a lovable sentient tree-person; Drax, a vengeance obsessed warrior…