Nathan's Laserium: Drax's Joke

First a humblebrag. No, actually, a full-on brag. I am in good shape. The best shape of my life, in fact. You should see me. Turning 40 next month, and I am 180 lbs of sculpted toniness. I am proud of this, because I've been working hard and I've earned every single muscle fibre. I'm not saying I'm huge, because I don't think that's gonna happen, but I'm, how can I say without making Corinne snicker, pleasantly and awesomely tomhardified to full-on rock hardiness.

(Editor's Note: "tomhardify"... *snickers*... mmmm....)

To celebrate this new-found fitness, I started thinking it might be cool to cosplay as Drax the Destroyer, maybe for the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere or a comic convention or Halloween or just for the hell of it. Even talked to Corinne about it, to see if it was doable, makeup-wise. Yes, she told me, especially if we went with the simpler comic book version. Sweet! One problem though- the Drax in the current GotG comic series has basically just been sitting there doing nothing (though he finally had a cool moment in issue 16) and I hadn't yet seen the movie so I had no idea if Drax would be cool at all.

Well. The movie's pretty great, yeah? Here is the official Vampirenomad verdict:

Drax was alright. Didn't steal the show, which is fine. It wasn’t his movie, but he had some emotional depth. An arc. Dave Bautista did a fine job portraying him.

So it was a little disappointing that he called Gamora a whore. There just was no need.

Earlier in the movie they scrubbed the language a bit, changing the word "asshole" to "a-hole". Fair enough, you have kids watching. Kind of took a bit of wind out of the joke, just a little, but it still worked. So why does the word "whore" pass muster?

Sure, it's not a "swear word" in the same way that asshole is, but in this context I'd way rather explain to my kids what an asshole is than what a whore is, and why Gamora in particular is being called one, when all she did the whole movie was kick ass and provide a moral compass for her gaggle of galactic dudebros. When you are calling a woman a whore, it is misogynistic, sexist and rude. The joke was funny- I laughed, even as I winced. Why not use a space insult? It's Guardians of the Galaxy, man, you can make up any word you want and see it take over Twitter and the schoolyards. Science fiction does it all the time. Nerfherder. Frak. Whovian. Even the GotG comic uses words like krutak, which is pleasantly unpleasant sounding.

To reiterate- I loved the movie. So I hold it to a high standard. I think James Gunn is better, I think Dave Bautista is better, I know the character Drax is better, and I 1000% believe that Zoe Saldana deserves better. Nitpicky? No. Pointing out casual misogyny is not nitpicking. But it's a good problem for Marvel to have, in a way- that they've so consistently put out such quality fun movies that they have set their own bar that high. I don't bother writing these types of columns about Michael Bay movies.

That's really all I have to say on the criticism side of things- I don't get worked up about changes or alterations to comic canon. I kind of like movie Drax better than comic Drax anyway. But I like comic Drax's look a bit better- simpler and more primary colory. Easier to cosplay.


- Nathan Waddell