Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: the new manifesto against vivisection?

At the beginning of May the last chapter of the saga of the gods was released in cinemas Guardians of the Galaxy (here our review), one of the most anticipated films of the new phase of Marvel Cinematic Universe. A film that brought back emotion to viewers, a little too disappointed by the latest MCU films, practically dismayed by many lows and few highs. This chapter is dividing critics and it is precisely for this reason that it is right to introduce the film before delving into the beating heart of James Gunn’s film. The levels of the first Volume are probably a bit far off, but it is a film that wins easily thanks to the innumerable emotions that are perceived within the journey of Quill & Company, it is a film that has shown coherence above all as regards the evolution of its characters and a film that oozes cinema in various parts of the story.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Karen Gilla in a photo

Everyone needs their own space to be able to greet the team in the best possible way and everyone manages to get it to the fullest, among other things realizing the best battle ever since the days of Endgameindeed if we remove the emotional hype of that moment the one within Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 it’s also superior (technically speaking). Are we then facing a masterpiece? No, the masterpieces of cinema are quite different, however it is a film that manages to entertain at its best, to excite, to make one think and make one smile, therefore one could not ask for better from a cinecomic that has reached its farewell point. This is what James Gunn’s film gave, but beyond the technical and directorial merits, one cannot fail to dwell on one of the founding themes of this Volume 3: vivisection.

Rocket Racoon the new symbol of fight against vivisection

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: A close-up of Rocket

Despite James Gunn did not want to take a position on the matter, his extreme depth in dealing with the issue within the film is there for all to see. There is no doubt that the animal vivisection, and in the specific case of the protagonist Rocket Racoon, play a central role in the film, given that it is considered by the villain of the moment (the High Evolutionary) as the only science that can allow the development of knowledge. All viewers know the answer (although there are still plenty of people in the world who think otherwise). So blockbuster films are welcome, with a broad spectrum such as those of the MCU, which can make us reflect on important issues such as those of animal experimentation or vivisection. However, it is fair to remember that this issue is not the first time it has been found on film, let’s remember Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The fly, The shape of water, The island of Doctor Moreaubut Volume 3 of Guardians of the Galaxy is probably the first film to explore this topic more openly, creating a product designed to be consumed not only by a niche audience (horror, science fiction, auteur cinema) but by a vast and generalist collective like fans of the cinecomic. It is no coincidence that after the release of the last chapter of the Guardians, even PETA, the famous non-profit organization in support of animal rights, wanted to have its say on this film, awarding James Gunn himself for the issues. In a statement, PETA, through Senior Vice President Lisa Lange, said:

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 reminds viewers that all animals deserve a life of freedom in the open air rather than confinement in laboratory cages. With Rocket, James Gunn has given a face, a name and a personality to the millions of vulnerable animals being roamed around the labs as we speak. We want to celebrate this film as the best animal rights film of the year, because it helps audiences see animals as individuals and suggests that just because we can experiment on them doesn’t mean we should.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a film that defends the Ultimates (including animals)

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: a frame from the film

In human history atrocities have been committed mainly under the name of vivisection, which is a very different practice from animal experimentation. Vivisection is a method of study and research consisting of dissection operations carried out on live animals (reminds you of anything?). The term refers to the experiments carried out in past centuries, and in particular to the study methodologies spread in the XVII-XIX centuries, consisting of dissection operations carried out on live and conscious animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish). However, it is right to recall how the terms vivisection and animal experimentation have sometimes been confused in one big theme, in fact, despite the proximity of some situations, they do not have the same meaning. By vivisection we mean all the surgical practices, experimental or not, which are carried out on live animals, which almost always only cause suffering. With animal experimentation instead we can refer to all those techniques used for the purposes of experimentation and research involving both anesthetized animals (totally or locally) in relation to surgery, and animals used in basic research in relation to genetics, developmental biology, studies behavioral and biomedical research or for pharmacological and toxicological tests.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Zoe Saldana and Chris Pratt in a scene

In this case, Italy is working a lot on the laws to be applied (also thanks to the LAV) regarding animal experimentation, a step forward was taken on March 29, 2014 when the Chamber of Deputies approved article 13 of the law European delegation that “restricted” animal experimentation and encouraged the use of substitute research methods even if the Government, called to legislate on this issue, changed several cards on the table by trampling numerous points of this article. Fortunately, as far as vivisection is concerned, Europe (and Italy itself) have managed to create very strict laws that prohibit it in a more absolute way, it is the decree 116 of 1992, a law that prohibits experiments without anesthesia and on cats, dogs and non-human primates. But, returning to the film, it is fair to underline the diversification between vivisection and animal experimentation just to further amplify the message that James Gunn wanted to stage with his weirdos and freaks (Rocket Racoon’s friends).

The High Evolutionary: scientist without any scruples unlike Doctor Moreau

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: a scene from the trailer

The image of the mad and cruel scientist has always received attention from various directors because very interesting situations can be staged, as there is the possibility of telling the classic, but never banal, redemption of the wicked, which however does not happen in this film. Yes, because unlike Doctor Moreau (and other villains that have been presented in genre stories), theHigh Evolutionary depicts that kind of scientist who pays no attention to the sufferings of guinea pigs in order to achieve their goal, even reminds us of some historical character who actually lived and it is no coincidence that the animals have numbered acronyms (with the final part of the film where we find children locked up in cages just like the Jews). The relationship between Rocket Racoon and the High Evolutionary, in the first phase of the raccoon’s life, wants us to reflect on vivisection and on how some animals perceive the actions caused by their “masters”. At that moment, despite everything, Rocker follows his master, albeit sensing the “bad luck” that awaits him. Gunn himself, in his entertaining and playful intent, manages to bring to the big screen a violence that has stained man with atrocities in the past and which unfortunately is still present in some places on our planet (albeit in contravention of international laws), making reflect the viewer, in a direct and unfiltered way, even on what can be considered “ethical research”, especially when the entire existence of an organism is sacrificed in order to obtain a scientific result.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the opinions of the editorial staff

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: a scene from the trailer

An example above all is how Rocket’s group of friends is managed, killed only because they are no longer suitable for the project, they are probably the most concrete demonstration of one of the most fundamental ethical doubts of the human soul: it is right to limit scientific progress, when is it possible to attain the power of a God by realizing the perfect lineage? Dr. Moreau masterfully written by HG Wells in the 1800s answers this question in the negative, which the High Evolutionary seems not to consider, always going forward for his “perfect bloodline” design idea. Doctor Moreau himself then remains tied to his creatures which does not happen here with the High Evolutionary, indeed James Gunn in a high crescendo of unchallenged “hatred” for a character, manages to totally overturn the focus with a tailspin in the epic conclusion.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 Captured Rocket

Guardians of the Galaxy 3: Rocket is trapped in a scene from the film

Yes, because Rocket Racoon in front of his executioner, instead of seeking revenge, decides to let him live in his total defeat, with the whole laboratory (including animals and children) freed in a biblical scene with the exodus of all towards the freedom. We know that James Gunn didn’t want to take a stand on this issue, even finding himself a bit embarrassed after PETA’s honeyed words, however you don’t need official statements to make your thoughts known if you have a medium like cinema at speak for yourself, his extreme depth and sensitivity in dealing with this issue is there for all to see. For the director, as we have previously written, vivisection plays a key role in the film, for the High Evolutionary it is the only way to allow the development of knowledge and an improvement of physical and intellectual abilities, a necessary condition for the development of a truly superior, but at what price?

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