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James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy is Marvel's weirdest, most outrageous film yet. It is also the first film of their's that has really pushed the edges of what can and cannot be gotten away with in terms of a Marvel/Disney films' sense of humor. Take the now infamous "Jackson Pollock"/Blacklight line that Chris Pratt has on board his ship, The Milano. Not even James Gunn could believe he got away with including those lines in the finished film. It is, indeed, a line that one wouldn't expect a Disney movie to contain, which makes the moment all the more funnier. However, there were still moments that had to be cut by the studio's mandate.
Collider grabbed a moment with both James and his brother Sean Gunn at Dragon Con this weekend, and one of the moments that they had to alter was the appearance of intergalactic ladies man and generalissimo supreme, Stan Lee himself. Reports the site,
"One of the losing battles regarded Stan Lee’s original cameo in the film. Originally, Gunn had planned to have Lee in one of the Collector’s exhibits. Groot would then look at the exhibit aghast, to which Lee would flick off the large tree creature."
Normally this would seem like a typical Disney move, but this is the same movie that saw Chris Pratt get away with flipping off the Nova Corps in a line up of hardened criminals. So what makes his hand gesture different than that of Stan Lee's? Quite simply, it's the fact that Stan Lee is an actual person and not a fictional character. In fact, you could say that Stan Lee is the face of Marvel, as he's cameo-ed in almost every Marvel picture since X-Men.
Star-Lord flipping off the camera is understandable, because at that point in the film he's an outlaw we're not completely siding with. Stan Lee, on the other hand, is a real life figure that transcends the roles he's given, and if kids see Stan Lee flip the bird after starring in high profile/mostly funny cameos, they might expect that behavior to carry over into future cameos. Also, kids might be more susceptible to learning the ways of the middle digit if they see it elicit laughs twice in the same "family friendly" picture.
While Disney has indeed gotten a little more progressive with what they let into a Marvel movie, they're naturally going to draw the line somewhere. If drawing the line involves including rude gestures in more fitting contexts and without positively reinforced repetition, then frankly that's still a win. Never fear, Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 will probably find ways to push the envelope in more fun and raunchy ways that Guardians Of The Galaxy didn't even think of.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is currently in theaters (and still the reigning champ,) with Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 penciled in for a July 28, 2017 release date.