Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did a fantastic job at kicking off what is going to be an action packed summer of films. For it’s opening weekend the film did over 140 million dollars domestically. It was a great film that for the most part that did not disappoint audiences with a lot of great action, music and of course laughs. We had the familiar cast of Star Lord, played by Chris Pratt, Gamora played by Zoe Saldana, Rocket voiced by Bradley Cooper and Drax played by Dave Bautista. There was a new member to the group who was introduced in the film and that is Mantis. She was played by Pom Klementieff and was introduced as Ego’s, played by Kurt Russell, assistant or carer who used her abilities of emotional manipulation to allow him to sleep.
Mantis first appeared in Marvel’s comic book The Avengers #112 in 1973, created by writer Steve Englehart and illustrated by Don Heck. Her character was originally a human woman of German/Vietnamese decent who was raised by a Kree cult as the potential mother of their Celestial Messiah. She was trained in martial arts but then mind wiped and sent out to the world to gain “life experience”. She becomes a prostitute and a barmaid in a Vietnamese bar. She eventually crosses paths with the Avengers and proceeds to join them for a period of time until she discovers her true purpose and becomes the Celestial Madonna.
As you can see the description above of Mantis does not match the Mantis we saw in theaters. Polygon.com had an interview with Steve Englehart in which he gave his thoughts on how Mantis was portrayed in the movie. Here is what he had to say:
â€œWell, I was not happy with Mantisâ€™ portrayal,” Englehart said. “That character has nothing to do with Mantis. I will say that I liked the film quite a bit overall, theyâ€™re doing good stuff and I enjoyed my night at the movies so long as I turned my brain off to the fact that thatâ€™s not Mantis up there. I really donâ€™t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis. That I do not know.â€
No doubt that Englehart was not happy with the way Mantis was shown in the film. He did admit that he overall liked the film and the character, but that it wasn’t Mantis. He added this statement, â€œI wasnâ€™t impressed with what they did with Mantis but the Mantis on the screen was entertaining, I liked her but thatâ€™s not Mantis.â€
A lot of times writers and directors take a lot of liberties with comic book characters to make them fit their vision. This usually results in unhappy fans and sometimes like in this case unhappy creators who barely can recognize their creations. I did not know much about Mantis’s character until I did a bit of research on her origin and I too was thrown off a bit by how different the Mantis that Englehart created was from the one we got in the film. Since I am not a fan of the character this change really didn’t bug me, but how would I feel if it happened to a character that was a bit more invested in? How do you feel about the character’s overhaul? Does it bug you that studios sometimes take so many liberties to butcher some of our favorite comic book characters?
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