Mild spoilers included, but honestly you’ve probably seen this one.
We’ve grown a little complacent about movies nowadays and- wait, perhaps that’s just me. I have come to expect less than stellar from almost every genre. Specially from the summer blockbuster, the classic action campy flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously but is generally a reiteration of countless and better movie classics. Chin up. This is not the case. Guardians of the Galaxy rises above the mediocrity, shows you the money and brings the thunder with so many awesome aspects that I think most of the comic fans will forgive any flaws.
The movie is firmly set in the Marvel Comic Universe without any preconceived notions. Why? Because the public at large has never heard of these characters and more than likely they’re in the D List regarding comic fandom status as well. They have never been incarnated on film – or I should say digital media – before. There are no comparisons. Nobody was Groot before this Groot. Dave Batista didn’t improve or take away from any previous take of Drax. So, for the first time, we’re all (or most I should say) are starting at the same level.
There are no surprises on the plot. The MacGuffin this time is a device that Ronan the Accuser must get for Thanos. We get to see cast of loveable outlaws fight each other only to get arrested and imprisoned by the Nova Corps. The fact that the device is one of Marvel’s Infinity Gems hints at future movies, but you don’t have to be familiar with Marvel mythology to enjoy this one. One very cool device that we get is that the lead character, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is enamored with 80’s music since he was abducted as a kid by the Ravagers. The gimmick is that we get to hear this old classic 80’s songs break in whenever things threaten to go stale.
The casting is really solid. Zoe Saldana plays a mean kickass character as Gamorra and Karen Gillan’s Nebula is a threatening force to deal with. Chris Pratt is the adventurer / terran / POV character for the audience and plays his class clown role decently. Dave Batista still looks like WWE’s Batista, but he does have some better moments than others as Drax the Destroyer. Groot… you can’t help but like Groot from the start to finish. We also get multiple pop references, jokes galore and Rocket.
Rocket’s the racoon by the way. The reason why Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) works amazingly well is because he’s the embodiment of the sarcastic wiseguy. His best quality is cutting any tense atmosphere with a knife. He’s not overplayed, he doesn’t do cute but he will have a heart when the situation calls for it. Any solemn situation is defused easily by his wisecracks. It also helps that none of the characters have common sayings except for Groot’s “I am Groot” schtick. Is it deeper under the surface? No, and it shouldn’t. This is a gateway movie that introduces the bigger universe of Marvel, but rather than just look nice on the screen they make the experience entertaining.
Recommended. Yes, it’s popcorn. It’s very well popped, non-greasy, lightly but not too salted, really good popcorn. You will find adventure movies better than this one but odds are they won’t be playing at the theater right now. Go see this.
- Peter Quill 80’s music soundtrack that drops in with impeccable timing. If you like pina colada…
- Rocket’s wisecracks don’t only make him cool, they move the story along.
- Superb casting: Zoe Saldana as Gamorra and Karen Gillan as Nebula are completely believable and scary badass in this film.
- Thanos’ appearance was adequate. We see him but he doesn’t do much. It’s a silent threat we’re not going to get exposed to yet.
- Ronan the Accuser was just so-so in my opinion. Almost always in complete darkness, he was supposed to be scary but still felt as threatening as Malekith on Thor. Remember Malekith on Thor? Me neither.
- A couple of casting fails: Glenn Close as Nova Prime Irani Rael and Michael Rooker as Yondu. I couldn’t get past the hairstyle and the appearance. The actors were not able to embody their characters and the suspension of disbelief was broken. They were just Glenn Close and Michael Rooker.
- I loved the music, but when Gamorra seems completely ignorant of the concept of music or dancing I can’t help but wince. Music as a cultural concept should not only be known by extraterrestrial races, they should have more advanced cultural concepts that we can’t understand. I know this is me hoping for more SCIENCE-FICTION in my science-fiction films. I just don’t like it when aliens are portrayed are super-advanced technologically but completely primitive in music, culture and art. It’s a personal peeve of mine. That being said, I moved past it.
That will do for now.
(Source: Marvel Studios)