Yeah yeah, The Avengers was awesome. I loved it. It was my favorite of Marvel’s movies. Was. Until yesterday. It’s been dethroned by Guardians of the Galaxy. (Watch the trailer). I can’t remember the last time I had as much fun at the movies as while watching this. Alright, I can, it was The LEGO Movie, clearly. But for the sake of how awesome Guardians is, let’s just forget about that for the moment.
Now, I’m not a comics guy – I have nothing against them, in fact I think they are pretty great – I just never got into reading them and now it’s pretty much too late. But I do my best to read up on the plots of the comics and the movies and how they differ or are the same or what the comic fans are super excited about being included. But there was a lot of buzz surrounding this project, and once the first trailer hit I was all-in. (It’s the trailer I linked to above.)
Many saw this movie as a risk for Marvel for a few reasons: a) it’s Marvel’s first venture outside the Avengers-centric hero characters, and b) it’s Marvel’s first venture into it’s non-Earth-centric universe. Think about it. All the previous Phase 1 and 2 movies center around the most well-known and established characters (Ironman, Thor, Captain America) but this is the first one where literally every character is an unknown. That is, of course unless you read the comics. But we also know Marvel doesn’t believe only die-hard comic readers are attending their movies. No, most average Joes out there know who Captain America is, or have heard of Ironman. And chances are they’ll see the movies. (They did.) But Guardians was a gamble; full of virtually new characters.
WARNING: The rest of this review will probably contain very minor spoilers. (If you choose not to read on, remember to stay until the end of the credits when you go see this!)
So, yeah, this movie kicked ass. In every way. It had great action. It had phenomenal effects. It had heart, and it was hilarious. There were so many laugh-out-loud moments that got the whole theater in a roar you missed some of the following lines (a good reason to see it again!). Oh, and for the first time Marvel laid some of its petty cash on the table to get the rights to a bunch of songs that fit so perfectly it’s obvious they are a driving force behind the story.
While the story is typical enough you look past it because of everything else going on. The characters/actors have such great chemistry, and the action and laughs keep coming by the minute. In all honestly, Guardians is more of a setup movie than anything – laying the groundwork for future sequels and the eventual meet up of the Guardians and the Avengers. But who cares? It’s a wild, fun ride. Other reviewers can probably give you a more concise review with many more specifics and what they all mean in the comic world and blah blah blah. But if you read my blog you know I’m not really that guy – unless it’s something I truly know a lot about. And like I said, I don’t know my comic books. Anyway, moving on…
BTW: the movie should be OK for younger kids. If they saw the other Marvel movies up until now, there’s no reason to stop.
Chris Pratt’s character, Peter Quill; a.k.a. Star Lord, is the only from Earth. But the beauty of the character is he brings the best parts of Earth with him. Aside from the list of 70’s tunes, he brings all kinds of 80’s nostalgia and injects it into his cosmic surroundings (and hilariously so). If anything it serves as an anchor for those on the fence about being completely out of their known Marvel context. Anyone can laugh at a well-timed Footloose joke – it doesn’t matter what movie it’s in. Also, Pratt is fabulous in his turn as a major Marvel hero. I give credit to Peter Gunn’s direction and the way Pratt played the character, giving Star Lord a penchant for perfect timing and the gift of perfectly timed one liners. “They got my dick message!”
Zoe Saldana fits well with the cast, but needs no detailed review. Hats off to Bradley Cooper for sounding nothing like Bradley Cooper. Cooper voices the scrappy gun-toting raccoon, Rocket. And despite its serious lack of vocab, Vin Diesel does a great job voicing Groot (think Ents from Lord of the Rings – only less old and wise, mixed with Hodor from Game of Thrones). Much of Guardians’ heart, and laughs, come from our tree-man friend.
But most of the high marks go to WWE and MMA star Dave Bautista. Most would count someone with his history in ‘acting’ as down and out, but he ends up making Drax one of the best parts of the film. Out for revenge after the murder of his family he earns the nickname “The Destroyer.” His single-mindedness is only outdone by how flawlessly the delivery of his dialogue is. Gotta hand it to Bautista, you did great, man. Pay close attention to his lines because his people speak in completely literal terms. Mix it with Quill’s quips, and ‘I am Groot;’ hilarity ensues.
‘Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast, I would catch it.’
Keep an eye out for Lee Pace, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close. Yes, that’s right, Glenn Close is in Guardians of the Galaxy. Oh, and Benicio del Torro (who we’ll be seeing more of in next Guardians movie – it’s already been green-lit).
For those following the overall arc of the Marvel movies we actually get to spend some time with Thanos here. Don’t quote me on it but as far as I know we won’t see the resolution of the Thanos storyline until Avengers 3.
All I know is I can’t wait a) for Guardians 2, and b) to see Quill, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, and Groot on screen with Cap, Thor, Ironman, and Hulk. That is going to be some epic movie-ing.
But we’ve still got Avengers 2: Age of Ultron coming before we get to any of that. So until then, GO SEE Guardians of the Galaxy. Have a great time.
Thanos demands it.