Due to my advancing age, increasing senility and just bitter disdain for any kind of comic book based film, my expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy were low. Yes, I scanned the glowing reviews and watched the trailers, things looked very promising, a can’t miss hit of a summer blockbuster was at hand. Even though I had solemnly promised myself to never have my butt in a seat at the theater with a Marvel “masterpiece” rolling, I did in fact sit through another one of these movies.
A look at our movie heroes reveals a rodent (O.K., fine, a Raccoon), A drifter/scrounger who has bouts of nostalgia between self esteem doubts, a colorfully tattooed lummox who never met a metaphor he did understand, an anorexic and familially confused assassin, and a walking Downie of a tree. They are all thugs. What could possibly go right with this crew? At the box office the answer is “Everything” and $94,300,000.00 is a lot of money by any standard, and that is what this whacky but shamefully loveable marvel from Marvel pulled in at the box office the first week.
Did I write “lovable”? When I write lovable, I mean watchable, and when I write watchable, I mean that somehow this movie clicked on all cylinders. After a pretty rudderless opening that supposedly set up a back story for Peter Quill, we hurl straightforward into a magical movie where the abovementioned heroes try to capture and recapture an infinity stone to keep the evil villain Ronan from pulling a god and Noah’s flood on most of the universe. That is about all you need to know about the plot, as we are swept away and entertained for a couple of hours by a group of Guardians who know when to not take themselves seriously.
The sets were gorgeous, the acting and script moved together in perfect harmony, the action was plentiful, and our heros interacted with each other, stealing scenes and bringing to a screeching halt any accidental seriousness with rapier-like one-liners and hilarious jokes and pop references. James Gunn kept this movie fresh, well-paced, interesting, and most of all, a lot of fun to watch. This was not just a well-made Comic Book Hero film, but it was a superior film, period.
Most critics and reviewers have lavished praise on the acting, specifically Vin Diesel as Groot and David Bautista as Drax, and rightfully so. Yes, Bradley Cooper was wonderful at voicing Rocket and the 5 Guardians interacted perfectly throughout the movie. Chris Pratt was just great and there is no doubt that he is headed for stardom. There was another performance that I would like to point out and that was the character of Yondu Udonta played by the great Michael Rooker. Rooker played what I think was one of the most Ruthless characters ever in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, and he is ruthless in GOTG, but is also grudgingly likeable and certainly brandished one of the coolest weapons ever in the movie.
Readers of my reviews know how I feel about this type of film. I was pleasantly surprised as to how watchable and enjoyable this effort was, especially the script and delivery, and this treat of a movie delivered so much more than dazzling CGI effects and endless explosions. The characters are developed just enough to be interesting without being ponderous. Guardians of the Galaxy is not Star Wars or Indiana Jones, but it is a great start for Marvel in making movies that appeal to a broader range of audiences. The laughs were genuine and numerous throughout the movie and it was quite refreshing to enjoy a movie with lots of action + great character development and dialogue and not merely mind-melting noise and not so cheap CGI tricks. Another thing that I have not mentioned is the soundtrack and the use of time period songs to lubricate the flow of the story and tie it together. Songs like “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede were absolutely perfect in context with the action.
Guardian of the Galaxy has humor, action, thrills and is a different sort of Comic Book film that will be enjoyed by all audiences. I give a solid 8.0/10.0 for this summer’s blockbuster.
Quotes, zingers and one-liners galore:
- “We’re just like Kevin Bacon” -Gamora
- “He got my dick message!” -Peter Quill
- “Filthy? She has no idea. If we had a backlight it would look like a Jackson Pollock painting.”
- “I know who you are Peter Quill and I will not be a victim of your pelvic sorcery!” -Gamora
- “What the hell?” -Nova Corps Officer (looking at Groot). “He’s been traveling recently as Rocket’s personal house plant-slash-muscle.” -Rhomann Dey