So, Marvel Studios already gave us all their "A" and "B" listers in feature films, and then they combined them all in The Avengers, and then they pooped out a few more pretty good Iron Man, Thor, and Cap flicks just for good measure... But then they realized that they didn't have anything else in the old comics warehouse since they already sold off the rights to all their mutant and Spider-Man titles, and so they said "Fuck it, let's make a movie about that comic with the walking tree and talking raccoon. That's no more ridiculous than Howard the Duck, and like, there's already a Howard the Duck movie out there. Greenlight that bitch."
And thus Guardians of the Galaxy was born.
Now I'm not going to get all nerdy on you and tell you that I was a GotG fan since the current group of rogues first came together back in 2008, 'cause that would be a lie. I don't lie... Unless it's about whether it was me or the dog who opened the freezer and ate that half-gallon of ice-cream. I never lie.
My only knowledge of the Guardians came from an episode of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and even then I just thought they were lame. When Marvel first announced that they were making a $100-million dollar movie about a group of space pirates who do silly things and have a tough green chick and a raccoon and a smart ass captain fighting against tyranny and freedom and some shit, I remember thinking "Ah, so Disney/Marvel needs to make their own version of Firefly or Ice Pirates, huh? I'll be skipping that, thank you, as nothing can top either in my book." But then... Then they announced the director of the project and I was sold: James "Freaking" Gunn, of Slither and Super fame. Holy shit. I then made a note to buy 50-hundred tickets for the flick's opening weekend.
So, Guardians of the Galaxy has finally come out, and it's had the biggest August movie opening ever, and it's made as much as Cap 2 did in its initial weekend of release... That's all well and good for Marvel, but IS IT a good movie? Yes, and no. But mostly yes. I'll get to the why's in a moment, but I feel I must tell you that Gunn did an impossible thing and made us feel just as much love for a CGI Vin Diesel (don't know if I spelled that right, don't care) character with even fewer lines than he had in Iron Giant. For those who didn't know, Vin plays a walking tree in GotG, and he only says 1 sentence throughout the entire movie... Okay, 1.5 sentences. But he somehow makes his character of Groot super sympathetic and awesome. I know. THAT Vin Deesal! It's crazy.
Anyway, slight spoilers. Nothing too spoilery though.
Guardians of the Galaxy is about Peter Quill (the human known as Star Lord), Rocket (the talking and gun-toting raccoon), Gamora (big bad Thanos' adopted daughter), Drax the Destroyer (big tattooed guy who is entirely too literal), and Groot the tree getting into trouble, using their skills to break out of a galactic prison, getting chased by the Kree bad guy, Ronan the Accuser, and his helper monkey Amy Pond, and attempting to pawn off the movie's MacGuffin Device while trying not to get killed or kill each other.
The whole tale is your basic sci-fi adventure romp with little to no deviation to the standard pre-wrapped story that you've already seen 40,001 times before. While watching it I was telling Cupcake what each character was going to do and how it was going to end with about 95% accuracy (to her annoyance). There is really nothing new at all in this movie plot-wise. It should have been just another lame Star Wars-wannabe... but it was not. The characters (both their lines and their actors) along with Gunn's direction and the visual style of the entire flick knocked the proverbial space baseball out of the goddamn space park! It's actually very fun, it constantly keeps moving forward, and it's one of the funniest movies I've seen in years. Oh, and also very importantly, it's got a gooey emotional center that really keeps you interested in all the people and creatures in it. It is the complete package.
There are two standout characters in this thing that really won me over. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill is one of the all-time greatest assholes in space that you've ever seen and that you'll ever root for. He plays his character with a tone of self confidence that only the truly brave and truly stupid usually have, but he doesn't play him as 100% douche-nozzle. He's a lot more friendly than Han Solo, and just about as cool as Mal Reynolds, but perhaps even just a little braver and tougher. Though, man, you do NOT want to bring a black-light onto his ship.
The second kickass character is Rocket the lab-tested and genetically fucked with Raccoon. Rocket was motion captured by Gunn's brother and voice acted by Bradley "I had a tiny naked Asian man jump on my face in The Hangover" Cooper. Rocket was pure awesome. There were moments where I got completely sucked in and just saw the CGI critter as a person, not pixels. I was quite amazed.
But like I said earlier (at least I think I did), ALL of the characters (including the bad guy/girl Amy Pond) were great, had good reasons for doing what they were doing, and there wasn't a moment where I was hoping we'd get away from one group and go back to another... Well, all the characters except the main big bad of the movie, Ronan the Accuser.
You see (time for me to geek a bit), in the comics Ronan is one of those characters that has an aura about him, and a sort of invulnerability that the best baddies have when they're so good that the creators just can't kill them off (at least not forever). But in Guardians he's just another megalomaniac who betrays his boss for the sake of more power for himself. His goal is to blow up a planet.... Yawn. I was just hoping for something much more from a Gunn movie. Don't get me wrong, the film as a whole was executed beautifully, but it was still the same-old same-old with no real twist to it (except for a dance-off at the end... I shit you not). The same can be said for all the Marvel movies up to this point, and perhaps ALL superhero movies in general too: Good guys are good, but not perfect; bad guys are evil and want power or destruction; the good and bad clash; good guys regroup; good guys face bad guys in bigger conflict and stop them, usually resulting in the bad guy dying pretty painfully. That's just what they are apparently.
With that being said and that cookie cutter plot exposed, Guardians does the best with what it has, and it really does a pretty fantastic job of winning over even the most resistant viewers.
Slight spoilers over... If you skipped to here, just look how much you missed above! Really, I didn't ruin anything big for you. Stop being a pussy and just read the whole review.
I liked the characters (good, bad, those seeped in shades-of-grey in the middle [which was mostly everybody truth be told]), I loved the typical Gunn humor (especially the "Dick message" and some of the perverse violence peppered throughout), I was blown away by the visuals (I was afraid that this movie would be cheap-looking due to the sub-par stinger showing the Collector's collection off at the end of Thor 2), enjoyed the hell out of all the 70s and 80s music that made up the soundtrack, and I can't wait to take my nephews to see it again this weekend. It was a color-by-numbers plot, yes, but the cast and crew did an amazing job with it and gave it a special paint job that allowed it to shine like a double rainbow bridge!
Ah, Guardians of the Galaxy... I liked it better the first time I saw it when it was called Star Wars Firefly Battle Beyond the Stars.
Yeah, Chris Pratt is hot in it in a strange, slacker kind of way, and the tree man was cute, especially when he does his little tree dance at the end, but it just didn't do anything for me. It was just a big, colorful, fast-paced, blow-em-all-up flick to me.