Title: Guardians of the Galaxy
Producer: Kevin Feige
Director: James Gunn
Screenplay: Nicole Perlman and James Gunn
Composer: Tyler Bates
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Let’s not waste any time and jump right in, shall we?
Casting Choices: From the actors to the voice actors, every protagonist and antagonist, save one, was absolutely perfect for their role. Chris Pratt stole the entire movie with his masterful performance of Star-Lord. He was so likable from the very beginning, dancing his way across the very first scene. The character had such an easy-going way about him that really set the tone for the movie.
The voice acting… wow. Vin Diesel did the voice for Groot, a character that repeated three (technically four) words throughout the entire movie: “I am Groot.” But he changed his inflection so perfectly that his meaning really carried through fairly nicely. I never knew Vin Diesel was that talented before. It gave me a newfound respect for the guy. And Bradley Cooper… holy hell, was he awesome as Rocket Raccoon. His every line was amazing. My favorite part from him was when Rocket was drunk… Bradley had to pull off an angry/sad voice that’s only really possible when someone is drunk and feeling sorry for themselves while being pissy. He pulled it off flawlessly.
I could go on and on, but I don’t see the need to. I’m positive you’ll see it and totally agree. Excellent casting.
Pop-Culture References: The legend of Kevin Bacon and Footloose… I don’t care who you are, but I know you lost it when Star-Lord was delivering that line. I need to know how many takes that scene alone had. And did they have a blooper reel with Kevin Bacon standing in the background?
They had far, far more. I don’t know if a lot of it was improv… it felt like it. The lines and delivery felt completely natural. It didn’t come off as forced or anyone trying to sound clever. That naturalness feeling helped this movie so much, giving it that added charm!
The Galaxy: Knowhere was brilliant. The aliens were also pretty awesome as well. Yeah, they were all pretty much humaniods, but that was what was in the source material as well so it is pretty reasonable. I thought the movie gave a great sense for how vast and mysterious the galaxy really is. Marvel has a rich cosmology, waiting to be explored… and I truly believe Guardians of the Galaxy will be the ideal medium to do just that!
Man, I just wish Disney would buy back the rights to the Fantastic Four. I could totally see Galactus make an appearance in the sequels for this movie! The possibilities are freaking endless!
Action: All superhero movies need incredible action. If you don’t have that, you’ll have an incredibly boring movie. Look at the Fantastic Four if you want an example of a boring superhero movie. You had the first family of comic books going against the single greatest villain in Marvel comics… and for 90% of the movie, nothing at all happened. Nothing at all.
This movie had a number of truly cool action sequences. My favorite was the one-sided beat-down Drax the Destroyer received from Ronan. It was freaking brutal, setting up Ronan as a legitimate bad-ass while showing that Drax can take a monster beating and not die. It made Ronan’s eventual defeat so much more satisfying. Plus, Drax actually called up Ronan (Ronan was hunting the protagonists at this point) to tell him where they were at, just so Drax could get his fight a lot faster. So let’s face it, Drax had the beatdown coming. So it was equally satisfying for that reason.
Embracing the Comic Book Genre: This is for Marvel Comics as a whole, but for this movie in particular. DC Comic book movies seem to want to go for realism. We have angst, torment, and everything inbetween. Marvel Comic movies, thank god, remember how to have fun.
Yeah, there’s a typo in it, but ignore it for now. I love this meme. It says it all. Comic book movies are about having fun and embracing the genre. Guardians of the Galaxy was unapologetically a comic book movie. Not only did it have a walking tree and a raccoon with a gun, there was also Howard the Duck, a telepathic dog, magical all-powerful stones, and so much more!
In other words… comic book movies that are okay with being comic book movies = awesome!
Therefore, Guardians of the Galaxy = awesome!
Thanos: Why? Why? Thanos is the 2nd greatest villain in the Marvel Universe after Dr Doom. This is the 2nd movie where they tease him. In the first movie, he turned and grinned. And well, that was pretty cool. This is the 2nd movie! He didn’t even get out of his chair this time. Yes, he was called the most powerful being in the universe by one of the characters on the movie. And that’s cool and all… BUT… it would have been cooler if he would have done something.
This movie did very little to build him up as a legitimate threat to anything, outside of his own seat cushion. In the comics, he worships Death. He is the ultimate nihilist. He wants to turn existence into a monument for his true love, Lady Death. If they would have at least talked about something like that, it would be obvious why it would be a bad idea for the Mad Titan to get any of the Infinity Gems.
The Plot Structure: Oh look, a group of misfits come together. They have to cooperate to overcome a challenge. But wait! They aren’t truly a team yet. They first have to be defeated. Crushingly. But then they start to show hints of togetherness. And then they come together to form an unbeatable team! Then they have a small series of awesome victories to solidify their team! But… OH NO! They can’t defeat the big bad guy. Everything is over!!!
And le gasp! Something unexpected happens and they win, thanks to luck and togetherness!
Formulaic. So freaking formulaic. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the latest Marvel movies which dared to deviate from this formula… but man, seeing a return to such an overly simplistic plot structure was painful.
The Music: Don’t get me wrong. I liked the music. Hell, I loved the way Star-Lord danced to it in the beginning. And oh man, when he was singing and dancing (DANCE-OFF!!!) to distract Ronan was priceless! It was clear that he loved every song. It was easy to get sucked into it. But there were a couple of times when it killed the epic feel of what was going on. While it didn’t really break any scene, it was like having a terrible song coming on in the middle of an awesome party. The scene no longer felt right. Music should feel like an extension of the scene, helping enhance it. I don’t feel they used the music in the best way possible.
Evil Walking Dead Guy: Oh look! It’s the Walking Dead guy… playing pretty much the same role with body paint. Almost the same mannerisms… same way of speaking…
The Nova Corps: This is a personal gripe, mainly because I loved the powers that Nova had in the comics. It seemed like the movie didn’t want to have too many superheroes in the movie, so they turned the Nova Corps into kind of an airforce/space police group rather than the Green Lantern ripoffs they were in the comics (and they were so good at it too!!!). The movie did a great job with them. They really, really did. This is in the “bad” section only because I would rather have seen them stay closer to the comics… again, personal gripe. Nothing I would argue about.
The Honest Truth
Guardians of the Galaxy was a good movie. It was entertaining, with the focus being on an everyday man hero. We got to watch his journey from a backroads thief to being the most important person in the galaxy. This is the type of character that is easy to get behind and sympathize with. Star-Lord did not have any powers at all. He was a human being (okay, half-human) fighting alongside some of the most fantastic beings one can imagine. And not only did he keep pace, he became their leader. He’s the type of character that survives on his skill, charm/charisma, as well as a healthy dose of luck.
I would argue there are things wrong with the movie, as previously listed. It wasn’t a perfect movie. But for a comic book movie, it was incredibly entertaining.
It told a story of a team of misfits coming together to save the galaxy. It was cliche and formulaic. But, well…. for a lot of people, it worked! To be honest, it was a problem for me. But well, that’s me.