Guardians of the Galaxy

guardians-web

Release: Friday, August 1, 2014

[Theater]

I wish I could say I am hooked on this feeling, but I’m not high on believing that indifference is what I should be feeling right now. Especially for a movie that hasn’t even made it through opening weekend, yet is already being touted as Marvel’s masterpiece.

At the very least, such lofty praise seems just a little capricious given the source material wasn’t widely accepted as anything close to ‘cool’ until about. . .oh, I don’t know what an accurate estimate is — say, two or three weeks ago? Listen, I’m no hipster; I won’t not like Guardians of the Galaxy just for that very particular thrill of not liking something most everyone else, in our universe anyway, does. Sitting in a sold-out showing at 11:45 on a Friday night kind of proves that enough people have invested interest in this, and it’s reached the point where I no longer need to worry about me shouting into the wind with this review. Indeed, it’s more like a hurricane and really, I’m just whispering.

Maybe my fate had been sealed long ago, before this project was even announced. I, like millions, hadn’t known a thing about the Guardians of the Galaxy aside from that one teaser attached to that one Marvel movie. Yours truly was never moved enough to give their comic book roots an exploration. Obscure Marvel to me is not lesser in quality, its just more obscure and interests me, personally, less.

As such, I hadn’t received the proper introduction to any of these characters. Forgive me, but Chris Pratt’s recent success in The Lego Movie isn’t quite enough to make me want to go shouting the fact his next character’s name will be Peter Quill/Star-Lord from the rooftops. Nor is Vin Diesel’s muscular physique as ironic as it maybe could have been if I knew Groot before. This kind of unusual casting certainly pops the characters up off the page from one-dimensional drawings and into three-dimensional bodies, but I’m emotionally invested in their plights insofar as the music is shoehorning my feelings in, one classic ’70s track at a time. In other words, the story structure is pretty manipulative.

The picture begins inauspicious and in a Missouri hospital room as Peter’s mother lies on her deathbed, making her last wishes known to a small group of family and close friends. Peter, unable to deal with everything, runs outside where he is quickly abducted by — and get this — a band of space pirates known as the Ravagers and who are led by a very blue dude named Yondu (Michael Rooker, hamming it up nicely). The Ravagers “raise” Peter, though Peter doesn’t allow much of the miscreant creatures’ general shittiness to rub off on him, though early on in the movie he’s a far cry from what he will become. Peter indeed has an arc and he does improve as time goes on, never stooping to the level of the likes of Yondu and his redneck friends. (Yes, there are even redneck aliens on display.) He spends his time roaming the galaxies, bedding multi-colored women and stealing. .  .things. Hardly a noble life. His journey becomes slightly more interesting when he discovers a small round object, whose power he clearly is ignorant to.

This, the infinity stone, will be responsible for magnetizing the film’s meandering plot from one corner of the galaxy to the next, as Quill and a ragtag group of other equally curious individuals attempt to avoid the wrath of the mighty Ronan (Lee Pace), the murderer responsible for the slayings of millions of families throughout the universe. (When I put it like that. .  . . . damn, that’s pretty heavy.) We ought not think too highly of Ronan, though, nor his crazy anger nor his impressive army of ships and bald-and-blue Karen Gillans (still not as sexy as Jennifer Lawrence). Nor the super-jaw of Josh Brolin in his fittingly hammy turn as Thanos, a supervillain with skin the color of Welsch’s Grape Soda. These jerks are just mere bumps in the road in what’s mostly a thoroughly enjoyable, if too casually diverting, journey throughout the cosmos.

Director James Gunn and Marvel studios together go for broke in this spectacularly colorful and silly affair. On more than one occasion the film manages to strike a precarious balance of being simultaneously jaw-droppingly gorgeous and hilarious. Rare are the films that find both pleasures combining against such a dramatic backdrop. Still, it’s hard not to become distracted from much of the epicness. The goofiness becomes a plot unto itself. Between Star-Lord’s nobility post-narrow escape from death, or Ronan’s confusion at seeing said character bust out a few dance moves mid-battle, the film treads an awfully thin line between being taken seriously and being dismissed as comedy.

Maybe it’s late-stage MCU Phase 2 burn-out I’m navigating through at the moment. Perhaps I’m simply lost in Knowhere, scrambling for something that could possibly appeal to my sensibilities in this landscape of comic lore. I guess, shouldn’t the entire movie, because after all it’s all one big inside-joke, anyway. Guardians of the Galaxy was once obscure and now it no longer isn’t. Seems there really ain’t no mountain high enough for Marvel Studios to get over.

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3-5Recommendation: I am probably going to be alone on this. May I recommend this one less to devoted fans of the comic than to fans who loved the atmospheres of The Avengers and Thor. Although Guardians does appear to be upping the ante on every front. It’s bigger, sillier and louder than both those films and its far more obscure. I’m not sure where this lands the film in terms of placing it on a scale from Marvel’s least successful to it’s most heralded. I actually do not care. This was such an odd experience, even beyond the source material that it’s hard to really define who this really is geared towards. This is just one to go to if you find yourself curious about what the big deal is all about.

Rated: PG-13

Running Time: 121 mins.

Quoted: “I’m pretty sure that the answer is ‘I am Groot’. . .”

“I’m gonna die, surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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51 thoughts on “Guardians of the Galaxy

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  5. Sorry for the late comment. I forgot to do the review and I have bookmark folder with all the reviews in.

    Anyway great review. I Loved the film. Great music and very funny 😀

    • Ah yes, good man! I literally just stopped off on your review and left a comment. Thank you very much for coming by. . .as you said, better late than never!

      Guardians was a ton of fun, a huge risk and ultimately a good investment in pushing Marvel forward into the future. It’ll be very very interesting to see how they take care of sequels, and how movies are going to be following this one. They have a big shoe to fill, at the very least. . .expectation-wise with fans.

  6. Excellent review as always Tom. I must say that I am very indifferent about this and most certainly will not be rushing to see it anytime soon.

    • See I knew there was a reason we were friends!!! The same kind of ‘meh’ approach you have to it is how I went in. And that’s basically what this review (I hope) reflects. 🙂

      Yikes. You posted this two weeks ago. lol.

  7. It’s nice to read a few reviews like this one, if for no other reason than just because it gives a break from the huge amount of love that this is getting! I haven’t seen it yet but I can lower my expectations just a little now.

    • Hey dude, yeah I just had to go with the gut feeling! Sometimes those run contrary to the popular opinion but in no way do I suggest GotG is not a good movie. I had a great time, but not perhaps as much as others. Thanks for the comment man, and hope you do enjoy it whenever you get to it.

  8. As a dude who loved the movie and bought the soundtrack during my shift at work the very next day, I don’t have a problem with your score. I haven’t even wrote my own up because I don’t know if I want to give it perfect or doc it due to my personal problems with it. My problems consist of only one thing though…

    The villains. Nebula…pointless. Ronan…chump. Where was the threat? However, GOTG did an excellent job of building a new universe and five great characters. Actually…make it four. Gamora was kind of generic.

    • What’s up Duder. 🙂

      It’s one of those epic films man, with opinions either trending to the super-positive or the. . .well, I guess no one’s bashing the film (that would be utterly foolish). . .but I guess there’s also the less-enthused crowd. We’re waving white flags from down below the hill!!!

      Nah lol. I’m glad a lot more people got a big kick out of this, I nearly dozed off a few times. But maybe that’s because I saw it so late (11:45) after a good day of work. And more bloggging. Lol. How that’s any different from any other day, though. . .I have no idea. 😉

      Agreed on the lack of development on the villains, btw. That was very irritating to me. It was the same thing with Thor and The Dark World

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  10. I actually thought this was more grounded than The Avengers. Sure, it shoots across the galaxy more often than a Rocket one-liner, but the characters and their interactions felt more genuine and accommodating. More recognisable, even. I really loved this film. I do take your misgivings though, great write-up Tom!

    Adam.

    • You should love it man, I enjoyed myself as well, but just not as much as others at this point. I was honestly prepared for a slight backlash given the scoring I’ve given it and the fact that I did a little bit of whining here and there, but so far, so good. I think maybe I overreacted. 🙂

  11. Doesn’t seem to me that you’re inciting a riot. You aren’t arguing it’s bad – just that it’s … I don’t know the proper adjective … imbalanced?

    I haven’t seen it yet. When I finally do, we’ll learn whether I am one of the many in love with it, or one more in line with your thoughts. 🙂

    • Awww, too bad. Riots online sometimes are fun. But I save that more for comments on YouTube and stuff I guess. Maybe that’s a better place.

      I get the feeling you’ll love this man, but I’m certainly interested in seeing where you’ll fall on the reaction spectrum. The majority are absolutely bowled over by this exceptionally silly story. A story that, in my eyes, isn’t all that special. And I suppose imbalanced is a good word to describe it. There are good moments of adventure and drama as much as there is seriousness, but as Fernando pointed out, the movie does also suffer from the lack of a very well-defined villain. I mean, it’s clear who the villain(s) is/are, but we are supposed to feel terrified by these things. The gods of the universe should be the scariest things ever, yet I was more intimidated by the Winter Soldier by a long shot

      • Sounds like the villain(s) probably are an issue. And, if they are, you know my predilection for nuanced characters …

        We’ll just have to see, I guess.

      • the villains certainly suffered a case of undevelopment. Ronan and Thanos you understand, in a way, are supposed to be just the worst of the worst. . . but that’s mostly because you see the background of the places they occupy. lol. It’s not so much about the characters themselves, and I wish it were

  12. Hey Tom, no you’re not alone in this man. I gave this one a 3.5/5 so no, not stellar. It’s frivolous good fun w/ an awesome soundtrack but that’s about it. Yep, it’s bigger, sillier and louder, not bad for a Summer flick but I don’t think it’ll stick in the mind like some other films this Summer like X-Men DOFP, Dawn of Apes or even The Winter Soldier.

    • Hey Ruth, cool! We’re on board!! 🙂 It’s definitely a great movie. But you just summed it up, I don’t think it’ll resonate as much as others. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so far to me has been the best movie of the summer. And it’ll I think remain a compelling entry even at the end of the year. That movie just blew me away. And yes, Days of Future Past seemed to offer about the same amount of fun as Guardians.

      I think the thing is, this was just such a different side of Marvel that could have possibly gone down in flames. Everyone’s gotten a huge high off the advertising campaign as well. Which makes sense. marvel studios made themselves known on this one.

  13. Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you so much,
    However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why
    I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting the same
    RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

      • It’s really winning everyone and their grandmother over. It’s almost approaching Harry Potter-levels of popularity, it seems. Seems you can’t go anywhere online without seeing a status update or rave review of some kind about it! Which is really great news for the studio since this wasn’t something that really seemed sell-able to a mainstream audience.

        Then again, this summer has packed a few other surprises, hasn’t it? Glad to get you amped! Hope you enjoy yourself

    • Thanks dude! I think the 6/8 accurately reflects my personal enjoyment of it. On this one, I think I rushed the review out. I wanted to get a lot of views (and I succeeded). But I also can’t shake the feeling. . . . .maybe. . . just *maybe* I”m selling this thing a bit short? I don’t know. I can’t recall a whole lot of what happened, and to me it really proceeded, story-wise, as a mainstream movie. Nothing too special. The humor and the visuals are what set it apart. But I think personally Iron Man was a stronger film. Maybe there wasn’t so much riding on it as a product, but still. The quality time I spend with Robert Downey Jr. is almost unmatched in those films.

      • Nah, I don’t think you’re selling it short. 6/8 is still a good one. And yeah, I think Iron Man (1 and 3) and the Captain America movies surpass this one in quality.

  14. 6/8 is still not bad… Waiting for it to release here… although I can’t deny that the almost unanimous positive reviews took me off by surprise… Coz earlier I was going to skip it but now it seems I might give it a go on the big screen. Wonderful review as always, Tom.

    • Indeed man, the 6/8 is a great score. I just couldn’t bring myself to give it top marks or whatnot. I just didn’t see the overall picture as something quite that special, ya know?

      Yeah at the very least I do have to say I would highly recommend going to see it, this movie is a great deal of fun and should be seen on the biggest screen you can find.

  15. Personally I am so tired of the phrase “Best Marvel Movie Ever!!” Seems like every Marvel movie that comes out is touted as a masterpiece. It’s like The Boy Who Cried Wolf. I guess I’ve gotten used to the hyperbole by now and kind of ignore it. However I will say that for once the label actually fits. They took a property that no one gave a about and made it into one of the most captivating stories of the year. Not an easy task. The jaw-dropping manifestation of this universe is a marvel of modern technology, fashion, and special effects. The art direction never ceases to amaze.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    P.S. The way you expressed you disappointment I figured it was going to get 1/8. 6/8 is a good score so not sure what the fuss was about. Fun review buddy. Glad you enjoyed it? 😀

    • Much of the exposition here was me explaining why I wasn’t about to dish out the perfect score, or even the 7/8. I wanted to be up front about what was preventing me from giving it YET ANOTHER stellar review. I realize now that while I’m standing by my position on this, I’m sure my argument doesn’t exactly make a lot of sense.

      That said, I am also trying to crack down on my scale. I’ve consequently dropped the scores on two older reviews in an effort to make the 8/8 a truly difficult score to attain. That was the whole point anyway, and I’ve been finding I’ve been generously giving those upper scores out. This extravaganza in that way is kind of a guinea pig. To me, the 6/8 (or 75%) fits it pretty well. There was a sense of ‘been there, done that’ with the way this story played out. Though the characters were utterly fantastic. Loved everyone here. But I wanted to love the story more.

  16. Okay – I’ve not seen this yet so kind of just skimmed your review. Oh MAN – I love the look of it so am hoping I like it more than you did… :-/ We shall see! : )

    • I really really enjoyed it. There’s a couple of things going on here that I think might be confusing. One, I didn’t explain my stance on GotG very clearly. hahah. The second thing is I’m trying to make that pie scale tougher. So get used to seeing some solid titles perhaps getting lower scores than u might expect!!!

      That’s right! I’m going full-on pretentious now. I’m standardizing my own rating system. . . how cool am I? 😀

  17. Haven’t seen it yet, and need to catch up on a few films currently in cinemas, but I enjoyed the review. I have had superhero burnout for a while but intrigued enough by this to give it a shot.

    • Here here! I’m pretty backed up on current releases myself. So many good things coming out lately. Lol. As for this, I can’t say I wasn’t highly entertained. I just was surprised to find myself zoning out several times throughout. Maybe that had more to do with the time I saw it at, though. 🙂

  18. This film is undoubtedly wacky, but I just…loved it. I do think that there were a few too many things going on for a first film, but…I dunno, dude. Somehow, all the craziness worked for me. I’m trying to figure out how to express that for my review right now. Bahaha. Great review, dude! I’m glad you at least liked this one–even if you didn’t love it. 🙂

    • There are so many clear reasons to love this movie. In fact I’m pretty sure I goddamn like the hell out of it, but I have a feeling this is going to stack up to be one of the films fallen victim to intense overhype.

      Again, though, perhaps the term overhype isn’t needed. Maybe this film is really that good and I just missed it! There were a lot of great moments here and honestly I wasn’t expecting how emotional the relationship between Groot and Rocket Raccoon would become. That was crushing later on!!! hhahaha.

      • Right?? I didn’t expect to like Groot nearly as much as I did, but he just wins this movie. His relationship with Rocket is fantastic! I think Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper were the right choices there. 🙂

        • They were fan-freaking-tastic. I really don’t know who I liked more. Diesel was more limited, so it was more impressive that I gained so much affection for him. Whereas Cooper was just having a field day. This cast really was a damn classic.

  19. I enjoyed it but still had my issues. I’m the last one to toot Marvel’s horn, especially lately, but I found a Marvel film without Robert Downey Jr to be incredibly refreshing. The color and humor was also a much added bonus. That being said, it suffered what most of the previous Marvel film’s suffered from, and that’s a rather lackluster, undeveloped villain and a very fluffy, comfortable, expected third act.

    • *wipes sweat off his brow*

      Phew. Thank goodness. I mean, people have a right to be over the moon about this. GotG is exciting stuff, but the amount of hype made me question what I had missed at the end of it. I think you put it best, this film doesn’t really escape the Marvel trend to make everything uber predictable in the last 40ish minutes of the story. Granted ,there’s a lot to take in here. And with that in mind Gunn did a great job of keeping everything together. I love anything Robert Downey Jr but also agree it’s a refreshing point where we are in the MCU.

      Thanks for coming by dude

    • I hope you’re wrong as well mate, this is not a film I’d call quite worthy of this much praise, but I have this feeling you’re going to get a good kick out of it. And this review is not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, either. Just, wow. Both RT and IMDb together have this thing pegged in the 90th percentile. That’s pretty impressive, and with the exception of The Winter Soldier I can’t recall a superhero film that has won over everyone so completely. It’s nuts

    • also Mikey. . . notice how there was a lack of hate mail from yours truly over a certain Epics of 2014 suggestion. . . ? 😉 haha

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