Rating 5/5 – Holy shit did I just get blown away by Guardians of the Galaxy, the little movie that could. Okay, let’s have some context. I’m going to start reviewing trailers because they are a thing now and looks like they are heading in a very weird direction. When Marvel first announced their next movie to be Guardians of the Galaxy my reaction was a little different from the general audience. Mostly because I’m a comic geek first and I know exactly where Guardians of the Galaxy falls on the Super Hero scale. Guardians of the Galaxy is a roughly D-List concept who were mostly guest stars in more popular comics. They were created n 1969 by Arnold Drake and drawn by Gene Colan during one of the umpteenth times Marvel did the “throw shit against the wall and see what sticks” thing. Later they became involved in one of the Avengers most famous storylines, The Korvac Saga. In the late 1980’s Jim Valentino brought the team back in their own series where they experienced life in the Marvel Universe of the 31st Century. That lasted for 62 issue before they got the ax. The team, as we saw in the movies, got new popularity after an awesome event called “Annihilation Conquest.”
When this movie was announced, I have to admit I was one of those who questioned Marvel’s sanity. They can’t do a Black Widow movie, but they are going to do Guardians of the Galaxy? I personally disagree that Iron Man has ever been an obscure character, but Guardians of the Galaxy is the very definition of obscure. They appeared in an Avengers Assemble episode, but it was one of those “blink and you’ll miss it” things that you’d only remember if someone reminded you. This movie is the test of if Marvel can pull off this cinematic universe. It’s one thing to feature the Avengers. It’s another to feature weird characters with a bizarre backstory and even weirder adventures. And the verdict is. . .Marvel knocked this one so far out the park it’s gong to leave a lasting impression on Pop Culture, probably forever.
Guardians of the Galaxy – Marvel Gets Cosmic
One of the things that annoy the hell out of me is how Marvel keeps running away from their weird. Super Heroes, and comics in general, are just weird. They have to be. You have people flying through space with no protection, mole men living under New York City in vast caverns, human beings getting hit by huge amounts of radiation and surviving with super-powers. That’s the comic book way. Because these are power fantasies, as a fan you just go with it. Thanks to Christopher Nolan and the hyper-success of The Dark Knight, everyone thinks that they have to ground their heroes in some kind of reality. In some cases, this isn’t a bad idea. However, as Marvel builds upon this universe they cannot simply explain away the weird with bullshit lines like “What you call magic, we call science.” (That one came from Thor and it makes me roll my eyes everytime I hear it.) In Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was given permission to go hard or go home with the full cosmic weird that is these characters. It didn’t hurt that two of them had a direct relationship with Thanos, the big-bad for the upcoming Avengers Infinity War.
The question is, can a movie with a green alien, a talking raccoon and a tree who constantly says “I am Groot!” while meaning a whole host of things be good? The answer is no, it is great. I mean Star Wars, Matrix and Battlestar Galactica great. James Gunn not only made you love these characters but provided excellent moments and development for all of them. Even the talking tree. This from a movie with a talking raccoon that has a huge gun and bomb fetish. I not only enjoyed this movie but the comic geek in me did a happy dance over the fact Marvel did not shy away from everything that makes these characters totally weird.
A Talking Tree Steals the Show
I could talk about how good Chris Pratt is in this movie. Zoe Saldana already established herself as a good actor a few movies ago, and she is a welcome presence in most movies that has her. Bradley Cooper is already a mega-star and his taking the role of Rocket was surprising, but not surprising was him doing a fantastic job with it. However, it’s Groot that stole the move for me. Vin Diesel only had three words to say but with his voice and some spot-on CGI they made this character engaging, fun to watch and very scary. There’s a scene where Groot takes out a group of bad guys in a viciously efficient way then turns and smiles with the innocents of a toddler. Groot gets a few great moments as well as more depth to his character than you’d expect for a movie about a kidnapped human hanging out with a bunch of aliens. The relationship between Groot and Rocket was spot-on and very relatable. These are best friends above all others and it showed. Good job Marvel and James Gunn for taking this character to the point where you’re going to see a lot of “I Am Groot” merchandise on pretty much everything.
Everyone has a problem with Marvel villains. If it isn’t Loki the critics are all agreeing that while most Marvel movies are great they need help with their villains. I’m guessing they all want Hans Gruber in everything. What confuses me is how they got the use Ronan The Accuser. Roana was introduced in Fantastic Four #65 and it was my understanding that 20th Century Fox owns everything Fantastic Four, so how does that work? They had is look down and Lee Pace did an okay job with him, but making him a Kree fanatic bent on blowing up a planet isn’t exactly the core of his character. Making him a delivery boy for Thanos didn’t seem like the best move either considering in the comics the first thing Ronan would do if he met Thanos is trying to kill him. Ronan is pretty much Judge Dredd in space created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby long before Judge Dredd became a thing. He felt like more of an introduction to Thanos than a good big bad. However he did have more than a few good moments, so there’s that.
I don’t watch The Walking Dead, so for me, Michael Rucker is just some guy who was in that thing. In the comics, Yondu is one of the original Guardians whose from a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri who controls specials arrows by whistling. Guardians of the Galaxy kept the arrow thing but made Yondu more of an alien version of Hans Solo, only a bit more of a bad boy than a scoundrel. He had more of a robo-mohawk thing instead of a fin and only one arrow, but that arrow isn’t a weapon you’d want to come up against anytime soon.
It was fun, had the right amount of humor and even made Dave Bautista shine. The characters were engaging and the story kept the audience interested. This is one of those movies people are going to see multiple times because it’s just that good. It’s going to be my favorite movie of the year and pretty much will rule the summer movie list. If Marvel can make a movie about a talking tree and a gun nut racoon work I can’t wait to see what they do with Ant-Man next year. My verdict? You need to see this movie because it’s just that great.