My Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

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Now that Comic-Con is over and after a long vacation, I can return to blogging on some topics that have been pushed to the back burner. My passion with blogging first started years ago when I started a humble movie review website called BabbleOn5. While I now know solely doing movie reviews isn’t my thing, I do miss it from time to time. So once I saw Guardians of the Galaxy on opening weekend, I knew I had to put some thoughts down on paper for my fellow Comic-Con fans.

f8d97fc5-14cd-4d01-92c1-cc2c5adfd7b4Even as an avid comic book fan, I shared the common concern we all felt upon hearing the news that Marvel had green lit GotG. After a quick visit to Wiki, we all looked up from our monitors and collectively said.. what tha what?! Better yet, I bet even the writers and illustrators at Marvel Comics were scratching their heads when Marvel Studios called breaking the good news to them. After the meteoric success of Avengers, it felt like Marvel could do no wrong, so if a gun toting raccoon was going to fly, it would have to happen now while the proverbial iron was hot. While comic book and Comic-Con fans were all rooting for the Marvel dark horse, the truth is, we were also holding our anxious breath and wondering if the successful freight train would come to a screeching halt.

I didn’t think it was possible but the Marvel freight train just kicked it up to the next gear. Wow, I was thoroughly impressed with Guardians. It was refreshing, fun, and entertaining from start to finish. The beloved spandex superhero costume is exchanged for hip spacesuits and a whole new dynamic side of the Marvel universe is revealed. The best part is that besides being a great comic book movie, it was also an amazing science fiction one too. In fact, it might be the best sci-fi adventure since the original Star Wars trilogy. Time and sequels will be the ultimate judge of that but I think Guardians has that special something that has set it apart from others. I won’t waste time with a plot summery since I am sure most of you have already seen it so I will jump straight into what I loved and what I didn’t.

What I Loved
Chris-Pratt-square__131114022703Gone are the alpha types that have composed the fraternity of super males for the past 8 movies- which was a refreshing change. Like Peter Quill (Pratt) says “We are a bunch of losers… we’ve all lost stuff”. This group of misfits toys all band together because of their common sense of loss. Identity is a big theme in this movie- as in, who am I and what am I fighting for? Sure, it’s not terribly original but it’s a solid premise that not only the audience can relate to but a plausible motivation to bring this unlikely group together. This group are not billionaires, gods, or super soldiers. Just good hearts disguised as thieves and thugs. The chief anti-hero, Chris Pratt, really is the key to the success of this movie. He is both immature and a scruffy scoundrel and is like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rolled up into one. Even though they put him through the Marvel physical transformation machine (to include the mandatory 6 pack) you can tell he is just an every day guy just trying to get paid and not get killed in the process. The relationships swing from business partners to ‘frienemies’ to family and this is what makes us love him and the rest of the Guardians. Sure there are epic battle scenes and spectacles to behold, but really it is the sense of family that makes us leave the theater with a smile on our face. Like many of us know from experience, our closest and most meaningful friendships have often come from the most unlikely circumstances. In this sense, it accomplished even better what Joss tried in Avengers. In that case, those heroes don’t really need each other- but the Guardians do. When the Guardians fly off into the sunset you can tell, their adventures will be many and will be fun. I also loved the color/design of this movie. Every scene is rich and vibrant and it fully embraces it’s roots as a comic book movie. It relishes in the color and is not allergic to it which the competition seems to be over at DC/WB.

What I Didn’t Love
guardians-of-the-galaxy-ronan-photoshopMarvel, we have to talk. As much as I love your films, two reoccurring issues are really starting to grate on my nerves. First, your villains are terrible. Ronan (Lee Pace) hasn’t been the worst offender in your pantheon of stories but there is really nothing to him. Just another dark and brooding low talker with a penchant to destroying a race of beings. No shades of gray, just pure evil. Boooooring. Loki is the only exception of the rule and as a result, has become one of the most popular and beloved characters out of all of the Marvel movies. The Winter Soldier took a huge leap in the right direction but Guardians took us back where we started. Come on Marvel, I know you can do better. Second, the plot is literally the same as the Avengers, beat-for-beat. Introduce the all powerful ‘Mcguffin’ that falls into the wrong hands and threatens to blow up a city. You have done it and everyone has already copied you a million times already. So it’s time to come up with a new way to threaten humanity or at least tell it in a different way. We know these are the typical comic book story lines but it’s getting predictable. If JJ can blow up Vulcan, you can shock us with some originality as well. That’s it with my gripes. My list is short but reoccurring which is not good.

On a side note, Guardians also passes the Bechdel Test- not with flying colors but it performs better than it’s other Marvel counterparts. This is an important test and I would encourage you to become a fan of it. Overall, I loved this movie. I already saw it a second time and still thoroughly had a great time. It’s a solid contender for best Marvel film and is right up there with The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As prolific as science fiction movies have become, there is no current modern day contender for King. It may be too early to crown this as the King of the galaxy just yet- but it certainly is a Guardian.

What are your thoughts on GotG’s strengths or weaknesses? How does it fare compared to the rest? Let me know by leaving a comment.

PS: For this review, I was tempted to just write “I AM GROOT” over and over again :)

16 thoughts on “My Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

  1. Well, Marvel has a formula and it works. I think just making this movie was a huge risk and not the time to try and switch up from their typical Marvel formula. I do agree about the baddies though. I really wanted Ronan to be the next Loki, as Marvel really does need to flesh out their other villains a bit more. I mean, WHY was he so angry about the treaty?

    • Agreed- this is a major accomplishment for Marvel. I just wish the plot was as creative as the world that was built. Yea, Ronan needed some sort of motivation or give him a quirky side or something. He needed another dimension to play against the Guardians. Complaints are pretty petty considering how awesome the movie it though. Thanks Barb for commenting!

  2. Well I think Thanos is the villain you are looking for and Ronan was just the pawn. I know Yondu is not a villain per say , but he does present problems and there is Peter’s father. I think Marvel is just getting started so I not worried too much about one dimensional villains quite yet

    • With all this build up, I really hope they give Thanos more dimension. We are 9 movies in and Loki is the only memorable villain so far which is a bad sign. Hopefully it will change soon. Thanks for commenting!

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to the villains. I’m biting my nails with anticipation over Thanos – I really want him to be as dimensional and complex a bad guy as Loki (I mean, come on, he’s supposed to be the most powerful being in the cosmos).

  4. I watched it with the whole family and I was happy that it was something I could enjoy with my kids (my son is 12 and my daughter is 9)!

    I feel it’s a little mis- marketed because it seems like it’s lumped in with the other Marvel “super” movies instead of the cool sci-fi space adventure it is.

    The chemistry of the cast and the lighthearted banter- even during some of the darkest moments- kept us in the movie and there were a lot of jaw- drop and giggle moments for the kids. I do agree that, along with most of your other readers, Ronan is a bit one dimensional. Luckily the great cast of characters made up for it so that it wasn’t sticking out like a sore thumb during the film.

    Honestly, I think I need a break from the Avengers overload (I took a long hiatus from Agents of Shield before I watched the last two episodes of this last season) and GotG was a welcome change!

    • I know everyone questioned the announcement of GotG back at a couple of Comic-Cons ago but now it makes a lot of sense. I think we have been experiencing some Avengers fatigue so the change to an epic space opera was perfectly timed. Those Marvel brains over there are pretty big. Thanks for commenting!

  5. In respect to villains, it seems that this is the area where DC does have a bit of an edge. However, I do love that the Marvel heroes have those “shades of gray” in ways that shown with empathy and lots of humor. And for that reason, I’ll look over the one-dimensional villains for now. By the way, I do think you should do an alternate review all in “Groot.” :)

    • Yea, Marvel hasn’t even been able to touch a villain at the level of Heath Leger’s Joker. Loki is awesome but he isn’t a villain that you are terrified of like the Joker. Hope they can develop one like that soon. Thanks for commenting.

  6. I’ve seen GotG twice myself- loved it even more the second time around! I think a few strengths were how real the characters and their interactions were. Even more so than Avengers by the end, they felt like people/personalities you could know with more multi-layered interactions beyond quippy one-liners (not that we don’t all love those!). Also, the unexpected soundtrack was definitely a boon- the genius pairing of a few key scenes with perfect song choices only added to the drama and comedy- and kept everyone smiling. I’m even contemplating a third time…

    WE ARE GROOT!!!! 😃

    • Yea, I would argue that it has the best soundtrack out of all the Marvel films- better than the original Ironman. The score was pretty bland and super overshadowed by the classic songs. It did make me want to buy it!

  7. I still remeber how Karen Gillan took off her wig at last year’s Comic-Con and the whole cast started talking about how excited they were about being part of this film… And I couldn’t tell what the heck was going on. A year later Marvel has (pleasantly) surprised me, they managed to pull the unknown-superheroes movie off! They have proved that they dont need an enourmous fanbase (as compared to The Avengers) to make a hit; what’s more important: they managed all of us uncultured-Guardian-nerds to become interested on the other parts of Marvel that may not have a spotlight (yet) but that are full of wonderful characters.

    I’ll have to agree with Tony on the movie cons… If we’re talking about the GALAXY we could have had a much more thick storyline, hell even from non-Guardians comics we can see that space and cosmic beings have much bigger issues than a fanantic trying to blow up a planet (ok, to be honest I was disappointed there was no Kree-Skrull fighting involved).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • I really love Karen Gillans look in the film- I couldn’t stop staring at her anytime she was on screen. I’m glad she survived and hope she has an even expanded role in the future. Hope this is just the beginning of many stories! Thanks for commenting!

  8. I agree wholeheartedly. And especially about Ronan – he was really meh. Nothing explosively bad about him. And that’s kinda the point.
    I adore Loki (as does, well, EVERYBODY?) and you’re right, Winter Soldier gave me hope that Marvel was getting the hang of creating movies with baddies who would not only serve as plot points, but actual characters. Than comes Ronan the OneDimension(al). Lovely.

    My review was just me raving, so I appreciate you pointing out some flaws.

    To be honest, what really made me love this movie were the characters. Perhaps the search for identity IS a bit ‘been there, done that’, but it was perfectly written and executed. And they really are a bunch of assholes, and not in an ironic hipster way. Like, I love them.

    Great review!

    • No doubt that great characters that you love can cover a multitude of sins. I hope they depart from the formulaic storytelling in future films. Thanks for your comments!

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