I will preface this by saying that I remember buying and reading Guardians of the Galaxy comic books back in the late 1970’s, back when reading comic books was a good excuse for getting a wedgie. Of course now, with superhero movies being all the rage, suddenly those wedgies and titty-twisters all were all just the price of being ahead of the popularity curve. But I digress…
I took my wife to see Guardians of the Galaxy. She generally doesn’t enjoy comic-based movies. She loved this flick. We were both laughing throughout the film. It’s not like Iron Man or The Avengers where the humor was sprinkled in between the action. Here the jokes punctuate the script like a sniper’s well aimed shot. My wife didn’t get hardly any of the tie-ins to the larger Marvel universe, but that didn’t matter to her. She totally enjoyed the movie for what it was, a mindless romp/adventure across the cosmos.
The movie was one of the best I’ve seen this year, with Captain America 2, The Winter Soldier, still holding that spot. Guardians is right behind it. The film covers the formation of an unlikely band of misfit rogues who are tossed together to become heroes. The movie interjects a soundtrack from my life – the 1970’s and 80’s, and does so masterfully.
And the characters…well, they are awesome. Chris Pratt is serious, clumsy, but hilarious. He’s got a Han Solo kind of feel to him, if Han had a great sense of humor. His dropping of 1980’s references to pop culture make the movie sizzle. When he references Footloose, you will bust as gut laughing.
The characters that steal the film are Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (a walking/talking/fighting tree voiced by Vin Diesel). Rocket is an illegally genetically and surgically altered raccoon – but never call him that, he hates that. Rocket has distinct anger control issues and has lines that are right up there with Tony Stark in terms of humor. Rocket makes you laugh throughout the movie and in some case just plain steals the show. Groot, despite having two lines in the movie, is a neat character, surpassing the one in the comic books.
The story is a good vs. evil story with insidious villains bent on destruction. There are plenty of ties to a larger Marvel universe here (The Collector, Thanos – who we get to see, and others) but that’s there for those of us that are geeks. These links don’t overpower the film or drive the plot, they are treats for those of us that know what the Infinity Stones are and why Thanos is a universe-crushing badass.
Purists will say, “This film does not fully follow the origin story of the Guardians.” They are right. But most Marvel movies don’t, so chill. This film does an outstanding job at giving us a much bigger universe for Marvel heroes to play in. The folks calling the shots at Marvel are brilliant at building a larger storyline without making them dominate the films.
This is not a movie for little kids. I wanted to smuggle in my grandson, but I’m glad I didn’t. There’s a lot of violence in this film, but it doesn’t dominate it. I saw kids in the theater that were 9-10 years old and I just didn’t think that was right, not without a parental preview before.
Did I love this movie? Oh yeah! It is a full four quarts of Awesome Sauce. It’s not a big thinking movie – it’s just plain fun on a bun. I’m downloading the soundtrack right away as well. Next to Forrest Gump, this soundtrack is one of the best ever produced.
Marvel hit this puppy out of the park. Here’s this little known intellectual property that was only marginally successful as a comic book that is now this incredible franchise all on its own. Please Marvel, take my money! Give us more Guardians,
Oh, and stick around after the credits (like you had to be told). If you were around in the 1980’s, you’ll get the reference. Enjoy true believers!