Spoil-Free Review: Guardians of the Galaxy
“Well that shit just happened”. Basically those were my thoughts leaving Guardians of Galaxy. I expected greatness when I went to go see Marvel’s newest monster hit, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have seen it at 9:45 on a Thursday in Imax 3D. But there was no part of me, not even the most optimistic bone in my body—which is coincidentally my femur–that ever expected anything that awesome. My second thought when leaving the theater was, “Oh poor DC Comics.” I mean Marvel is just turning these stupendous movies one after the other and DC has been all but relegated to network TV, and not just network TV but the CW which has never once produced a show that wasn’t bad. I mean what did we expect from the station that used to be The WB—the original home of the modern day minstrel show before Tyler Perry was Tyler Perry. I mean Stan Lee is doing the damn thing that’s for sure, and it’s beautiful to watch. Just as a nerdy ass nerd there couldn’t be a better time to be alive. And that brings me to the end of my fawning.
So what did I just watch? A lot of people are calling it the best Marvel movie ever, I’m not 100% sold on that but it is unquestionably in the top 5. There are few films to come out of Marvel Studios since the release of Blade (the beginning of this superhero movie amazingness) that could match Guardians of Galaxy in directing, acting, or writing. I am glad that the climax of the summer, because don’t mistake it, everything has been leading up to this and everything will be downhill from here (sorry Mr. Miller). There was a part of me that was worried they’d do my boys Starlord and Rocket Raccoon the same way they fucked up Goku and Ang. But I should have never worried, Marvel knows what its fans want and it knows how not to fuck that up—which is evidenced by the after credits appearance of Howard the Duck. Stan Lee knows his fans so well he’s appeared in every marvel movie for the last decade because who else but a comic book nerd would get so excited about a spotting a 80 year old man who wrote these characters decades ago?
But the question is, why the hell did we all love this movie as much as we did? We were all surprised that Guardians of the Galaxy was getting made into a movie because as far as Marvel comics goes it’s not that popular—or wasn’t that popular. But we never should have been surprised at all because besides the fact that you’d have to tone it down a bit to squeeze that PG-13 rating out of it that Disney loves so much it is perfect for the big screen. First of all, it’s beautiful—unlike Spider Man, Captain America, or Iron Man, set respectively in New York City, Washington DC, and Los Angeles—Guardians is set… in space. I saw this in Imax 3D and it was just incredible, not just the scenes with the driving and exploding spaceships, of which there were many, but even the scenes of dialogue or comedic dance numbers, of which there are enough, are placed in front of these stunning backdrops. Secondly, there is of course the cast, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. I would see any movie they made with that cast honestly, the only way it could be better is if you threw in some Idris Elba. Pratt is the perfect Starlord because it’s clear he himself is still a 14 year old boy at heart, and isn’t that what we’ve all wanted from the man who is destined to save our universe? It’s what I’ve always wanted.
Dave Batista, who until I actually sat down and watched this movie, all I was saying about his casting was, “wouldn’t e be better as Groot and Vin Deisel better as Drax?” or “why is The Rock opening a guaranteed flop against Guardians instead of playing Drax instead of Batista?” And 30 seconds into his appearance on screen I was well aware what he was doing cast alongside an Oscar nominee, in one of the best fan service movies since Serenity. Even Zoe Saldana was great playing, Gamora, the least awesome of the team. I mean I could go on forever, listing every person that was in this movie and how spectacular they were but I won’t, because I’m lazy and who the fuck would read that. But I will say, I am super happy for Karen Gillian because it seems like she has managed to continue the cross-continental success pattern of the Doctor’s companions.
But mentioning Karen Gillian and Zoe Saldana in this movie brings me to the one, and only problem I have with Marvel Studios. Women. They are getting way better, this is not Petter Potts being entirely useless and a complete nag in Iron Man. But to point at Scarlett Johansson playing Black Widow and say, “yay women” is offensive to my intelligence. One female character of substance in a plethora of hit movies is not a plus, especially when she only really became more than a hot women in leather last movie. Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillian were badass that’s true, but the fact that they don’t get to play people is irritating to me (not humans obviously, but Gillian plays a robotic killing machine and Saldana is more of a plot device than a member of the team). Now I do think the change is coming, it seems very clear that Gamora will be a much better character in the sequels to follow. But for the moment Marvel’s female characters consist of only two women who aren’t useless damsels in distress. And one of them is spends most of the time fawning over a muscular blonde haired god who carries her off in his ripply arms more than once. But if what they have done to Black characters will be what they do with women I am cautiously optimistic. There are just so many amazing actresses that could take some of my favorite Marvel characters to new heights. Fingers crossed.
I’m trying not to write another 4000 word article here so I’m gonna hit you all with some quick points about how amazing this movie was:
- It’s hilarious, funniest action movie since the face of the girl I took to see Sucker Punch.
- James Gunn and Nicola Perlman do Marvel’s misfit band of idiosyncratic ne’er-do-wells so well it’s just a pleasure to experience what happens when two geeks get ahold of a blockbuster. Like watching 2 hours of Doctor Who.
- The action is amazing, even though you saw the best 5 seconds of action in the trailer—you will not be disappointed.
- It’s not 2 hours of origin story so it doesn’t suffer from the Captain America or Thor
- The pacing is so well done, I don’t think I’ve ever sat through a movie that I didn’t want to end, didn’t realize we had reached the two hour mark, and didn’t experience a Michael-Bay-induced seizure of confusion and that sharp pain that bores through the back of your brain.
- Thanos is going to be six million types of awesome in Avengers 2.
- No but really… soooo awesome, get your galoshes ready for the storm of dopeness that is coming.
- I’m going to try and pick a highlight of this movie, brace yourself: I mean, Bradley Cooper was fucking awesome. Well yeah he was but, were you there when Chris Pratt was clearly the best leading superhero not named Robert Downey Jr. Okay yeah fair point, but I mean are we can’t forget that climactic battle sequence. No true but then again Groot; Groot saying, “I am Groot,” Groot dancing, Groots emotional moment, um… Groot bustin’ a move. Oh right, the highlight was Groot. Well that’s decided.
- But actually, Bradley Cooper was crazy good.
Acting (Main Cast): 9/10
Acting (Supporting Cast): 8/10
Action Sequences: 8/10
Special Effects: 10/10
Universe Tie-in: +4
PG-13 Rating: -3
Fan Service: 11/10 Highlight for Most Awesome Spoiler Ever: Um… they put Howard the fucking Duck in this movie!!
Overall Rating: 9.19 (Classic)
Pop Culture Che Suggests: 5/5 (See it. See it again. Bring your girlfriend. Make your parents take you. See it in Imax. See it in 3D. See it in 4DX. See it on LSD. See it with a mouse, see it in a box, see it with a fox, see it here or there see it anywhere, see it Sam-I-Am.)
Sorry DC, maybe don’t cast Ben Affleck as the only superhero left we even like and expect us to throw money at you like you’re Stan “Fucking” Lee.