‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Movie Review – A New Marvel
Although studios froth at the mouth at the idea of franchises (audiences apparently like seeing something familiar), it creates what I like to call the “franchise effect.” Since you know this truly isn’t the end, it takes out a lot of the stakes, if you will. We know Iron-Man isn’t going to die at the end of Iron-Man (…or 2…or 3). Even before knowing a Guardians of the Galaxy sequel was in the works, we all knew Marvel was introducing the cast to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Knowing all this didn’t hurt Guardians of the Galaxy, though, and it could be because it was a fun origin story of sorts, or it could be because it was the best use of humor thus far in Marvel’s filmography. Either way, it was a balanced movie that changed up the Marvel formula.
Guardians of the Galaxy starts with a quasi-flashback introducing a young Peter Quill (later played by Chris Pratt) on planet Earth. After tragedy strikes, Peter is abducted and plucked from Earth by a mysterious alien aircraft. Flash forward 26 years to Quill looting and thieving for a living, all while trying to reinforce his “Star-Lord” nickname.
Quill ends up finding a mysterious orb which holds a power unknown to him or basically anybody around him. Through a serious of unfortunate (but quite hilarious) circumstances, Quill teams up with a green mutant alien (Zoe Saldana), a gigantic warrior (Dave Batista), a genetically-engineered talking raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and a tree humanoid (played by Vin Diesel).
They become the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
What is nice about Guardians of the Galaxy is that it is a relatively new property for Marvel, meaning you don’t have to live under a rock to be unfamiliar with their backstory. In fact, my guess is most people in the theaters are seeing or hearing about the Guardians for the very first time. This definitely helps the film feel less predictable.
It also helps that James Gunn and Nicole Perlman’s script is one of the funniest of the year.
I’ve always been down on Marvel movies because I feel like they try to be too funny. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of having the Avengers come together (and that is done almost flawlessly). However, it annoys me when these great superheroes are making quips and witty remarks in the heat of battle while New York City is being decimated. The only character I can truly handle comedy from is Iron-Man because, well, it’s part of his character.
Back to Guardians, though, because the comedy just seemed to fit the tone a lot better. It’s tough for me to justify the use of humor here as opposed to the other uses, but I think it has to do with Guardians of the Galaxy feeling much more like a standalone film compared to the other Marvel ones.
Just when I thought we may be getting burnt out on Marvel movies (side note: it’s amazing they still haven’t flopped), James Gunn delivers a highly-entertaining fresh film into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s an origin story without all the clunky exposition; it’s a superhero movie that impeccably balances action and humor; it’s perfectly cast (Pratt seriously is the hottest commodity in Hollywood right now); and, perhaps most importantly, it introduces us to a band of heroes that aren’t crafted from millions of dollars or trying to fulfill some prophecy from a different planet.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and Guardians of the Galaxy sure as hell proves this point. Gunn makes you care about these quote-unquote losers in a way that is more pure than all of the other Marvel superheroes. He even does this without completely paralyzing how you should feel about the Guardians’ soon-to-be comrades. Instead, he delivers a fresh take on a genre that arguably needed it the most.
Guardians of the Galaxy is available all across the country starting today. Check it out if you get the chance and leave your thoughts below!
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