Guardians of the mother flippin galaxy!! In Marvel’s newest outing we see the inter-stellar adventures of a gang of galactic good-for-nothings gallantly galavanting against god-like goons. Seems like the best place to find our guardians, doesn’t it? Filled with cosmic action, a potentially rabid small animal, a giant one-phrase spouting tree, romance, an epic dance off and a Sony portable cassette player; Guardians of the Galaxy shows us that friendship nor family is limited to our race alone.
Now that I’ve finished with my “professional critic review” there are spoilers to follow, so please read with caution.
The movie begins with heavy sentiment as we follow a young Peter Quill who becomes known as the infamous “Star Lord” (Chris Pratt) in a hospital waiting room to see his mother whom is terminally ill with disease. The movie begins with this tear jerker scene one could assume to let us know, yes this is directed by James Gunn, yes this will be funny, but this will elicit emotions from your heartstrings. Oh yeah, Peter then gets abducted by a huge alien ship, right after his mom passes away after alluding to a greater character in his father, as being a “being made of pure light”. Hmm wonder what that could mean? Alien? Nawww..
The rest of the movie spends its time bringing together the likes of Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and possibly the brightest star of the whole movie; Groot (Vin Diesel). Showing that Joss Whedon isn’t the only one that can contain multiple sorts of identity in one movie without making it feel out of balance, James Gunn unites this cast of personae and melds them wonderfully. This is done without giving too much back-story for any of them, but just enough to keep the movie going and to give the viewer a sense as to why these characters are the way that they are. It’s because the movie doesn’t delve or spend too much time on the back-stories that we can actually appreciate the union of them and go forward throughout the movie to enjoy the plot.
Speaking of the plot. Thanos rears that epic grape Laffy Taffy chin again in this movie. While not taking the spotlight, just more like a reminder that he is indeed here and he will be a force to be reckoned with. Someday. Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is the baddie in question for our guardians. Rocking the “Universal Weapon” looking like Mjolnir had a growth spurt, Ronan the Accuser of the Kree race appears to have his lovely mascara drenched eyes set on getting the “orb” which contains one of the lauded after “Infinity Gems”. The whole premise of the movie is the chase after the “orb” which houses the gem. Peters intergalactic adoptive father of sorts, Yondu (Michael Rooker), is gunning (see what I did there?) for the “orb” in the beginning of the movie. When Peter has it in his possession and Ronan is aware, he sends Gamora after him to retrieve it. Yondu, upset that Peter kept it for himself to pickup the reward for it, puts a bounty on Peters head. When Rocket discovers the bounty, he also goes after Peter. And Groot? Well, he is Groot. After a chaotic chase scene four of our five guardians are captured by the police force of the planet Xandar; The Nova Corps. After being sent to “The Kyln” an intergalactic high security prison, we meet Drax. The final member of our group. From this point on we see the union of the individuals into the team that we end up falling for. The only qualm that is seen in terms of character development is Ronan. We know he is bad, we know he is genocidal but not much time is spent building the fear or the weight his kind of character should have. He ends up falling into a typical “bad guy archetype”. However, the movie doesn’t have time for this. Just barely over two hours, Guardians job is to establish this team and set the stage for other films rather than focus on this one particular villain.
It should be noted that this movie is loosely based off of the 2008 remake of the Guardians of the Galaxy comic. Formatted more for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as to tie into future movies, while the canon material may differ from what we see in the movie, it is still an amazing picture nonetheless. Two members of the Guardians are missing that were in the 2008 comic but, we will likely see them in a future iteration of this franchise.
Balancing multiple characters and their interactions with each other is not an easy task. Especially while introducing these characters to many people who may have never heard of them outside of the usual Marvel heavy hitters. James Gunn and Nicole Perlman do an amazing job scripting everyone together while still bringing highs and lows of emotion to the film. Many will try to compare this to Marvel’s The Avengers, but really shouldn’t. These two movies exist independently from one another. On the one hand, Avengers took many movies to establish characters and their stories, uniting them in the greatest cinematic team up of our century. The Guardians of the Galaxy was always a team, typically never independent from one another. They are really one entity. Planting various seeds for future Marvel endeavors, Guardians of the Galaxy beautifully balances grief, action and humor together reminding us that ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, that Marvel can’t take us to.