Nerd-Base is thrilled to have contributor Adrienne (from Caffeine Crew) review Guardians of the Galaxy for us! Adrienne loves blogging, writing, and many things nerdy! Please give her awesome review below a read…I think we can all agree with her!
My first thought upon seeing the preview for Guardians of the Galaxy was “Marvel has more money than they know what to do with, so they’re just making whatever the fuck they want. I respect that.” I assumed GOTG was a film to throw out in the hiatus between Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron. Not being a comic book reader, my knowledge of any of this lore is wholly imparted by movies and more comic book savvy friends. So walking into the theater I had very little preconceived notions and only vehement demands that ‘see this film NOW’ from all of my friends who had gone before.
The film wastes no time pulling you into a swamp of sorrow that dare the most stoic of eyes to remain dry, and it sets the foundation for the character of Star-Lord/Peter Quill played by Chris Pratt of Parks and Recreation fame. I’d never heard of him (as I don’t watch the show), but apparently it was quite a surprise that he was cast. Any prior derisive commentators are currently eating crow, because Pratt does a phenomenal job in the role.
Zoe Saldana (Uhura in both new Star Trek movies) plays Gamora, the “daughter” of Thanos, whose green skin and curvy figure are enough to give Captain Kirk wet dreams for a lifetime. Then we have Dave Bautista of the WWE portraying Drax (and apparently he fangirled HARD when he found out he got the role), Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket Raccoon who is hands down my favorite character. Bad ass, snarky, and broken has always been the best combination in my book. Lest we forget the side roles of Glenn Close as Nova Prime and John C. Reilly. Nathan Fillion makes a cameo appearance during the prison scenes, but I didn’t catch that the first time around, and of course the immortal Stan Lee shows up. Seeing him is like winning the easiest game of Where’s Waldo that you’ll ever play.
The plot is nothing new. A ragtag group of outlaws become embroiled in an adventure that starts off for profit, but ends with them finding the hero within and making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. What gets you is the fact that Marvel took a movie of relatively unknown D-list comic book characters (one of which is a talking, anthropomorphic raccoon) and made a movie that <em>works</em>. Not only does it work, it’s better than Avengers and Age of Ultron better bring its A game to answer this challenge.
Guardians has what I like to call Futurama Syndrome in such that you’ll be laughing your ass off one minute and crying your eyes out the next. The line that stays with me is “We all have dead people.” It’s right after some hilarious shenanigans, and you feel like you’ve just been kicked in the gut. Every one of the guardians is sitting on a foundation of pain. Star-Lord with his mother’s death, Gamora with her father’s, Drax with with wife and daughter, Rocket with his very existence, but they rise above it on the backdrop of a space opera orchestrated with 80s music. I love the quaint incongruence of having a futuristic story with an old school soundtrack. It speaks to the timelessness of such tunes, and also serves the purpose of reminding Star-Lord of where he came from. No matter how strange how alien how remote, he always has the tape his mother made him to bring him back home.
Self-sacrifice is the name of the game as always with all five convinced they won’t survive what they know they need to do, but doing it anyway. They’re kind of the poor man’s Avengers. Where that team is made up of the elite and the best, Star-Lord and his crew come off as the scrapings from the barrel, but they’re more relatable. They have lost things the same things we all have. They’re working with limited resources like we all are. They’re facing insurmountable odds like we all do every day. Where Avengers is driven by action and fun in the culmination of five movies melding, Guardians proves you don’t have to do that to make a successful film. You don’t even have to have characters that are well known! While I might not know all the ins and outs of that particular storyline/universe, it didn’t diminish my understanding or enjoyment of the film.
Guardians of the Galaxy is an achievement not because it does anything particular new, but because it succeeds by doing something old with a twist, and that’s what we want. We crave the familiar with a dash of different and that’s what Marvel delivers.