MOVIE REVIEW | Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)


“Filthy? She has no idea. If we had a blacklight, it’d look like a Jackson Pollock painting.”

Spider-Man, the X-Men, the assorted heroes who make up the Avengers… All of Marvels stable of well known characters have their own franchises ticking away, bringing in huge box office on the regular. So now, Marvel has had to dig a little deeper, and resort to characters your average, non-comic book reader wouldn’t have ever heard of. Which is why we now have Guardians of the Galaxy.

A young boy runs out of a hospital after the death of his mother and is abducted by aliens. That young boy grows up to be Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord (Chris Pratt), a Han Solo style space thief, smuggler and scoundrel. His theft of a mysterious orb gets the attention of bounty hunter Gamora (Zoe Saldana). As well as fellow space thief, smuggler and scoundrels, Rocket, a machine gun toting, walking, talking, genetically modified racoon voiced by Bradley Cooper, and his walking tree companion Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel.

Their fighting over the orb, which hold something called the Infinity Stone, lands them all in jail where they meet Drax (Dave Bautist), a beefy alien ass kicker with a Vulcan level of literal logic. Of course, these five are too mismatched to ever be able to work together or fight on the same side, so they all go their separate ways, never to speak to each other again. Oh wait, hang on, this is a movie, so they become a wacky team of misfits whose differing personalities and attitudes mesh to make an unbeatable team.

Also John C Reilly, Michael Rooker, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close and Peter Serafinowicz all pop up as well. But I have no idea what their characters were named or what purpose they served. Because Guardians of the Glazy is kind of all over the place.

There are a lot of characters, each with a name sillier than the last, and I don’t think I could remember any of those silly names, past Star Lord, Rocket Racoon and Groot. The Avengers piled on the characters, but it had the benefit of four movies preceding it, giving every Avenger, and their enemies, plenty of time to be established. Here, the Guardians, their friends, enemies and mentors were all thrown at me so quickly, I never really got a hold of who was who.

Generally, I’m a fan of the Marvel universe of movies. They’ve managed to elevate the comic movie to a new level of legit, well made stories about fleshed out, multi dimensional characters. But I’m getting a little sick of the mcguffin based plots. Does every single Marvel movie have to be built around our heroes chasing some sort of ancient artefact of immense power? The Infinity Stone, the Tesseract, the Aether… All of these objects of power and desire are getting less interesting and more interchangeable with every movie.

I guess we need a reason for the good buys to be fighting the bad guys, but I can’t remember the last time I paid enough attention to these infinity stones, tesseracts and aethers to actually know what they’re supposed to be or why they’re an object of power and desire.

I had high hopes for Guardians of the Galaxy. The trailer made it look like it was a more self aware, fun comic book movie than the usual, with a bit of a wink in its eye. And Chris Pratt is a dude who has been great in comedy on Parks and Recreation for years, while backing it up with some great serious work in Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty. But in the end, Guardians of the Galaxy is just another comic book movie, CGI-fest. Which is fine if that’s what you’re expecting, I just expected more.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed By – James Gunn
Written By – James Gunn, Nicole Perlman

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