Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Movie You Didn't Know You Wanted

A foreword: This summer has been relatively boring on the movie front. I think I've been to the movies a total of twice this past summer (for Maleficent, and Days of Future Past, whose review are written, but not published because all the time sometimes I'm not a good writer.
But I've been pretty un-amused with Michael Bay movies, retreads of Greek mythology, and... I mean, I can't even remember any of the movies released in the last three months, and for me, that's pretty unusual. Really unusual.
And then Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't so much open the door, it kicks it down with a bunch of lasers and dry ice and probably something cheesy from the '70s that you secretly really love playing in the background.
The whole concept of making a Guardians of the Galaxy just seemed like such a whacky thing to do from the beginning, but therein lies it's genius.
When you think of Marvel movies, you probably see Spiderman, your Avengers crew and their various solo movies, and Hugh Jackman without a shirt.
And even though Marvel Studios only owns the Avengers out of those listed, those are still Marvel movies.
Here's what you don't think of when you see Marvel on the marquee: crazy cyborgs, that guy from Pushing Daisies so unrecognizable that you have to look at the IMDB page to tell it's him, Vin Diesel pulling another Iron Giant, and a totally cheesy, totally awesome soundtrack.
Guardians is B-movie brother to the Marvel family, and there's not a better way to have it.
The best way to explain to people that this is not just the Avengers rehashed is that the Avengers take care of Earth. The Guardians take care of pretty much everything else. And they crack a lot of jokes while doing it.
Going in, I definitely wasn't too sure of how this was going to turn out. I hadn't read ANY Guardians comics, had heard little of them except that there was a talking raccoon with a machine gun and an anthropomorphic tree. However, Marvel has managed to make a lot of good movies with a lot of heart, and actually let directors have more artistic license with a movie than the average blockbuster.
So in steps James Gunn, with the weirdest cast of characters Marvel has ever put together, an awe-inspiring special effects team, and a wise cracking script full of heart and emotion and 10cc songs.
And it works. Oh man, does it work.
With it's A-Team, Marvel has trekked into darker territory, i.e. Tony Stark's ptsd, Cap's long lost best friend is now a killer on the wrong side of the fence, Thor's mom is dead and Odin probably is too. So with Guardians they get a chance to go a little lighter, have some fun again, and make a movie funnier than all three Iron Men combined (I know, you don't have to scold me in the comments, I'm just trying to hold your interest).
Chris Pratt was absolutely the perfect choice to play Peter Quill, a sort of Malcolm Reynolds with a funny bone and a mix tape he can't bear to part with (more later on that). He calls himself Starlord because nobody else will. He's the perfect mix of funny, action hero, guy with six pack that is in the Marvel movie out of obligation, and heart for the film. And he does the comedy impossible: he's a funny straight man.
Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista are great as Gamora and Drax respectively, creating dynamic characters where they could have easily just phoned in it, get paid, and go home. Saldana is especially awesome during the combat scenes she gets, which thank goodness, are often. I've always thought JJ Abrams was missing out by letting everyone but Uhura, Saldana's other big sci-fi role, kick some butt in the Star Trek movies.
Man, I won't even get into Bradley Cooper as Rocket and Vin Diesel as Groot. The latter of which pulls another Iron Giant, saying few words and stealing the entire movie.
Anyway, just go see it. Treat yo self.
You didn't think I wasn't gonna make a Parks and Rec joke right?

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