Not long ago I walked out of X-Men: Days of Future Past satisfied. The introduction of Quicksilver, the returning leads of ‘First Class,’ and Wolverine’s well toned glutes made the movie enjoyable. However, that was before I saw the latest Marvel feature. The Guardians of the Galaxy helped me realize how many missteps Marvel has made over the years. The Avengers from 2012 was very enjoyable. But when you compare it to Guardians, Avengers suddenly is filled with flopping plot devices and useless characters. The bar has been raised.
This is usually where I heap all praise behind the writer/director. Well, I’ll do that too, but my first thought is on Chris Pratt. Yes, everyone’s favorite goofy character from Parks and Recreation is now a movie star. It is official. He has excelled in small roles in great movies, he has been the best part of bad movies, and by the end of the year he may have been the lead in the two top grossing films of the year (don’t forget he was the plastic lead in The Lego Movie). He brings his humor to every role, but what is so impressive is that he can bring sympathy as well. We will continue to see great things from ‘Andy’ assuming he is not contractually obligated to make Guardians movies and Marvel spin-offs for the next two decades without a break.
Alright, enough talk of actors! James Gunn deserves great acclaim for creating a strong, funny, and emotionally sound film. I cared during the fight scenes and I laughed throughout. Gunn’s dialog is sharp and effective, even when not used for a laugh. Maybe the most impressive aspect of this film was the editing. Gunn and the editors did a great job maintaining the pace of the film. Nearly every scene advanced the plot or enriched the characters. There are few films I can say that about. The edits enabled Gunn to reduce the running time to a respectable 122 minutes.
There are many reasons why I love the film, but Guardians is a potentially perfect blockbuster, because it is a film for all ages. The kids will love Rocket and Groot, the baby boomers will love the music, and the generations in between have already embraced Chris Pratt. It has the action, it has the story, and it will have the box office revenue by the end of the summer.
Maybe another reason that I fell in love with this movie is because it provided well-crafted introductions to new characters and new worlds. The personalities, skills, and fighting abilities of Rocket and Groot left me enthralled. In addition, the characters have depth, this was highlighted when Rocket’s fears of being made fun of boil to the surface. Lastly, the technology and the locations in this galaxy featured small touches that were very effective. The level of detail within every weapon that somebody picked up helped add to my enjoyment of the film.
Fans of comic books may disagree, but the tone and style implemented by Guardians seems more appropriate for comic book films. These stories are often outlandish, why not fully embrace that and make the film an action/comedy? Many comic book films create sentimentality by trying to introduce serious themes that ring false. A lengthy and overt comparison between Loki and Hitler does not give your film more gravity. However, in Guardians, the free-spirited protagonists deliver pure entertainment.
While others may love to see their childhood superheroes back at it in a summer blockbuster, I appreciate the new team that showed me something that I hadn’t seen.