Sunday, August 3, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel's Risk Paying Off
Guardians is a fairly unknown story to those outside of the comic book stores (myself included), but Marvel and director James Gunn create an instantly likable world. It feels like you've known these characters for years, and you root for them with as much passion as you would Iron Man or Thor. Our Guardians are a rag tag group of characters that come together (through their own reasons and motivations) to stop a ferocious villain, Ronan (Lee Pace), who has gotten his hands on a world-destroying orb and has a big-ass war hammer. Peter Quill aka Star Lord (a funny and lovable Chris Pratt) is our main hero, hunting for rare space booty like a futuristic Indiana Jones. Because of certain events, he's paired with the green-skinned Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a Raccoon and Tree duo named Rocket and Groot (the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel), and a muscled freak named Drax (portrayed by WWE wrestler Dave Bautista). The humor and interplay between the un-trusting character is the key to Guardians' success. Bautista, in particular, shines, switching between violence and humor like a pro.
Like many of these comic-book films, the plot deals primarily with the recovery of a world-destroying device containing a God-like power that every single character wants for different reasons (money, power, etc.) There are a couple dozen bit players (most notably Michael Rooker, who portrays Yondu Udonta, a blue bandit with a fun and dangerous weapon), and since the plot jumps around different alien cultures and worlds, it may seem like you could get confused. But if you focus on the fun, Guardians of the Galaxy becomes quite lovable, like a mischievous puppy that's cute and fun but occasionally does something to annoy you.
I went to Guardians of the Galaxy at the midnight showing on Thursday (which actually played at 7:15pm). It wasn't the best decision: the crowd contained a couple of guys (probably die-hard fans of the comics) that laughed loudly and uproariously at every single joke or half joke in the entire film. Sometimes you couldn't even hear the next line. This was extremely aggravating. So it's a testament to Guardians of the Galaxy that I still found it a funny and entertaining time. It's enough of a hit to be the start of another worthwhile franchise, and I think the second film--building on the humor-filled space opera of the first film--could reach another level of greatness in a Galaxy far, far away. (B+)