Let me be perfectly honest right up front, this may be my worst review of any film that I actually enjoyed. I think I could talk about it a lot better than type about it. (Stay tuned for a podcast I think) That being said…
I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with something to say about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the only thing I come up with, “It was fun!” That’s it, “It was fun!” It was really fun, but I have hard time putting a finger on exactly why. It was hardly anything we haven’t seen before. In fact, this is one of the most often told stories of action, fantasy, and science-fiction ever!
An unlikely group of characters unite under extreme circumstances to right the wrongs of a seemingly unstoppable villain. Akira Kurosawa told the story with ronin and swords in Seven Samurai, George Lucas with droids and a wookie in Star Wars, John Sayles & Roger Corman with Richard Thomas in flying fallopian tubes in Battle Beyond the Stars, and Marvel with a raccoon and a tree. Obviously it is a tried, true and popular formula.
Now, in this particular films defense, writer/director James Gunn and his team were stuck putting to film a story that had already been told in comic book form many years ago, so any comments or criticism to the reused story really can’t be laid at their feet.
So what does make GotG so much fun? I guess I’ll go with some of the cast on this one. Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana are supposed to lead the cast but they are both quickly over shadowed by just about everyone else in the film including an argumentative raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel voiced tree creature ‘Groot’. It is with a bit of irony that the two characters with the some of most dimension are the animated ones! (Well, I guess it is in 3D…)
A saving grace, going back to my earlier point, is that Rocket the raccoon does a great job at pointing out just how ridiculous some of the story is. He is always quick to roll the eyes or just come right and say exactly what the audience is thinking. When a character appears to be in on the fact that the situation is as corny as it gets, it somehow makes it all OK.
It is a comic book movie and revels in it! I feel silly for thinking there should have been more depth to the film. I guess since they quit making these movies for kids*, I just sort of expect a little more on a subconscious level. This is made for us “older kids”. I’m mostly fine with that.
Is it original? No. Does it look pretty? Sure. Does it make you smile, cheer, clap and laugh like a 10 year old? Oh, my word, YES!
[*If I can just add a little postscript to this, something that has been bugging me as I’ve watched many of the recent Marvel super-hero flicks. I’m somewhat annoyed by the fact that these super-hero movies, movies with characters that were originally created for children, are made in such a way that prevents many children from seeing them. I would like nothing better than to show my soon to be 10 year old something like GotG but can’t due to the fact that I really don’t want to take the chance of having him repeat lines like “You said it b•••ch, we’re the guardians of the galaxy!”. Worse I think is the two newer X-Men movies that think it is SO much fun to use the one f-bomb that their PG-13 rating allows. I am not a prude by any stretch, and I’m not ignorant to the fact that my kid may, or soon may, be using some of this language, but if you are going to market the toys to the kids, and air the movies commercials during other actual children’s shows, then maybe, MAYBE it should be something the kids could actually watch without making the parents having to question whether or not they want the potential call to the principals office to explain little Billy’s outburst. just sayin’.]