Happy New Comic Book Day everyone! What better way to celebrate new comics coming out today than posting a review of the latest comic book adaptation to hit theatres? Nothing. Last Thursday, Guardians of the Galaxy, which I’ll henceforth refer to as “Guardians“, premiered to amazing numbers and continued to do very well during the weekend. Of course I went on opening night, saw it again on Saturday in IMAX and also planning on seeing it for a third and maybe fourth time. You’ve probably guessed by now that I freakin’ loved the heck out of it, so it’s going to be super hard to be critical since I have stars in my eyes (Get it? Stars? Galaxy? I’m hilarious). Instead, I’ll just list all the reasons for its awesome-ness and you can either agree with me and we can be instant best friends, or disagree and I will cut you, but no, really, some people didn’t like it and I totally respect that. Just know that you suck the fun out of everything and you’re dead to me. Joking. Alright, let’s get on with it (SPOILERS, DUH):
Pure, unadulterated fun with a capital “F”
There’s no denying this is Marvel’s most fun movie yet. The tone of their cinematic universe has always been lighter, sillier and generally funnier than that of DC Comics, but they definitely kicked it up a notch with this one. I have seen every superhero/comic book movie since the first X-Men in theatres, almost always on opening night, and until Guardians, I have never seen an audience so enthralled and entertained. Everyone, from my boyfriend who’s obsessed with comics to my friend who’s not really into the genre, were laughing their heads off. And it’s not just the jokes, but the music, the cinematography, the editing, the story, the execution, they all contributed to the general merriment. You know those movies where you can tell that everyone involved just had a ton of fun making them and it shines through in the final product, like The Cornetto Trilogy? Add this one to the list.
Solid plot, fantastic world-building & the best special effects
Now I’m sorry if I get some things wrong or if I like something they did in the film that deviated from the comics since I have not read the series at all. If you’re interested in reading about the characters as they appear in the books, this is a good place to start. So based purely on the movie and without prior knowledge, can I just say that the world they built rocked? I was hooked (on a feeling) from the emotional opening scene on Earth and sucked right in alongside Peter Quill for the rest of the ride. I loved how they introduced each character. I liked all the different alien races, from their backstories to their motivations. Sure, some characters were underused, like Nebula (AMY!) and Nova Prime, but I’m hoping they get more screen time in the sequel. My only real gripe was, just like in most Marvel movies, the villain, in this case Ronan the Accuser, wasn’t fleshed out enough. I think DC has a better rogues gallery. All of the fight scenes were cool. Even though it ultimately didn’t work, the barrier formed by the Nova Corps was still thrilling to watch. So was Yondu’s yaka arrow. Thanos looked badass on his throne. The “Infinity Gauntlet” storyline is being set up nicely. Watching it in IMAX for the 2nd time was definitely worth it. There are some wide shots of planet surfaces and various spacescapes that were gorgeous.
Starting right now I’m just going to sing the praises of the main cast and the Guardians they played. Feel free to skip the characters you didn’t like.
Can Zoe Saldana & Chris Pratt star in everything?
I love their portrayal of Star-Lord and Gamora. I’m not sure how different they are in the comics, but they kicked ass in the movie. Chris Pratt shows he has leading man potential and sweet dance moves. They definitely spent more time on his backstory but I think it’s mostly because he’s part human, therefore supposed to be our connection to the world. I was reading a review that points out Gamora, not Star-Lord, as the real leader/hero. And yet another one that said she was a damsel-in-distress. While I understand both points, I’m more inclined to agree with the former. Gamora is definitely a warrior. She orchestrated the meeting with The Collector. She didn’t fall for Peter’s charms. They didn’t kiss at all. And fine, she did require saving but only after she chose to sacrifice herself to try and save the orb. She was the moral compass of the entire group. Plus, she reached out to Peter and shared the burden of the Infinity Stone first. As for that ending scene where she tells Peter that they’ll follow his lead, I don’t really see it as her being weaker or inferior. I see their dynamic as similar to Captain Kirk and Spock. Spock is arguably more powerful than Kirk but Spock lets Kirk rally the troops because he’s better at it. He has more charm and charisma, like Quill. I’m very excited to see how their relationship develops.
A duo as lovable as C-3PO & R2-D2
That may be a very bold comparison, but the last time I fell hard for a duo like Rocket and Groot was when I first watched A New Hope. And indeed, Guardians was heavily inspired by the saga, even more so than other movies, and has been called by many as this generation’s Star Wars. Kinda weird since a new one is about to come out so wouldn’t that be this generation’s Star Wars but I digress. Rocket and Groot are similar to our favourite robots but they definitely deserve to stand on their own thanks to the amazing CGI as well as the incredible voice acting of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Their relationship was so fun to watch. Weirdly enough, the CGI characters turn out to be the heart and soul of the group. Shut up, I didn’t tear up during the “We are Groot” moment. I had something in my contacts! Can we get a spin-off of their adventures, please? Oh and I need this in my life!
Dave Bautista’s comedic timing
A pro wrestler should be able to act to a certain degree but I had no idea just how good Batista was. I was a WWE fan back in the day and he was one of my favorites. However one of my concerns when he was cast was that he couldn’t keep up with Pratt’s comedic chops or Zaldana’s acting abilities, but he was very impressive and even stole a couple of scenes, like the “I wasn’t listening, I was thinking of something else” line. Way to go Drax the Destroyer!
Did I mention that I’ve been listening to the entire soundtrack at least once a day since I’ve seen it? The songs chosen fit the theme perfectly. And they’re super catchy. I don’t think I can listen to any of these songs from now on without associating them to Guardians. It’s classic and nostalgic. Plus it introduces kids to gems from the 70s and 80s that they probably wouldn’t discover otherwise.
That after-credits scene
Buzzfeed has conveniently put together a handy article covering pretty much everything you need to know about the obligatory Marvel stinger. I for one loved it. It was shocking. It was confusing. It pays tribute to the creators. It pretty much confirmed to the world that Marvel can do whatever the hell it wants to. And it’s the equivalent of a giant middle finger to DC, who seems so embarrassed by its source material that it’s constantly thinking of excuses to not to make a movie rather than proudly showcasing their wonderful characters. Hera forbid that Wonder Woman gets her own solo movie for her on-screen debut and not two scenes in the Man of Steel sequel. Ok, maybe it’ll be more than two. I’ll wait for it to come out before complaining. Conclusion: Marvel rules, DC drools, for now… Hoping Guardians will act as yet another wake-up call for them to get their act together. My ultimate dream would be for DC to make a Secret Six movie. Never heard of them? You’re missing out.
My unabashed, extremely biased review for Guardians ends here. Watch the movie if you haven’t already; read the comics if you have; and go do something good, something bad, a bit of both!