Monday, September 8, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy – 121 min – PG13

This movie is based on a comic book that started in the sixties, then had a revival in 2008. I know this because I had to look it up. I never followed this title so going into this movie I was a blank slate. I enjoyed the ride this movie took me on. It was something that tied into the Marvel universe but it was like nothing I have seen before. It’s not my favorite film from Marvel Studios but it is good enough to make the top 5. I gladly give this movie a green light.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is a human from Earth who was abducted by aliens as a child. He was raised by raiders and has grown up to become Star Lord, a notorious thief, at least in his mind. He steals an orb that an evil warlord, Ronan (Lee Pace), wants for himself. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an assassin, is sent to retrieve the stone for Ronan. Before Peter has a chance to sell the stolen artifact he is attached by Rocket and Groot (Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel) a couple of bounty hunters. They all get arrested for causing a fight in the middle of the city. In prison, they meet Drax (Dave Bautista), a criminal who is seeking revenge on Ronan for the death of his daughter and wife.

This crew joins forces for financial reasons to start out with but as they work together they develop a relationship that builds the team. And thus the Guardians are born. Their friendship is tested as they try and unload the artifact and find out that it is really a weapon that can destroy worlds.
The most enjoyable part of this film is the pop culture references that completely baffle the aliens who Peter comes in contact with. Some of the colloquialisms that we don’t even think about would be completely alien to beings form a different planet.

A friend of mine said this reminds him of a live action Heavy Metal. I would agree, aside for a lack of sensuality it was a completely fitting the gritty science fiction setting that you would find in that magazine.

I did feel the length of the movie at times. It could have been tighter, but it’s easy to see why the filmmakers would have a hard time cutting things out. The story itself could be trimmed, but visually, each scene looks great. This is an origin story so we need to do some slogging through exposition and exploration of the characters. Now that’s done we can go straight to new story arc in the sequel that has been announced.

It will be interesting to see how they tie in this section of the universe with the heroes that we have already seen. There are a few items that cross over like the Tesseract and Thanos (Josh Brolin). Where we go from here is going to be spectacular. It is wonderful to see movies being made by people who are creative and know how to tell stories. This film is another example of the business model of studio heads just running a business and the creative people telling the stories.

Guardians of the Galaxy is this generation’s Star Wars. This is an epic space story that has heroic acts and exotic locations. It’s not the retelling of the hero’s journey but it has a lot of similarities to the themes and flavor.

James Gunn directed this film and his bawdy humor is watered down but still apparent. For Marvel films this one has the most questionable language of all of the films. It’s a fine line between just the right amount to give the environment depth and being offensive. He picked the right amount.

Like any Marvel movie you need to stay until the end. You will see an old face that we have not seen since he was managing Beverly Switzler’s band. Seth Green performed as this character in the end stringer and I am guessing that Marvel is going to try and pretend that the other film this character was in never happened.

One thing we do know for sure is there will be another movie and like everything else we are seeing from Marvel I know it’s going to be big.

What should Marvel do next?

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