I only went to see Guardians of the Galaxy tonight because KC and a friend wanted to go, and I figured it was now or never — wait too long to see a big picture (which means longer than opening weekend these days), and too much will be spoiled. (No spoilers here.)
I’m really glad I went. Although I wasn’t interested in the characters or premise going in, I enjoyed the movie a lot, and I had a good time. Lots of action, as expected (not always easy to follow the details in 3-D). There was also a lot of humor, which is always a plus, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), which I expected to find tiresome. Not so, because they gave him some useful (and incredibly plot-convenient) skills.
You’ve probably heard already — or guessed — about the plot, which isn’t the point. A gang of misfits, including the Earth-born Peter Quill, who calls himself Starlord, team up to stop a bad guy, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), from causing planet-wide destruction. (Why? I’m not sure, actually — apparently, he’s just full of hate.) The Guardians include the green-skinned tough fighter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the vengeful Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista, not barista), and the walking tree Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), who is surprisingly helpful (and plot-convenient). I mention that again because you’ve got to be willing to go along with various events that are almost magic because the characters need them to happen to survive. Also, a good amount of the plot is predictable and formulaic because that’s the given structure, and originality is not the point, a fun ride is.
I must praise Chris Pratt (who plays Quill) highly. I think he was a great casting choice, since as a comedian, he can say the most outrageous things about himself with a straight face, which helps put over the bizarre egotism of the character. What do you expect from someone raised by space rednecks? (Their leaders are Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn, whom I remember from Gilmore Girls, but who is also the brother of director/co-writer James Gunn.)
Some side notes: The first planet visited, Morag, tickled me, because I was almost named Morag. Instead, it was the name of the first family dog.
In case you were wondering, Stan Lee does make a cameo.
Great soundtrack of 70s pop hits, but that’s explained in-story. And it features on the poster they gave out, shown here held by KC.
I’m not sure the movie passes the Bechdel Test. There are several named female roles, but most of the movie’s characters are guys, and the women are usually alone in a scene. The two that interact most are Gamora and her adopted sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but whenever they do, they’re yelling at each other over who dad (Thanos) likes best or whether one or both should betray Ronan, whom they were given to. On her own, Gillan is not given much to do, although she gets too many closeups. When the film wants to emphasize something, it usually cuts to her, staring out from under her brow with a cocked head. It’s an overused device.
Best after-credits scene ever! It doesn’t lead into another Marvel movie, as they usually do, but it’s a perfect tie-together of two disparate elements and left the audience howling.
Even with the caveats above, I would see the movie again. That’s the benefit of low expectations — it’s easy to surpass them. I enjoyed the ride, and it felt shorter than its two hours.