J A Garrett

Curiously nerdy posts.

Guardians of the Galaxy: You will care about a talking raccoon and tree creature.

I’m back!

Sorry I’m so bad at this sometimes. I’ve just had an insanely busy month at work, and mostly rely on downtime at my desk to write in here. This the first day in quite a while I’ve had the chance.

And it’s a good thing too, because it’s the perfect chance to write about some of the most fun I’ve had in a theater for some time. (Many book reviews are forthcoming, though, if you like reading me for that sort of thing more)

What movie am I talking about? Guardians of the Galaxy, of course.

I’m pretty notorious about liking comic books. But I have to say, the source material for this particular movie was a bit over my head. I was mostly hyped for it because a) it looked like a superhero movie that wasn’t going to take itself too seriously, and b) it was a Marvel studios movie. Even the bad ones are worth at least a watch. Also, I really like Chris Pratt, formerly best known for playing Andy on Parks and Recreation. I had code named this movie as Bert Macklin: The movie to my wife for some time before it even came out.

To be fair, that title would still work well with this poster.

But even beyond that, I love crazy space operas. And this movie looked every bit of that. Did I get what I wanted?

Yes. Oh boy, did I ever.

 

What I liked:

It was really hard to recognize some of the bigger stars involved in the movie. I have, generally, a pretty good memory on most things. It’s gotten to the point where my wife told me she imagines my thought process to be much like the “mind palace” technique in BBC’s Sherlock. Well, I’m not THAT good.

But when it comes to faces and voices, well, I actually am almost that good. As a result, I always appreciate it when a movie fools me into not recognizing an actor or actress. This movie did it multiple times. That bald blue daughter of Thanos that looks a lot like an Asari from Mass Effect? Karen Gillian, aka Amy Pond from Doctor Who. Rocket Raccoon? Bradley Cooper, aka the handsome guy from The Hangover movies. I recognized Dave Batista right away, but that’s only because pro wrestling is one of my lifelong guilty pleasures.

I’m not sure if it’s because their acting/makeup, or because I was just enjoying the movie too much, but either way, I was impressed by them fooling my eye for useless knowledge.

 

The scale of this movie. Despite this movie being a Marvel movie, it only really has two connections to the rest of the Marvel movies: the Kree (aka the guys that got owned in The Avengers), and Thanos (The guy that, if portrayed accurately, will one day own The Avengers himself)

It completely ignores Earth, outside of Starlord’s references that cater specifically to my age group and demographic.* Instead it takes you waaaaay outside of the Solar System, to show you that Earth is really just a tiny, insignificant speck on the Universe as a whole. Marvel comics has a very rich history of celestial, godlike beings that battle each other on a literal cosmic scale, despite having petty flaws as much as human beings. It’s like Greek Mythology for the neckbeard era. I used to think bringing this part of comic books to something as mainstream as movies would be impossible. Guess I was wrong!

*Not going to lie, I greatly enjoyed the 80s movie references, among others.

Now if we get to see characters like the Living Tribunal, or maybe just Galactus, that’d be rad.

The humor. The stakes were tremendous (the main bad guy wants to destroy a planet, Death Star style, after all), and the drama was good. But somehow, this movie never forgot that it was a space opera that shouldn’t take itself too seriously. I’m glad that the makers realized that you can only be so serious with a talking raccoon as a major character, well done as he was. I especially loved Drax The Destroyer. With a name like that, it was actually pretty disappointing that he didn’t really destroy much. But his character gimmick of taking everything spoken as literal was so fun for the writers to play with, and it showed. This movie doesn’t go but for a few minutes between good jokes. It helped make it fun. It felt like a throwback to another era. Not to sound old or anything, but it’s a pet peeve of mine that everything has to be EPIC~! these days. This movie did epic and sort of campy at the same time. It embraced it. And it was glorious.

Thanos. Just… Thanos. A lot of people who don’t care about the comics much, and just enjoy the movies based on comics don’t really realize what an introduction they just had by watching this movie. Thanos is one of the baddest men in the Marvel Universe. When he shows up, people die, and gods panic. My wife was like “He’s blue, and has a huge jaw.” I replied with “He’s as strong as the Hulk, and smarter than Doctor Doom.” And that was probably underselling him a bit.

You’d look smug too if you had a hovering chair.

Sure, he did nothing but sit in a chair and talk down to the villain of this movie. But it should say something that the villain, Ronan, was talking angrily to him about destroying a planet and billions of people, and Thanos just sort of looked amused, like he wasn’t a threat in the slightest. He’s being done right already. Looking forward to when he probably shows up in The Avengers 3. With the Infinity Gauntlet.

What I didn’t like:

Ronan. Awesome face paint aside, the villain of this movie was an afterthought to the main plot of keeping the macguffin in the right hands. Which kind of caught me off guard, considering that he almost actually won, and was clearly tough enough to beat anyone short of Thanos. The last scene made me laugh, like everyone else, but everything else about his character told me that he really would have just vaporized our heroes, and moved on to victory, instead of being so easily distracted. Odd thing, really. From further research, the comics version of this character isn’t really a villain at all. Just odd treatment for a villain.

Why does the token female always have to be the boring one? Gamora, aka the green woman in the group, is actually pretty tough in the comics. Tough like using nerve strikes to stun out just about anyone, including the Thing, who is literally made of moving stone:

She didn’t do anything close to this in the movie. Sad.

But in this movie, she was just the token female with the moral compass of the group, with almost no memorable lines. I don’t know why the female character almost always gets this treatment, but it’s turning into a trope at this point for me. I guess somebody had to be that way, but it’s just annoying seeing a pattern like this. And people wonder why some ladies don’t like comics. All they get are boring vanilla characters, or female versions of established characters. Oh well.

 

But regardless, those are minor quibbles. This movie is an easy ***** selection in my book. I go to a lot of movies (I like going to the theater. I know it’s kind of pricey, but I love it. Even if it’s to see a bad movie), and this is the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I might even go see it again this weekend, over Michael Bay’s TMNT.

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