Review: James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Untitled-1When I first heard about one of the newest Marvel enterprises, Guardians of the Galaxy, my first thought was, “well, they’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel, aren’t they?”

Indeed, the film industry has been milking the comic book movie thing for a good long while now. The quality of such movies is a pretty mixed bag–sure you’ve got shining stars, the first Iron Man, The Avengers, Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight. But there’s more than enough duds as well, and overall, it’s becoming a little tiresome. Though obviously, it’s not going to end any time soon. And so I’ve resigned myself to accept these comic book films as they come, just hoping that some genuinely good pictures will come out.

And no–when shown Guardians of the Galaxy spots and trailers, the only thing positive I could really say about it was, “Well, I really love Chris Pratt.” Other than that–I’d never heard of Guardians in the first place and it really seemed like some sort of cash grabby thing.

Yet as the days got closer and closer to this August 1st release, I felt something bubbling inside me. What could it be? Hype? Impossible. Ever since The Dark Knight Rises partially left me wanting more, my hype for comic book films had pretty much died. Yet this emotion was brewing, inexplicably. Again, I’d never heard of the comic for Guardians of the Galaxy, and the trailers and posters made it look like a rather bizarre choice for a mainstream Marvel film. But I couldn’t quell the insatiable interest that was growing within me. As I watched the catchy, charming trailer… I found myself rethinking my original opinion.

Eventually it all led to yesterday. Sitting in my room in Los Angeles, looking at my almost-empty bank account, and making the executive decision to spend my last few dollars on a movie ticket for Guardians at the cineramadome. And, quite honestly, I will never regret spending those sixteen dollars plus-three-for-parking.

Guardians of the Galaxy was utterly charming, hilarious, and indeed, one of the most (dare I say it) meta superhero flicks I’ve seen. Chock full of winks and nods to the audience about the ridiculousness of the situation, it’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And god do I respect it for that, my main issue with Iron Man 3 was that it took itself far too seriously. But Guardians of the Galaxy knows what it is, and that’s just honest to god summer fun. Which, I think, between all the gritty reboots, is something much-needed.

The universe they create is stunning, with cinematographic moments that truly look like you’re flipping through a comic book. I haven’t really seen moments like that outside of Sin City, but Guardians catches the whole comic book feel perfectly. The title sequence alone is a wonder. The performances and chemistry are perfect. The whole gang is swell, Pratt and Saldana and Batista, with voice work from Bradley Cooper and (a very limited) Vin Diesel.

The plot line obviously sort of falls into cliches–the Five Man Band has to get the MacGuffin to Save The Entire Universe but the script regularly hangs the lampshade on this which makes the whole thing all the more enjoyable. Again, it can get meta–which is another recent trend, but one I can get behind wholeheartedly.

So, if you’re looking for your summer popcorn movie, look no further. Guardians is nothing short of never ending fun, and I shamelessly can’t wait for the sequel.

Also it’s really fun to see Chris Pratt doing flips and kicks and bad ass shit in general when you remember he’s this nerd.

And the after-credits scene is most definitely the best one in Marvel history.

 

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