Geek Highs & Lows of 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ follows Peter Quill, from human boy of 80s earth, skipping to him being a grown-up man-boy captain of a spaceship working in deep source for a group of pirates seeking out treasures. Wow, I made that sound terrible, but that is the plot. Quill, on one such mission, comes across an artefact that a powerful tyrant is pursuing, and he is soon on the run from them his pirate boss and forced and into an unlikely alliance with a disparate group of individuals–most of whom were out to get him.

I’m hard to please when it comes to superhero movies and shows–I don’t like OTT undefeatable po-faced heroes in laughable costumes, yet I don’t like emo gritty strip downs. Not fussy at all. Technically you couldn’t consider many of the characters in this as superheroes, but it’s another offering from the Marvel universe and I haven’t really enjoyed many of their films. Too much ego and not enough character.

Marvel studios have given each super lhero their own series of films to establish their characters before pitching them together in ‘The Avengers’. Guardians, like ‘The Fantastic Four’, had to introduce its characters, a galaxy and it’s players in one hit. Most sci-fi and fantasy films do it, but for a light movie…?

It did it, and it did it well. All the characters, even some of the minor supporting characters had clear motives, had defining moments and I enjoyed my time with each of them. Much more than I can say about the Avenger crew–Black Widow, Hawkeye and Bruce Banner for example–where things are a bit more straight-laced, shallow and unengaging for it.

I’m a horror fan, and these tend to be my movie-trip films, and as horror is such an unreliable genre for quality, I’ve come to associate cinema trips with low expectations and usually disappointment. I’d seen the trailer for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and the humour drew me in straight away, so I was hopeful–dangerous–but I needn’t have worried as it was a riot. Well paced, exciting, fun, and heartfelt. I’m of a mind to say it’s a perfect movie of its genre.

My other half got it for Christmas and I wasn’t sure I was ready for a rewatch so soon as it was fresh in my memory. But, I watched it without distraction, and loved every minute of it. I think I could happily watch it again now I’m writing this.

The film got me in the opening minutes with Quill as a kid losing his mum. And it was a difficult loss, an angry loss, which I thought was a nice approach. I’ve become a much more emotional guy since we got cats 6 years ago, and I’m not ashamed to say that shows and movies get me in the emotions quite easily now. This film got me misty eyed at that moment then had me soaring with the sense of fun that runs through this movie and began in the very next scene with an adult Quill strutting his stuff to retro tunes on an an alien world. The contrast for me and the character was awesome.

The introduction of Gamora, Rocket and Groot was fun and action-packed, and throwing them into prison together was a great way to bring them together with Drax, making up the gang for the film.

This film achieves a camaraderie between these five so quickly, something I’ve not find in my genres of choice at the movies, and I might usually only expect after a long run of a series. It’s a bold, colourful movie, that could easily be frivolous but there is some spectacular imagery, distinctive design–Xandar’s cityscape and ships, the prison set & Knowhere– and real emotion in this film–Rocket’s drunken vulnerability, or Groot’s child-like openness, Drax’s grief driven need for revenge, and the sacrifice made near the close of the film. Rocket’s. Little. Face. At. THAT. Moment. Wounds. Me.

Gamora has the most involvement and personally at stake in the plot, but strangely she does feel a little underserved. Perhaps as she’s the most serious of the gang and there is little in the relationship with her where there should be a point of conflict in the film with them pitched against each other. Her sister is played by Karen Gillan of Doctor Who, and she played her really will and looked great. Hope she’s the main villain next time around.

I’ve heard people say that the villain of the piece, Ronan–who is set on claiming the artifact Quill has in his possession so that he can rule the galaxy as a god–is a bit of a one note character. He is, but he still poses a credible threat, and in a film populated with grey rogue characters maybe it needed a full on irredeemable bad guy. His character’s race could have been fleshed out a little more as I’m not quite sure what those husk-like goons were. The character I didn’t like was or first full reveal of Thanos. I’m not s comic book follower so I have no clues as to who or what he is, but he looks odd. Plus, and this is a kinda stupid thing to say, her seemed to be really comic book styled. Presumably due to the CGI. He didn’t seem to fit within the universe, but that’s me really nitpicking because that’s the only criticism I can level at this film. It was engaging and fun throughout, with surprisingly touching moments. I would say it could be the ‘Star Wars’ of its generation–but this generation is about to get it’s own ‘Star Wars’…

The biggest challenge this film has, is being a franchise and maintaining the quality of it’s first outing. Finger’s crossed.

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2 thoughts on “Geek Highs & Lows of 2014: Guardians of the Galaxy

  1. This show was such a charming surprise. My daughter watched out copy on a portable DVD player on the way down to visit my family for Xmas (we had all seen it in theaters.)

    Turns out my sister had not seen it, heard it was great, and obtained it for Xmas for the entire extended family to watch. My folks really enjoyed it as well.

    Then my daughter watched it again on the drive back home a few days later.

    If only I hadn’t had to drive…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That says a lot about this movie–that it has a wide appeal. I may have to try my mum on it–she’s hard to engage with stuff like this, but she might find it fun. Hope the next one is as good, I could really get behind this franchise.

      Like

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