Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review: “We are Groot…” and it’s not hard to see why.
I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy this past weekend, and it was awesome. I don’t use that bold text lightly. It wasn’t only a “feel-good hit of the summer”–it’s one of those movies you go out and buy when it comes out, leave it in the DVD player constantly, and make sure it’s on Netflix just in case your copy gets too scratched to use. There’s plenty of reasons why, but the first is because…
It knows what it is.
Guardians of the Galaxy is based on a 2008 reboot that lives by the motto, “Do it for the story.” It knew it was going to be compared to The Avengers, so it didn’t try to compete with it. In fact, the movie shatters the illusion of seriousness within the first ten minutes. You watch as Peter’s mom dies and he gets taken away by some mysterious space ship, only to show up 26 years later in the ruins of a metropolis infested with deadly monsters…and then Quill turns on his Walkman and starts dancing to “Come and Get Your Love.” The title is blasted across the screen, unannounced, in giant text as we watch the great Star-Lord jam on in the corner. This film pulls no punches.
The creators were very well aware that there was no way that Guardians could be as deep or serious as a comic that’s been running since the 60s, so they let be goofy instead. The heroes are constantly making fun of themselves, getting into decidedly unheroic situations, and act how you would expect them to act. There’s no inexplicable bravado that guys like Captain America and Superman are infamous for. The Guardians are amazingly skilled people with average (or below average) moralities just getting along in life. And as you would expect…
It’s funny–like, really, really funny.
I was laughing so much and so loudly during the film that I actually had to apologize to my husband for hurting his ears. The characters themselves are a recipe for comedy: we have a kid that gets abducted by aliens, a wise-cracking raccoon, a living tree-man, a juggernaut that can’t take a joke, and a single qualified warrior-woman who knows just how hopeless the rest of the group is. The writers played to each character’s strengths and weaknesses, and the actors made sure their timing was spot on (just look up some of the quotes to see what I’m talking about). Still, for all that comedy…
The film is meaty.
Lots of movies have hilarious but useless conversations that fill up time. You know exactly what I’m talking about: those Seinfeld-style tangents that work great for character development but don’t move the story along at all. Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t have that. The quips and banter actually came back by the end. All those seemingly off-handed comments were foreshadowing, building, referencing, rewarding people that were really paying attention.
It’s not just the quality of the dialogue, though. The Guardians had legitimately awful lives. Most of them watched as their families died or were murdered, some were painfully experimented on until they had super-powers, and they’re all exiled from their homes in one way or another. They’re broken, they’re lost, but they’ve risen above it, and the audience can feel that fighting-spirit in all of them. The makers also made sure to stuff the film with plenty of Easter Eggs that showed its roots. That combination of new and old, of tragic and silly, makes the story real–it gives the film a soul.
But because you can’t have the good without the bad…
For how fantastic the rest of the film was, the villain flatlines. It’s not because Ronan wasn’t intimidating. He’s super-powerful, he wants to wipe out planets, he has hordes of minions, he looks cool…but he just wasn’t interesting. His character wasn’t developed enough to care about him, and he has no conflict other than, “Why won’t you guys just let me destroy everything?” Thanos was leagues more intriguing than Ronin and he was on-screen for maybe five minutes tops.
Honestly, though, the creators might have let him be a bit boring because the Guardians themselves tiptoe that very fine-line between anti-hero and villain. Rocket is a bounty hounter, Gamora is an assassin, Star Lord is a scavenger, Drax is known as the Destroyer… They make up for Ronan’s spiceless character and add in that “rebellious” flavor.
“Fooled Around and Fell in Love”
I was really suspicious when I first found out about Guardians of the Galaxy. After all, I hadn’t heard about the comic, I hadn’t heard about the characters, and I didn’t know how a film with a talking tree as a major character could turn out well.
I know have a Groot bobblehead sitting at my computer.
The movie was amazing. This really is a situation where you should believe what everyone is saying about it. Do yourself a favor and spend a great couple of hours in a theater.
Because everybody should be able to fangirl…
Don’t forget to check out our Guardians of the Galaxy Halloween costumes and party supplies when you’re done. Trust me, that red-eyed mask is going to look a heck of a lot more tempting once you see the film.