Friday, August 15, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Review

Chris Pratt will never not be adorable. That's probably the best reason Guardians of the Galaxy works so well. And I guarantee someone who sits behind a big mahogany* desk realized that, deciding to cast him in what would become likely the best movie of the summer. Sure the film has a bit of a head start, what with the movies that came out earlier cluttering that part of the brain reserved for long term memories. The only real contender against it would be its bookended Marvel counterpart Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but that came out in April so it doesn't count. Shut up, that's why.

Peter Quill gets abducted by aliens. Instead of the usual gastro-intestinal adventures one might expect, they give him the low-down on interstellar junk scrapping (amongst other illicit ventures) leading to an adulthood of retained adolescence and references to 80s pop-culture (I'm surprised he doesn't go around wearing one sparkling glove). On his latest venture into the ruins of a dead planet, he finds an artifact that plants him square in the middle of a long-festering blood feud between two worlds; that of Xandor, and Kree. Quill's interjection puts him in the sights of the green skinned assassin Gamorah, bounty hunter Rocket (a talking, bipedal raccoon) and his partner Groot, and Drax the Destroyer. Along the way a whole bunch of plot happens which does a much better job at explaining just who these guys are and where they all intend to go, because trying to put it all into a sentence or two just wouldn't cut it. The bad guy's name is Ronan the Accuser (he's blue), his partner is Nebula (also blue), and the big guy in gold armor on the space throne is Thanos (he's purple, and also was briefly shown in the teaser clip after The Avengers).

Guardians' best attribute, the amount of uncharted universe it gets to explore, is also its biggest problem, with the potential always there to collapse under the weight like some malnourished Atlas. Like Inception, it doesn't take a lot of brainpower to follow along unlike what some critics, friends, or Grandmas will have you believe. But if you happen to stand up at the forty five minute mark to go to the bathroom then you might have some trouble catching up when you get back. A sizeable amount of this movie is devoted to just explaining the mechanics of the wherever they happen to be standing at the time. However, if you let yourself get immersed in it, the film can be just as friendly as it could be intimidating.

Ensemble movies never seem to have enough time to flesh out the characters. While this movie doesn't exactly break the trope, everyone's at least color coded (species coded?) that it's easy to differentiate motivations between the guy who takes everything literally and the aforementioned bipedal raccoon. Despite only having three words to his vocabulary, your favorite character will be Groot, the talking tree man. Every character gets their own arc of being a selfish twit, to being... well they're still selfish twits but less so towards each other. After all, these aren't Heroes of the Galaxy, they're the Guardians; a role they are still more than a little reluctant to take on.     

This is a Marvel movie in the best way. Fun characters, amazing visuals, a very rich universe to explore, an engaging story to follow, and unlike all the non-Whedon installments there is a ton of comedy. With a running time of barely over two hours it doesn't overstay its welcome, and keeps you entertained all the way through. I highly recommend you check this movie out if you haven't already.

Wait, we can't all be here to kick ass and chew bubble gum!

*That's a fun word. Say it. Come oooooon. Mahogany. Mahooooogany.  

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