The film opens in 1988 and the story holds onto that aesthetic despite jumping to present day thanks in large part to the FANTASTIC soundtrack featuring killer classic rock & pop cuts from the 60's and 70's. In addition, each actor fits their role to a 'T' and you can't even say any particular character steals the show because they all get their moments in the spotlight over the course of the film. Peppered in are great homages to pop culture, the actors' past careers, and cameos from other Marvel characters (STAY AFTER THE CREDITS) that are rewarding the first time, let alone the next two times you see it. Top it off with some scenes with Thanos - FINALLY - and we see an excellent step immersing us further into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If for some reason you wasted your movie budget on TMNT this weekend, do yourself a favor and borrow some/sell a kidney/ open a lemonade stand - do whatever it takes to catch this movie in theaters.
There were references in some places that were funny, but in others it seemed a bit forced. It was like B-movie Avengers-in-Space with plucky, dated references to keep things fun and light, and more importantly to appeal to a wider range of people who don’t know anything about comics. It reminded me a lot of what the Star Trek reboot did in that it tried to broaden the audience—which there is absolutely nothing wrong with at all—but for many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was a little tedious at times. It felt a little bit like it was that kid in elementary school who had a crush on you, so he would sit next to you all the time and maybe give you his Pringles at lunch and let you copy his math homework. Sure, you enjoyed the attention and benefits, and of course the Pringles, but in the end he doesn’t stack up to your real crush, the Avengers.
I admit maybe my judgment is a little premature, as the movie is clearly building to a larger empire, so to speak, with sequels and maybe a tie-in with the Avengers in the future. I am definitely glad that they are expanding out of the Avengers universe and trying out a genre that fits the more “traditional” sci-fi bill. It’s a nice filler movie to get people by before Avengers 2, and while I wouldn’t mind seeing it again in theatres, I’m not going to run out immediately and add it to my Marvel movie collection.
Over time though, I noticed my critical impulses weren’t flaring up as much as they were at the first act. I was getting huge smiles from “pelvic sorcery” and Drax’s “reflexes.” Now that the need for exposition was pretty much out of the way, the characters had room to breathe and be themselves, and I was finding they were actually quite charming, endearing, and lovable. By the time the climax was in full gear I was choking up at the heavy stuff and feeling elated at the Guardians’ moments of triumph. It happened gradually, but I was sold. I was fully invested in these characters and sneakily transported into their world.
I was always confident that James Gunn would bring a distinct voice to the Marvel universe. Granted, his sense of humor is streamlined a bit for the PG-13 rating, but there are enough weird little quirks like Rocket’s burning desire to steal other people’s prosthetic limbs and Groot’s uh…expression… after brutally thrashing a bunch of evil foot soldiers to make the film distinctly his. It’s these little quirks, distinct in each Guardian, that make them such endearing characters (except maybe for Gamora, who never really ventures too far from her hard-edged stoicism and doesn’t have much of an arc). The colorful costumes and environments always popped right out at me and kept me looking forward to seeing what the film had in store for the next scene.
All in all though, Guardians of the Galaxy is a great time and a great cinematic adventure. And if I were a betting man, I’d say your music library had a few more 70’s classics on it pretty soon after you walked out of the theater. Mine sure did.
I was in the pro-Guardians camp from the get-go. I’d never even heard of the comic books, but Starlord and company had me hooked from the first trailer I watched. It looked goofy and self-aware in a way I hadn’t seen since The Fifth Element, one of my all-time favorite movies. It is possible that I hyped myself up a bit too much for Guardians of the Galaxy, but when I finally sat down in that theatre I was not disappointed. It was just as fun, action-packed, and heartfelt as I was expecting, though there were still plenty of surprises.
Since I’m sure my fellow contributors are going to give you the run-down on plot, action, character, and visuals, I’m going to get nitpicky. You’ve been warned.
Since I’ve never read the Guardians of the Galaxy comics and my knowledge of the Marvel universe beyond Earth is limited, I don’t know if the pink aliens that appear in the movie exist in the comics, but I really don’t understand why the species appeared to have only one sex, but had a reproductive system that is compatible with humans (see Corpsman Day’s family at the end of the movie). I’m also not sure why they didn’t show any female Kree. It’s almost as if pink is only for girls and blue is only for boys…
I also didn’t like that Drax called Gamora a whore even though a) he was trying to express his feelings of friendship toward her (albeit clumsily), not hurt her feelings, and b) she has never engaged in any kind of sexual acts in the time that Drax has known her, much less for money. It was unnecessary and crass (not to mention pretty damn sexist in a movie that otherwise treats its female characters pretty well). On that note, I did greatly appreciate the lack of a shoehorned romantic sub-plot.
As these are my only real complaints, I think it’s safe to say that I would recommend Guardians of the Galaxy to anyone who likes science fiction, fun soundtracks, and/or adorable raccoon/tree duos.
Despite Guardians of the Galaxy being tied within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is still very much its own independent, living, and breathing universe that doesn’t need to be supported by the already-popular movies with Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, and all our other favorites. In fact, I can almost guarantee you’ll pick up a new handful of favorite characters.
Speaking of which, they all feel real. Even with a mix of practical makeup and CGI-work for different characters, they all seem as though they’d really keep existing beyond the movie. They have their own motivations, feelings, and realness that you can feel: they have their moments of being badasses, but also have moments of imperfection, and reveal their vulnerabilities in ways we don’t often see in superhero movies.
Between the moments of fist-pumping, laughing, and cheering, there are a few moments that will tease your eyes as a character reveals something about their past or has a moment of unexpected openness.
This is definitely a movie to see with a group! You will enjoy hearing everyone’s reactions, and have a good pool of people to talk about the movie with well after you’ve seen it (of course there’s always the wonderful writers for Fanpup, and other fans on Tumblr, if need be). So I highly recommend jumping on your preferred browser and finding the nearest theater and play time.
This is just one of the reasons why Rocket Raccoon is a better character than Superman. Superman has very little conflict and growth throughout Man of Steel; most of his conflict happens through flashbacks, and he spends most of the movie brooding through a drawn out existential crisis. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket uses confidence and intelligence to hide his insecurities and questioning of his own existence (see “I didn’t ask to be made!”), until it bubbles up in one drunken brawl. While Superman is an un-killable god with endless powers, Rocket is just a raccoon with very little to his name, meaning he has a lot to lose whenever he makes a gamble (like, to save the world).
Which is another point: Rocket is a reluctant hero if there ever was one. Superman had the whole reluctance thing going for him, but it felt more like the only thing holding him back was his own mind. Rocket could literally die fairly easily if he wasn’t careful, which turned him into a very cynical person. He put a lot on the line to save people he didn’t even know just so the only friends he ever had didn’t have to go it alone.
And that’s why I think a raccoon is better than Superman.