Since everyone in the universe has already seen Guardians of the Galaxy, I figure I would throw my two cents in. After all, I saw it over a week ago now, and I still haven't joined the masses on the subject. Besides, I had nothing else to blog about today.
Is "Bat-shit insane" two words or three?
From an opening credit that has our lead dancing through an abandoned Temple of Doom set singing along to 80s music while kicking away vicious rats with an attitude problem, all the way to a climactic standoff with a bad guy that even had the bad guy going "What are you doing?" this was a roller coaster of demented from start to finish. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I hear Moulin Rouge won a few academy awards for their purely warped film.
Let's look at our roster of strangeness, even though that was one of the few things the credits conveyed in their The Usual Suspects-style commercials.
Peter "Starlord" Quill (Chris Pratt) was an alien abductee who was pretty much adopted by the abductors known as the Ravagers, almost immediately after his mother died of cancer ... well, that's timing. In the comics, the abductors murdered his mother during the course of his kidnapping, but they needed the Ravagers in the movie to be cavalry-ish, so they couldn't be too evil. In fact, considering that the Ravagers all have Southern accents, it almost felt like it was Duck Dynasty to the rescue. Sort of. It's a long, strange story.
When the film opens, Quill has decided to betray the Ravagers by getting to the McGuffin device before the Ravagers can.
Gamora sees the McGuffin device as her way far, far away from Thanos, who has earned his title of "The Mad Titan." So she's after Quill.
The .... let's call them Mercenaries ... Rocket Raccoon and Groot (walking tree) spot Quill when he goes to cash in on the McGuffin, and sees that the Ravagers have posted a bounty on his head.
When the four of them get together, the ensuing chase / fight is actually very well done. It goes back and forth like a tennis match gone awry. It's everybody versus everybody else, and it's like trying to get leverage on Gumbi.
Then the police arrive and throw everyone in the prison from Face / Off. No, I'm not kidding. It feels like they even took the set.
In jail, they run into Drax the Destroyer. Drax's entire family was murdered by Ronan, and Gamora was working for Ronan. This will not end well. Quill talks Drax down by suggesting that Gamora be used as bait.
If I say that there's a breakout, will anyone see that as a spoiler?
Anyway. Our five-some takes the McGuffin to Gamora's fence, known as the Collector (post-credits on Thor: The Dark World), who explains that the McGuffin is one of the Infinity Gems. Previous Infinity Gems include the Tesseract / Cosmic Cube from Captain America and The Avengers, the Aether from Thor 2, and probably the gem at the end of the spear of fate (The Avengers). This is #4. There are six of them scattered throughout the galaxy. Any one of them individually can wreak havoc.
But Ronan wants the gem, and our protagonists have it. Hilarity ensues.
I must compliment James Gunn for introducing the insanity that is the Marvel cosmic universe to a mainstream audience. Let's face it, it's a big job. He has to set up five characters, set up the universe, all the while telling a story that will explain the endgame of the Marvel franchise. Yes, endgame. Trust me, Thanos is going to be the bad guy for The Avengers Three, probably subtitled The Infinity War. While strange, GotG is going to be necessary for the final product of the overall story arc.
|Ronan, in the comics|
Anyway, what else? I suspect there are deleted scenes from the film. Mainly because they hired Karen Gillan of Doctor Who, and barely used her. Gillan plays Nebula, another daughter of Thanos. I expected a knockdown dragout with Gamora, but their battle felt truncated, and I suspect that there's stuff that ended on the cutting room floor.In fact, Nebula seems to only be there so she shows up in Avengers 3 (see above). Also, I wanted some more explanation here and there. For example .... who hired the Ravagers in the first place to find the McGuffin? There's a fence who hired them, yes, but who was it going to? We never knew.
But, overall, James Gunn had to put together the Avengers in space, with none of the backstory, previous movies, or large established fan base, and he did a fantastic job of it in less time than the Avengers did. I've only seen it once, so I may have to watch it a few more times before I decide whether or not there's anything beneath the strange.
But it's a summer movie. Yes, it's not as intellectually deep as Captain America, but there are more moving parts, and probably more going on in the background. Also, it's very meta. It makes fun of itself, using standard movie tropes, then poking fun at it. For example, that scene when they decide that yes, we're going to make a stand against the bad guys! Yes, we're going to go out fighting! I'm going to stand with you! (Then literally stand). Then they poke fun at that as they're doing it.
Also -- George Lucas, your special effects suck. You writing sucks. Your directing sucks. Why? BECAUSE YOU GOT OWNED BY A RACCOON. THAT'S WHY.
Yes, time for the acting critique.
Peter Quill was ... well, if Mal Reynolds had a personality, he'd probably be Peter Quill. Or Nathan Fillion.
Zoe Saldana didn't have a great acting range in this film, but then again, she doesn't need it on her resume, she held Columbiana together with both hands.
However, her stunt fighting was fun. Don't mess with Uhura in the next Star Trek film.
The surprise performance in this one was actually from Dave Bautista as Drax. Drax had emotional depth, the best one-liners in the film, and was a deeply, deeply damaged fellow.
This is more acting in one film than Mr. Bautista was allowed in all his years in wrestling. (Yes, I sort of follow wrestling. And it's only "fake" if you plan to hit someone with a metal chair "just so," in such a way as you're not making them a rutabaga.)
In short, I liked it.