I AM GROOT! This is my review of Guardians of the Galaxy!
A group of misfits turn themselves into the Guardians of the Galaxy as they are forced to unite to prevent bad guys from destroying the world. The team consists of space bandit Peter Quill a.k.a Star Lord (played by the now buffed-up Chris Pratt), green alien assassin Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), warrior alien Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista), tree-like humanoid Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and bounty hunter racoon Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper).
My friend described the Guardians as the C-team of Marvel, as most people have never even heard of GOTG until now. I hadn’t heard about GOTG until I saw the trailer. So introducing such characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be a risk, because they’re not as familiar as characters like Iron Man or Captain America: this film would either be a hit or a flop. What did people think? The reaction for this film was pretty much this: most people loved it, some people thought it was overrated, and everyone adored the soundtrack. As for me: it really succeeded as a blockbuster spectacle… and the soundtrack is indeed AMAZING!
The real success come from the Guardians themselves. Except for one character who I felt was pretty weak, these characters have great development, great interactions, and are extremely funny. The best aspect of the film is its humour: GOTG is HILARIOUS, and some of the funniest moments comes from the character interactions. While they can have serious conflicts and dark backstories, and their mission is to save the world from destruction, the film is mostly laid-back and fun, and these characters keep that tone consistent. Peter Quill a.k.a Star Lord was my second favourite character. You care about his backstory, though it was mostly his fun-loving personality, and how cool and funny he could be. He was like a perfect mix between Kirk and Han Solo, though during an interview Pratt described his character as a mix between Han Solo and Marty McFly, which I now see as well.
My favourite character was Rocket. He was funny, badass, and actually adorable. You forget that it’s Bradley Cooper playing the character, and the animation on the creature is done SO WELL that you really feel like he’s there. I was invested in him the most, as the emotions carried out in his character felt very real. There was Groot, who had a kind of Lenny and George relationship with Rocket. He’s naive and sweet, but also strong and aggressive when he has to be. I also liked the animation on him with the details on his branches and on his muscle-like structure. Vin Diesel did the voice for the Giant in The Iron Giant, and he pulls off a similar performance here: very few words, but with enough personality.
Drax was cool. His trait was that he takes everything literally, and can’t understand metaphors or figure of speeches, which was pretty funny. He has to learn to be a little less stubborn with his anger and to deal with his tragedy, and that performance actually came across well, which is good for a wrestler starting out in film.
But honestly, Gamora was the weakest character for me. She was meant to be the badass assassin… who frankly didn’t do much killing than I’d expect. She had a few badass moments, but I usually forgot that she was meant to be an assassin. She just felt like “the token girl” of the group, and sometimes needed more rescuing from others, which doesn’t make much sense when you look at it. They almost made her into the love interest, though they kinda dropped that, so I’m happy they didn’t hook her up with Quill, (just like they didn’t hook-up Black Widow with Captain America in Winter Soldier. I am so glad they didn’t do that!). Another thing that didn’t make sense is that Drax was the character who took everything literally, but there’s one scene with Quill where she mistakes a metaphor for something literal, and that confused me a lot. “That’s not your thing! That’s something DRAX would say,” I said immediately. Zoe Saldana’s performance was ok, as she’s already used to playing sci-fi characters anyway, though there’s not much else I can say about her. It’s a shame, because I’d imagine that she was meant to have the most character, since she in the adoptive daughter of THANOS (I’m getting into that later). Even so, the interactions work very well, and they had a lot of funny moments, and some heart-felt moments too. It’s difficult for any of them to make any friends, with the exception of Quill, which is why he’s the one who puts the team together (I mean, he is a ladies man, so I only assume he’s more sociable than others). They don’t have much purpose in their lives other than to survive, but as they get to know each other, they figure that they can either die alone or die with friends. What brings them together is that they’re each a misfit in some sort of way, but what keeps them together is that they gain more out of doing things together. It’s a bizarre friendship, because they’re not sure if they’re immediately friends when they co-operate. They may just be doing it for themselves, or maybe in the back of their minds they want to have friends. Insignificant people separately, but greater together. So they make an interesting team. It’s what you’d usually find in most group of misfits, though it’s done well here, and I learned to care about them, with the exception of Gamora who could have used some work, and I’ll admit that it took me a while to care about Drax until he eventually grew on me.
Other positives of the film: The action scenes were great, the 3D was pretty good, the special effects and set designs were pretty cool, and of course EVERYONE can’t stop talking about the soundtrack: The “Awesome Mix Vol. 1”. After the opening credits began with Star Lord dancing around, I knew that this was going to be a joy ride! I did like the movie the first time I watched it, as it was a lot of fun, but I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong about the film. I noticed that it establishes its own worlds and characters, but it’s still somewhat linked to the MCU, meaning that the characters will come back to the next Avengers film (or perhaps the third one, though I’m not entirely sure which one).
I guess the main problem with the MCU is that you either have to be a Marvel fan or you have to have seen ALL of the films to get the connections between each other to “really get it”, which makes it very hard for that film to stand on its own. One of the reasons Iron Man 2 failed was because it felt more like a trailer to The Avengers than trying to be a stand alone film, or even be a good film. The Infinity Stones are explained briefly, and we’re only introduced to just the Power Stone in this one (the other stones, like the Mind Stone and the Space Stone, were introduced in the other movies). And it’s like the film says, “the rest of the stones you will have to watch in the rest of the films”. Though they at least explained well what the Power Stone was and the rest of the Infinity Stones.
The story is a very simple good vs. evil plot you’d find in most Saturday Morning cartoons: here the good guys must prevent the bad guys from getting the Power Stone. But then again, the story is a bit TOO simple. Not that it’s a horrible thing. To its credit, the story is easy to follow and they are consistent with their epic yet comedic tone. My only problem is the story didn’t have as much substance as the characters, and there wasn’t as much originality as I hoped there would be. But that’s mostly a nitpick. However, as a result, the villains are kept simple, and were sometimes a bit menacing, but if the film’s going to work with a simple story and simple villains, AT LEAST make the villains entertaining! I wish they made the villains have some funny lines and not make them too serious. They just don’t balance out with the good guys. Though I will admit: the henchwoman Nebula (played by Karen Gillan, mostly known as Doctor Who‘s Amy Pond) looked pretty cool when she fought, and had that cool ability when she’s fixing up her broken bones. Overall, the villains were straight-up boring, and Thanos doesn’t appear in it that much anyway. Speaking of: This is the first proper introduction of Thanos, who is established to be a powerful presence, and the main antagonist… in another film. Here he only appears for a bit, and someone else becomes the main villain. It’s like they were saying “HI THANOS! BYE THANOS! See ya in Age of Ultron!” Really? That’s it? And he won’t even be the main villain in that one! Ultron will be the main villain! (I think. Please correct me if I’m wrong.) Guardians tried to stand on its own, but if they’re also trying to connect to the MCU, they could have done that aspect better. Like I said, Gamora is the adoptive daughter of Thanos, and they could have done something there in the story, but that’s the only connection they established, and that’s only really established with Gamora’s character than making it the focus. It’s as if the film were saying “See? This is part of the cinematic universe! He’s not important here, but he IS important in the next film!” That was kinda lame. While it could introduce newcomers to the Marvel films, it might confuse people who have never heard of Thanos before. Luckily the goods outweigh the bad, and the goods are pretty dang good. I hope the new Star Wars movie looks something like this, seeing as J.J. Abrams also did the new Star Trek films, and this movie felt like it had a bit of both! There was a bit of Marvel in this film as well, but I think that by establishing its own world, it felt like its own film, and it didn’t feel like a direct plug-in to The Avengers, with the exception of Thanos and the Infinity Stones. Guardians of the Galaxy is also the funniest of the MCU films so far, and most people will see it as the second best MCU film of Phase 2 (most people would say that the best film of Phase 2 so far is Captain America 2, and I’d definitely agree). May be lacking a tiny bit in some few elements, and I’m not as crazy about it as other people, but Guardians of the Galaxy has great visuals, great 3D, great action, great comedy, great music, and great characters. It’s just great. All I want now is the soundtrack!