This summer’s surprise hit, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s introductory story of misfit criminals that set out to save the galaxy, (not just the world, so step aside Avengers) delivers not only laughs and excitement but also tears. Before I move any further with this praising review, I’d like to talk about the opening of the film, considering it may be a trigger for some people.
When one goes to see a summer blockbuster, they expect to forget about their own problems and get lost in a fun, fictional world, not break down in hysterical tears within the first ten minutes of the film. Which kinda ruined the rest of my time during the film. If you are a devout reader of mine (which let’s face it, you aren’t) you might realize that I recently lost my father to cancer last fall, we were unaware he had a brain tumor until it was too late, and he passed away within a month. I watched my strong, full-of-life father, who influenced me the most in my life, wither away to nothing and die in front of my eyes. It was the most difficult time of my life, and that, along with the opening of this film, is part of the reason I kept putting off this review. It opens with a young boy, Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt), sitting outside a hospital room listening to the recent pop songs of the 80s on a Walkman. Soon an older man comes out and escorts him into the hospital room where Peter’s mother is obviously dying from cancer. Before his eyes, we see his (fortunately) coherent mother say her goodbyes to her son and ask him to hold her hand as she passes. He ignores her extending arm and it’s too late, she passes and he breaks down. It’s heartbreaking and it took all of my will power to not audibly sob hysterically right there in the middle of the theater. I know that this scene is important for Star Lord’s back story and eventual plot line of growth in the film, but damn if I wasn’t ready of it.
The sad/weird thing is, is that I had a hankering there would be this type of plot line in the movie. Lately, anything I try to watch and enjoy, pretty much everything I love, from the drama/sci-fi/horror show Supernatural to the comedy/drama Wilfred everything I invest myself in kills of a main character, usually due to cancer. Spoiler alerts, the same day I went to see GotG I watched the 3rd to last episode of season four (and final) Wilfred, and guess what, the hilarious human-dog has, you got it, cancer. I finished the episode and curled up with my boyfriend and broke down in tears. Once I could compose myself again, I sighed, and said: “If Guardians of the Galaxy has a cancer plot line, I’m gonna freak the shit out!” And he laughs at me: “Jacki, it’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s a Marvel action film about crazy shit in space, you’ll be fine.”
I was not fine, nope, not at all, and with that triggering moment that composed of the first 10 minutes of the film, my night was ruined.
Sure I still had fun after I stopped hyperventilating, but it took time to trust the film again. Chris Pratt’s performance of Star Lord was perfect, he was funny, nonchalant, (not to mention super buff), and pulled off the “thrust into a leadership role” really well. One of my favorite duos on screen had to be Rocket the giant gun-toting Raccoon and the half-human, half-tree Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel). I mean, Groot’s expressions and actions just make him the most adorable living tree I have ever seen.
Eventually Groot, Rocket, and Quill join forces along with Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek’s Uhura) a kick-ass lady assassin who makes green skin sexy (Sorry Theadora, you just don’t cut it), and other prison inmate Drax (Dave Bautista) who happens to be the most literal man in the galaxy, which is hilarious.
The misfit band works well together, and the movie deliver’s it’s classic up-and-down “we’re not a team, well maybe we are, no fuck that, and then finally, hell yeah we’re a team” trope. Although, since we are focused so much on the team, I realize now how lack-luster the villains of this film are. They are just the classic revenge-seeking, I want to waste away the world, bad guys. And well, that’s what they should be since this is an introduction to how the Guardians of the Galaxy came to be, but I hope that means the next villainous bad guy will be hella scarier.
The scenery and CGI are beautifully done, and bring not only the background to life, but also believable characters (considering half of the team was CGI). But what really makes the film fun, especially after the round-house kick to the stomach in the beginning, was the soundtrack. It’s perfect in every way, and breaths life into a familiar plot line. There are also LOADS of pop reference sprinkled all throughout the place as well.
Guardians of the Galaxy is not Marvel’s best film, but it certainly isn’t the worst. It is a fun romp for the summer if you skip over the first 10 minutes of the film, unless you’re just a heartless person, or you know, possibly didn’t watch your own parent die in front of your eyes, but you know, we all have our triggers, and I suppose I found mine.
Catch Guardians of the Galaxy while it’s in theaters, because this one was marketed in such a brilliant way, that EVERYBODY and their uncle will be seeing this one.