Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise of connected movies in Phase 2 that will build toward Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is the story of thief Peter Quill and a band of misfit outlaws who join forces to help save the galaxy from the threat of Ronan the Accuser, a Kree warmonger with a big-ass hammer and ties to the Mad Titan himself, Thanos.
Going into this film, I thought that it was going to be quite bad. The whole concept was something that I frowned upon from the very beginning. After all, one of the best parts of what kicked off this whole series was the realism behind Iron Man, and here we are watching a tree and a raccoon fight in space? Give me a break. I was never a fan of the comic series that spawned this and assumed that at the very best, this would just be a tolerable stepping stone in the middle of two better films.
So was I proven right or wrong with my assumptions?
It's time for another REVIEWPOINT as we break down the film's hits and misses.
As always, let's start with the bad news first.
1. DRAX THE DESTROYER
For those who are unaware, one of the other branches off A Mango Tree is Smark Out Moment, which is dedicated to professional wrestling. Despite how I am a fan of professional wrestling, I do not actually support the idea of wrestlers being cast in roles unless they are particularly impressive. I'd rather see a good actor develop an impressive physique rather than take the easy way out. Dave Bautista isn't one of my favorites, and unfortunately, the same carried on here. While his character has some development, it isn't much, and Dave's acting was the weakest point in the whole film as far as main characters go. It also doesn't help that the amount of times he gets his ass handed to him sort of went against the idea of him being The Destroyer who could whoop everyone.
2. NOVA CORPS
Why was Glenn Close in this movie? Why was John C. Reilly in it? To look awkward, out of place, and deliver some pithy dialogue that really didn't contribute all that much to the story? The Nova Corps is Marvel's answer to the Green Lantern Corps, but without any badassery at all in this film. They're a bunch of jokester chumps who die or don't get involved in the action—like that one woman who can't seem to look at anything but her iPad.
None of the villains in this film impressed me. Yes, that includes Thanos. They just didn't feel all that intimidating. The first introduction of Thanos at the end of The Avengers was epic, but this one just jumped right into it and felt too lighthearted for my tastes. Ronan was pretty one-note. Why does he want to commit genocide? Essentially, because BOOM POW LOL JOKE and nothing else. Nebula doesn't have much of a character, either. The Collector is like the Liberace of space who has been in only two scenes so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where he just sort of stands there awkwardly and seems like a joke. Yondu was just Michael Rooker in blue paint.
4. CREDIT SEQUENCES
Marvel has really dropped the ball with the credit sequences in Phase 2. The original films teased amazing things, but outside of the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, everything else has been more of a pointless laugh. Did I really need to see Bruce Banner falling asleep in Iron Man 3? What about the rampaging monster from Thor: The Dark World? In this one, while it may be kind of cute, Groot dancing and Howard the Duck aren't going to give me goosebumps that make me want to watch them again.
5. NO ANTICIPATION TO AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
To some extent, this has to deal with the credit scenes, but that's not necessarily where it stops. This whole film in general just felt more like a side project rather than something building up to Avengers: Age of Ultron. Outside of the Infinity Stone that was introduced (by the way, which one was that?), nothing else seems to have any effect on the upcoming film. Because of that, none of it got me psyched up for it.
Groot is the man. Well, he's the tree. Nuff said, right?
The music in this movie was so important and such a huge part of the core structure that if it had failed, it would have ruined the entire thing. Thankfully, I feel like they pulled this off. I'm not personally a huge lover of all of these songs, but I could put that aside to enjoy their placement in the film. To be perfectly honest, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" is something that I feel is incredibly overrated, but I felt a nice calm sense of resolution when it came on at the end.
Is it too humorous? Possibly. The tone of the film having that mentality that a lot of it doesn't really matter all that much is a downside. Yet the alternative way to look at things is that the jokes themselves are actually funny, for the most part. Drax's humor sometimes falls flat, but Rocket Raccoon is charming as the primary source of comic relief. Peter Quill has his fair share of moments as well. Marvel is really playing it dangerously by amping up the humor in their films as of late, and I think this is the absolute maximum that should ever happen in any of these, but for what it's worth, I did laugh.
Forgive me for taking this to a total fanboy-esque level, but they showed the goddamn motherfucking Celestials!!!?!?!?!!!? WOW. I laughed at Howard the Duck and Cosmo, since I love cameos in these kind of movies, but that one just floored me. I never expected to see Celestials referenced and shown like that in any capacity.
This is one of those situations where I would recommend the film, but I don't necessarily want to praise it all that much. If the rest of the MCU films are on par with this, it will be serviceable, but not admirable. We need more that are as good as The Winter Soldier and less that are of the quality of The Dark World. On its own, this is more than fine for a fun movie to go see. Will I ever watch it again? I'm not sure. If I do, it will be while I'm trying to get ready to see Age of Ultron and really nothing else. I can pop in The Avengers at pretty much any time of the day and enjoy it, but this movie isn't necessarily the case.