Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Marvel Success Well Guarded: A Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

“You’re Welcome.” Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy anticipates gratuitous amounts of praise and appreciation from the tagline on the movie poster. Protentious? Possibly. However, the film matches its bark with dynamically established characters and colorfully built worlds. Guardians presents itself for many audiences, offering a wonderful introduction and telescope to Marvel’s Cosmic Universe wherein The Avenger’s Earth resides.

The film begins with Peter Quill, our protagonist charismatically played by Chris Pratt in his first big movie performance. From a heart-wrenching introduction scene of his childhood, to a thrilling flash forward to the adult and self-proclaimed Starlord. A shenanigan swashbuckler who follows the lineage of the likes of Harrison Ford as Han Solo from Star Wars. This parallel easily places the film amongst the original trilogy or other classic science fiction blockbusters such as The Fifth Element. Constantly gripping his Walkman, Peter Quill thoroughly humbles the film, grounding the audience to comfortable Terra (Earth) while exploring new territories and introducing new characters.

Most notable of these are the admirable misfits Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Rocket Raccoon was a show stealer, a viscous and savvy talking rodent well voiced and characterized by Bradley Cooper. Rocket’s companion Groot, a Vin Diesel voiced tree creature, also brings life to the frames even with three word “vocabulistics”. Alongside Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, this group eventually mocked as the Guardians of the Galaxy, all become real personalities with creative problem solving skills and witty chemistry. This contributes to a hilariously fun cinematic experience. These characters are the film’s genius.

Before its release, many have regarded Guardians as Marvel’s gamble that would determine the success of the rest of their movie endeavors including major story arcs in both Avengers 2 and 3. That gamble is the reaction of mass audiences to the subjects of this film, the establishment of the Marvel Cosmic Universe, and the introductions of major characters and concepts. The big bad Thanos (to whom all Marvel nerds quiver in fear) has an intimidating appearance in Guardians, and brings in toys like the Infinity Gems. These topics are Marvel at its most hardcore form of nerdiness that one less savvy in comic book knowledge would find relatively inaccessible.  Yet with the distinct characters and their own personal journeys within the film, the audiences’ baby steps into new worlds plopped from the panels of comic books are taken with comfort and ease.

As a result, this film provides a genre that has not shown itself in quite some time: A riveting space opera the likes of Fifth Element or Serenity that most studios are too scared to produce. Marvel holds no bars when it even comes down to the teaser trailers, depicting a talking Raccoon, avoiding all societal pleasantries, scratching at his crotch. This is a perfect portrayal of Marvel in its relationship with the audience. Now that they have been dating a while, they start to get a little more comfortable. Hence Marvel, scratching its balls with no regard for its significant other, and still loved just as much for being true to itself. Guardians of the Galaxy stands as a fun film on its own, but also provides complexity and details to a series.

I give it 6 out of 6 Infinity Gems.

By Ross Carpenter

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