Now Watching: Guardians of the Galaxy
When I was a kid I spent a lot of time buying random comic books from discount bins. As a result I ended up reading a lot of weird shit like Nomad and Blue Devil and Guardians of the Galaxy. In a world where Iron Man wasn’t even a household name, GOTG was the obscurest of the obscure. As far as I knew, pre-internet and social media, no one read this book but me.
So naturally Marvel/Disney decided to make a big-budget adaptation.
Honestly it’s still a little strange for me. Very surreal. Even stranger is the fact that GOTG is pretty fucking perfect. Granted, I would think that regardless of whether the movie was ACTUALLY good. But god it’s such a relief to say, with full confidence: This movie is pretty flawless.
So when this film was announced at SDCC I found myself trying to explain the appeal of this group to a lot of people who had never had any interest or awareness. And I ran into a lot of troubles in translating the intricacies and minutiae of this team and of the cosmic universe in a digested version, since it’s… pretty fucking goofy and broad and deep. One of the things I was most curious about with the movie was how Gunn was going to cut through all of that.
The answer is: Really, really confidently.
This movie is pure space opera pulp goodness. It opens on an abrupt alien abduction that launches the audience into an entirely new world with entirely new characters. And it trusts them every step of the way, with every location change. Gunn plunges headfirst into Marvel cosmic and builds a foundation for an entire universe in ONE movie, a feat which similarly took Marvel YEARS to build up ground for with Avengers. It’s pretty ambitious and pretty outstanding.
It is by far the funniest Marvel film, but that isn’t at the expense of story. There’s a strong emotional undercurrent to this film that I was so pleased to see as someone who is normally crying about these characters to begin with—Gunn kindly extends that feeling to the entire audience. It’s a self-aware film and avoids taking itself too seriously, but the entire film isn’t non-stop winking at the audience. These are real characters with real fears and hopes and so on.
Dave Bautista stole the film and you’re going to see a Drax fandom spring up REAL quick. Pratt is on-point as Peter Quill, Gamora is flawless and fully clothed throughout the film (!!!) same as Nebula. Groot and Rocket are everything you want them to be and then some. As for Ronan, he is presented with all the grandeur and pomp deserving of the Accuser.
This movie is such a bold “fuck you” to Marvel’s inability to touch known cosmic characters—The Fantastic Four, Galactus, Silver Surfer. They’ve opened up an entire new playground full of amazing characters and they did it on the back of a C-list team that the entire fucking world is going to love now because they found a way to make this really rich universe accessible. There are little kids who are going to grow up worshipping Gamora and Drax and shouting I AM GROOT and that’s so fucking badass I can’t stand it. Go go go go go see the shit out of this have a good fucking time, man.