We saw Guardians of the Galaxy last Sunday and it was awesome! Maybe it was several months of being plied with trailers and advertising, but the coolness I originally had towards it warmed up to the point where I was practically vibrating. Why, why am I so excited to a movie with a trash talking raccoon and one of my favourite actors as a tree? Maybe it was that being in an air conditioned movie theatre for two hours was way more exciting than lying limp around the house.
Out of all the Marvel movies, this is quite possibly the best one to date. It's free of earthly concerns and has such an interesting and diverse cast, characters and settings. Maybe too, I'm just tired of dark and gritty reboots, movies that are just a little too based on coincidence or forget how to tell a story completely. There's only so many times you can watch Iron Man be a jerk, after all. Come to think of it, it's easier to describe GotG by what it's not. The main characters don't drag each other down, there's no big city destruction scene (well, just a little) and it's not serious at all. Serious characters get their dramatic comic book speeches, but also get upstaged by humour. GotG is incredibly self-aware of having one foot in B-movieland.
The movie is pretty tight, zipping along at a fast pace and helped along by the "awesome mix" soundtrack. Right after the opening scene, the audience gets to dive in as Peter Quill steals an artifact, an orb, from an ancient temple (if that scene looks a little familiar...it's just the start of nods to the 70s and 80s that will make a lot of freeze frame fun later). It would take a lifetime of reading Marvel comics to understand all the characters and why Ronan and Thanos are baddies, but after a little planet hopping, the audience has all it needs to know without too much set up. We are here to see a talking raccoon and a sentient tree, after all!
All five main characters are flawed in ways that anyone can relate to, and for a group that doesn't initially get along, they come to treat each other with a lot of respect. Rocket, for example, could have been played solely for laughs and comic relief, but he's not just a cute funny animal. He delivers some devastating lines (which he can, because he's an animal). He might talk tough, but he's a softie inside. Likewise, the other characters stretch their personalities - Peter Quill finds a higher purpose, Gamora wants to redeem her past (and is never treated as a sex object - she rejects Quill's "pelvic sorcery", and Drax learns to love his enemy. Uh, I'm not sure what Groot's flaw is, maybe it's that he can only say three words - but his strength is definitely in his selfless actions. GotG does a great job of showing the characters - we don't have to sit through long and convoluted backstories. I guess that's important to note too - the movie treats the audience with respect as well. Surprisingly, the real lesson of GotG is that friendship is magic :D
It's tempting to see it again this weekend...we were excited for another piece of nostalgia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it looks more like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turkey, so we'll probably pass.