Monday Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

guardians poster

Marvel is cashing in all of its built up good will to put out a movie that, by all rights, could not have been made only a few years ago. A sci-fi comedy action movie about a goofball human, a gun-happy raccoon, a tree monster that can only say one sentence, and two killer green people. That is just entirely too easy to fuck up and make horrible. I wasn’t too concerned going in, though, since Marvel hasn’t really been in the habit of handing of churning out crap for a quick buck and, let’s be honest, I’m not exactly someone that needs to be sold on an over-the-top Space Opera based on a comic book.

I kept trying to find things to dislike about this movie. No, seriously. I kept waiting for there to be some horrible sexist, racist or otherwise terrible moment in the movie where I could gripe about Hollywood. Every time the movie skirted close to it, though, it immediately subverted it and flipped things around. If there is one thing you can say about Guardians of the Galaxy, it is very much aware of every single trope that it is playing with. Every scene and every action is there because of the people that are doing them and not just because it needs to be done to further the story. No forced love story, nobody acting out of character for plot purposes, and no talking down to the audience.

The humor in this is consistent and incredibly well done. It would have been so easy to make a bunch of fart jokes and aliens with stupid voices and slapstick stuff be your comedy with a premise like this one. Nope. It’s funny because the characters are well realized and their reactions to situations that are entirely out of their depth is amusing. The other thing this movie has a lot of is heart. It is hard to imagine that I would actually be deeply invested in the relationship between a talking raccoon and a tree monster but Rocket and Groot have one of the best on-screen friendships I have seen in recent memory. Strip away the effects and the action and the big budget and you still have what boils down to the story of these characters dealing with and overcoming loss. Each has their own moments showing how they are tied together by a common thread of life’s cruelty but then find comfort and solace within the friendship that forms between them.

If I have to pick anything to complain about, it would be that we don’t get a whole lot of time with the bad guys in this movie. We don’t get the best understanding of why it is exactly Ronan the Accuser wants to kill everyone on Xandar aside from “we’ve been at war for a while”. Also if his one ship can straight up go to the home world with minimal resistance, how did the Kree not just straight up wreck these folls to begin with? Anyway, we also don’t get much about Nebula, Thanos’ servant that he sends to help Ronan outside of being entirely willing to turn on her master. This doesn’t really ruin the movie or anything, though, since it is spending all that time focused on the main characters and it’s really much more about their reactions to the problems rather than their interactions with the problem makers.

So rather than gushing on about how much I enjoyed this, I’ll go ahead and make this a fairly short review. Guardians of the Galaxy was really damn good and you should see it. I give the movie a 5 out of 5, making it only the second 5 I’ve given out so far on Monday Movie Review.

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