I’m torn when it comes to condensing my thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG). In one respect the film is fun, exciting and has what is probably one of the most interesting array of characters to grace a Marvel film ever but on the other hand it has a dumb, frustrating plot and too many of the tropes that make a Marvel film tedious and at times unwatchable. In this review I am going to do my best to dissect the different highs and lows of the film and hopefully come to a suitable conclusion on whether this is a film that is actually as good as people say it to be or if it is just another bloated, stupid super hero film.
I think first I’ll start off with what is definitely Guardians of the Galaxy’s strongest attribute and that’s its characters. This film does a great job of introducing us to the five characters that make up the Guardians; each one is given enough time on screen for you to learn and understand their motivations and for you to quickly fall in love with their quirky and most of the time on point humour. Chris Pratt who leads the film as ‘Starlord’ is brilliant in the film, he certainly has the leading man material that a lot of Marvel films have lacked recently and with his characters troubled past and constant witty referential humour he is a character you will easily enjoy watching. In fact the same can be said for all the Guardians, each of them come with their baggage and it actually makes them feel like real people with real problems, now that’s not to say the films all doom and gloom and just us following them as they attempt to cure all of their problems, this is probably one of the funniest of the Marvel films since the Avengers, every other line is a well-timed joke that most of the time will have you laughing. Some of the humour does fall flat at times and at points feels unnecessary; sometimes it felt as if jokes where being shoe horned into moments where it just didn’t need to be. One thing that did frustrate me with the ensemble cast is that the emotional baggage that they all seem to come with is for the most part wrapped up in a neat little bow by the end of the film and I feel that for some of the characters a lot more development of these aspects would be better in the long run. Despite this the characters in Guardians of the Galaxy are brilliant, Rocket Racoon was my personnel favourite but all of them have their highlights and happily none of them feel under used or out of place in the film.
Another stand out in this film is the look of the worlds that James Gunn brings to life in this film. From bright, vibrant looking worlds filled with a colourful array of species and characters, too large floating skeleton heads that inside lives a mining community, the film is filled with beautiful looking places and certainly breathes some new life into the Marvel universe. In the sequels that are assured to come I look forward to seeing and exploring the universe more, mainly with my eyes of course.
Unfortunately in this review comes the point where I talk about my biggest gripe with the film and it’s probably the reason why this film wasn’t as good as I was hoping it to be. That problem is the plot in the film, the plot is so under developed, so dumb and so Marvel in its execution that I was at points left really disappointed. To boil it down to its basics: bad guy wants something, good guys have the thing, thing will destroy the universe, so good guys must hold onto thing and stop the big bad guy. That’s it that is the extent of the plot in this film. Now I know that they probably didn’t want an over complicated plot in this film because it was more about the introduction and development of the characters but I still don’t think that is a good enough excuse for the complete disregard for having a story that is it least a little bit interesting.
Which brings me onto another thing that annoyed me about some of the out comes in the overall story; there were once again no tangible consequences for our ensemble cast. Death or the prospect of death in the film is like every other Marvel film non-existent, characters can do anything and you know they will be completely fine because in the next scene some silly, exposition filled reason will be given and they’ll be right as rain and I’m really tiredof this in Marvel films. The blatant lack of consequences for any of its super hero characters causes a complete disconnect for me when it comes to caring or worrying about the fate of some really well fleshed out characters. Also the film ends with another big dumb battle scene in which space ships crash into cities and unimaginable amounts of people are killed, once again just mind numbing and silly.
Before I finish up with this review I feel I must give a little love to the films soundtrack which has to be one of my favourites for a long time, it has a set list of songs that are sublime and compliment the moments that they’re utilised so well, even if you don’t see the film definitely give the soundtrack a listen.
To end I feel I should add that in no way is Guardians of the Galaxy a bad film in fact it is probably one of the better Marvel films I’ve seen, along with The Avengers. Yes the film does fall into the clichés that plague all the Marvel films and for me harm the overall quality of the film but they in no way ruin it, I would still very much recommend seeing the film and to do your best to ignore the insane amount of hype that is floating around out there, try and go in with a reasonable expectation of what the film will be like and then go from there.