Guardians of the Galaxy

By on August 7, 2014
GOTG 2

Like any sane person, I was a little dubious when Marvel announced that one of their next adaptations would be “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I mean, what is one to say of a film whose main characters include a green-skinned warrior woman; a hyper-literate lunk played by a pro-wrestler; a gun-slinging, talking raccoon; and a waking, talking tree-man who only says one phrase: “I am Groot.”

When the trailer premiered, like a lot of people, I was more than a little surprised about how much it didn’t suck.

The "Guardians of the Galaxy" in all of their glory. From left: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper, as the raccon with attitude. Courtesy of imdb.com

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” in all of their glory. From left: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper, as the raccon with attitude.
Courtesy of imdb.com

As a critic, I make it a point to never read anyone else’s reviews before writing my own, and I try to see as many films as possible early on before it becomes sort of inescapable.

But for this, I made an exception because it sounded like a potential train-wreck, and I had already managed to avoid the likes of “Transformers” this summer.

So, anything I could do to avoid another potential crap-fest was good enough for me.

Much to my surprise, amongst critics, audiences and friends alike, the word on the street was almost entirely positive across the board, so I decided to see it after all.

If “Guardians of the Galaxy” isn’t the perfect antidote to summer burn-out, I don’t know what is. It’s a minor miracle something like this was even made, much less successfully so.

I mean, I can only imagine the pitch meeting for this: “There’s this anthropomorphic talking raccoon that runs around shooting people and a tree creature that only says one phrase.” I’m guessing the official people at the meeting likely thought that whoever pitched this thing had been smoking a little too much medicinal substances.

But it just goes to show, in Hollywood, you never know what’s going to fly or not. For every sure-fire “Harry Potter” or Tolkien adaptation, there’s a good fifty other ideas that either don’t get made or suck big time at the box office.

It’s arguably one of the best films I’ve seen all year and may well end up being one of my favorite comic adaptations ever. And I’d never even heard of the property before it was announced, and haven’t read a single issue of the comics.

Now, granted, this may not work for everyone.

Not every comic fan likes their adaptations on the silly side. There’s a reason the darker stuff, like Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy, or the more recent “Superman” or “X-Men” movies are all the rage. Some fans like their stuff to be taken deadly serious.

Zoe Saldana tries to keep Chris Pratt and Michael Rooker from killing each other in "Guardians of the Galaxy." Courtesy of imdb.com

Zoe Saldana tries to keep Chris Pratt and Michael Rooker from killing each other in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Courtesy of imdb.com

“Guardians of the Galaxy” is absolutely in that vein because it’s surprisingly well-written, yet self-aware enough to be tongue-in-cheek. It knows the source material is ridiculous, so there’s nowhere near the usual reverence we’ve seen as of late to most of the comic book adaptations, post-Nolan and Singer.

And that works for me, as someone who doesn’t necessarily take this stuff as seriously as the die-hards. I don’t know “Guardians of the Galaxy” from a hole in the ground, so I could care less how “accurate” or “faithful” it is to the source material.

How can you not like a movie that opens with the main protagonist trolling around a planet, grooving to “Come and Get Your Love” as he deals with various alien critters trying to kill him in a completely unaffected, blasé manner, dancing around foolishly?

She looks good in blue- "Dr. Who"-vet Karen Gillan plays the evil Nebula. Courtesy of imdb.com

She looks good in blue- “Dr. Who”-vet Karen Gillan plays the evil Nebula.
Courtesy of imdb.com

Honestly, if you’re tired of the dreary, humorless style of superhero flicks that more often than not clog up our movie screens these days, this is the movie for you.

If you like having a good time at the movies, this is the movie for you.

Kudos to, of all people, Troma-vet James Gunn for going for broke with such an epically insane property and not only delivering the goods, but also going above and beyond in the entertainment value department.

"Halt & Catch Fire" star Lee Pace plays the villanous Ronan. Courtesy of imdb.com

“Halt & Catch Fire” star Lee Pace plays the villanous Ronan.
Courtesy of imdb.com

Hell, Gunn even sneaks in some of his former cohorts, including “Slither” stars Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion (yep, Cpt. Mal himself) and former boss Lloyd Kaufman, aka the King of Troma himself.

You gotta love this guy. This even makes up for that second “Scooby Doo” movie, and I don’t say that lightly; that movie was kind of terrible. Consider your slate clean and then some, Mr. Gunn.

So I’m as surprised as you are but this film earns an A in my book. This is just a fun movie all around and I loved every minute of it, from the general sci-fi spectacle to the soundtrack to the performances and everything in between.

Maybe some of you purists that prefer your superheroes to be taken seriously and not be wise-cracking anti-heroes might hate it, but count me in for the sequel on opening day next time out.

Lesson learned, Hollywood, lesson learned.

Now I can only hope you learned a little something, too, because there should really be more comic book movies as fun as this, stat.

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About Mark Trammell

Mark Trammell is the resident entertainment critic at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is also a Graduate Student and does a vid-cast movie review show. He is a life-long fan of films and has a pretty whacked-out, all-over-the-place movie collection that would give most sane people pause. He loves horror movies and Disney flicks and isn't entirely sure there is a difference. He one day hopes to put his money where his mouth is and inflict his own perverse vision on society, entirely so that he can tell people who ask: "If you think you can do better, why don't you make a movie yourself?" to shut up.
 
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