Alright Marvel, now you’re just showing off.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is the latest entry in the Marvel movie universe this time starring Chris Pratt as a space outlaw, Zoe Saldana as a green alien assassin, and the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper as a sentient tree being and a talking raccoon, respectively. These four are joined by a literal minded strong man named Drax and unintentionally find themselves as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Yeah, as a non comic reader it all sounded a bit crazy to me to, I figured once you stretch into the realm of talking flora and fauna you’ve probably lost your chance at making it work on a deep level. I was wrong. Oh so wrong.
Guardians of the Galaxy is an incredible film. Let’s go ahead and start with the best thing, this movie is hilarious. It has this irreverent sense of humor that zips through so much of the dialog that I found myself missing lines because the audience couldn’t stop laughing. Much of this is due to Chris Pratt, previously seen on the tv show “Parks and Rec” as the joyful doofball Andy. Pratt’s keen seen of comic timing as unintentional space adventurer Peter Quill is the glue that makes the rest of this crew work. Although I should mention Bradley Cooper’s take on Rocket Raccoon had me rolling as well. I think it says something that what is primarily a comic book, sci-fi, action flick is funnier than most of the straight comedies released this year, but maybe that’s because when you focus on the story first the laughs can come much more naturally. And at the end of the day that’s why Guardians works, because the story is worth investing in. What Marvel does so well, and they continue it here, is that they give each and every major character in their universe a genuine and fully developed story to invest in. These aren’t just wise cracking space outlaws, they are creatures with hearts, needs, and motivations that inform what they do and how they do it. Because of this you find yourself not only laughing, but emotionally invested as well, even if it is a talking raccoon.
Now as much as I loved this movie, and I did love this movie, I also had a few issues with it as well. If I had to sum them up in one phrase I think it would likely be “too much”. There’s just a lot here to handle. With such a vast, and I should mention completely new, universe, Marvel’s first trip into space has a lot of educating to do that it can feel disorienting, especially at the beginning. In fairness, I do think you get used to it pretty quickly and I think I followed what I needed to, but it can certainly feel overwhelming. As can the space battles. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the action in this, much of it is clever inventive and genuinely fun. But there are a few moments in this where it just felt like explosions and firing ships just for the sake of cinematic overload. I think a few of those scenes could have been chopped down and maybe gotten the end result down under that 2 hour mark.
At the end of the day though, Guardians of the Galaxy is an immensely fun way to spend two hours of your day. With such a keen sense of humor and well developed characters and story, the fact that it can all be a bit overwhelming at times still can’t bring it down to any lower than an A