I watched this movie with my younger sister this weekend. I admit I didn’t have very high expectations for the movie; I assumed it would be somewhat humorous and at the very least a run romp. In this I was not disappointed, and to my delight, it turned out to be far better than I had assumed. I like it when a movie surprises me.
Guardians of the Galaxy was made by Marvel Studios and is yet another movie in their superhero/Avengers universe. Or at least I’m connecting it to the Avengers universe because of the existence of Thanos in the movie. He had a cameo at the end of the Avengers, so the two will forever be linked in my mind. (I wouldn’t really call this a spoiler since in the first twenty minutes the main villain has a hissy fit when he talks to his boss Thanos, so this is established right off the bat.) I’m also under the impression that Thanos does not need to breathe since his base is in an asteroid belt, his chair is basically rocks with rockets on them, and none of the villains have any air masks. How are they not all dying?
Whatever. We’ll just pretend they all have magical body mods! Anyway, let’s get back to the meat of this movie, which is the five “guardians” of the galaxy and how they save the day. Mind you, I’m trying to keep this post as spoiler free as possible, but if you want to discuss this movie (complete with spoilers), feel free to do so in the comments.
The movie begins with a little boy listening to Awesome Mix Tape 1 – 80s music in all its glory. His mother is dying, and in her final moments, she asks him to take her hand. He hesitates a trifle too long, and she dies. This moment had me nearly in tears because of the intensity and the care given to each character, despite their brief presence in this movie. This moment is also one of the defining moments for Quinn, our main character, so keep this image in your mind, for it will return later in the movie. After Quinn’s mother dies, he runs out of the hospital and falls to his knees in the grass, crying over his mother’s death. And that’s when he’s abducted by aliens. Our romp has begun.
Fast forward to the future when our hero is an adult. The pace of the movie is fairly fast, but it does slow a bit to show us quirks the characters have. For instance, Quinn, also known as “Starlord,” still has his headphones and mix tapes his mother gave him as well as the present she gave him right before her death. In the act of stealing an orb, he puts on his headphones and dances through the ruins. It’s silly but it’s also glorious, because of the insight it gives us about the character. He loves his 80s music, and he feels pretty comfortable in his own skin, as well as not caring what others think of him. This scene also establishes the mode of the piece: life can be silly and outrageous things can happen, and we just roll with it and make decisions that work the best in that moment. That’s the core of this movie.
The five guardians: Quinn, Rocket, Groot, Gamora, and the brute guy (what is his name?) all meet in prison. How they escape is fairly humorous, and it’s the first time they work together as a team, which they end up becoming despite their distrust of each other. During the escape and the attempt to sell the orb scenes, each character showcases a bit of their personality but they also reveal, very organically, the losses these characters have suffered and how that vengence and/or pain drives them all in slightly different ways. It’s beautifully done in my opinion, and really helps cement the connection these five have.
Remember the orb that Quinn stole? This turns out to be the most coveted item in the galaxy, and in the wrong hands could destroy all life, so what do our band of heroes do? Well, they try their best to keep it out of the hands of the main villain. Which, of course, they fail to do. This forces them to learn how to work together, utilize each others strengths, and in turn rope others into helping them in their final attempt to save the universe. Their decisions lead them straight to the final boss fight above the world our desperate band of heroes hope to save. This is also the planet that had originally imprisoned them for breaking its laws. It all comes round full circle.
The end of this movie, especially the “dance-off” as I like to call it, is probably my favorite part. The movie is all about having fun, despite the severity of the situation, and yet it still pauses long enough to really show you who these people are and why they’re worth your time. It’s a good balance and definitely worth a re-watch, especially to find all the wonderful puns, witty dialogue, and references to other pop culture items. And yes, even Stan Lee appears, however briefly, within the movie (for who could a Marvel movie be complete without him?).
Overall, it’s well worth your time. Go watch it.