Guardians Of the Galaxy

  • Guardians Of the GalaxyAnother quality entry from Marvel Studios, Guardians Of the Galaxy is a raucous good time that manages a sprinkling or two of heart and thematic weight.
  • Most of which come from unlikely sources at unlikely moments, namely Groot (Vin Diesel) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper), probably the best developed and most interesting characters in the film, never mind that one barely speaks and that the other is animated, in a style almost befitting Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), no less.
  • Most of the credit goes to writer/director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman, whose screenplay proves adept at mixing action and characterization.
  • That the action is often exhilarating is certainly noteworthy, as well. Gunn is smart enough to avoid several drawn out melees, instead resolving them rapidly or differently than we might expect.
  • Slick effects help, as well. Consider all of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt, note-perfect) weapons and tools. And especially the Nova Corps’ blockade of Ronan the Accuser’s (Lee Pace, also very good) spaceship.
  • Guardians Of the Galaxy, then, is quite good and well worth watching.
  • But it is not perfect.
  • First, the film suffers from semi-frequent continuity breaks, especially early. For example, actors are not infrequently in one position before a cut and a different one afterwards, a fact that draws attention only because of reoccurrence. None of the breaks are severe enough to hurt the film individually, but added together they do so.
  • More troublingly, each time Gunn and Perlman stop to deliver exposition, their dialogue is too direct and the movie’s momentum slows as we wait to be taught necessary lessons. The most offensive such occurrence is when The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) explains Infinity Stones, but it is not the only one.
  • Lastly, doubtlessly because Guardians Of the Galaxy needs to develop five new heros, the villains are under-characterized and borderline dull.
  • Final Grade: B
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32 thoughts on “Guardians Of the Galaxy

  1. Flat villains and I was actually at times disinterested in the action, probably still on a Captain America 2 hyper-realism high. But it is so different and fresh enough that the flaws aren’t movie sinking. This is one of the better blockbusters of the summer.

  2. The biographical drama rejects telling a traditional chronological tale in favor of emotional touchstones grouped by feeling. As a result, the saga never has a chance to build momentum. Flashback and flash forward. Back and forth, all over the place. Chadwick Boseman is impressive as James Brown though so recommendation for that.

    • Boseman really is terrific.

      And, obviously, I agree Get on Up suffers from the structure, at least in places. I think the structure serves it in helping us understand Brown, though.

  3. I gave it pretty much a B also Josh, 3.5/5. It’s a frivolous good times at the movies, nothing too deep tho there’s a slight emotional moment at the end. Yeah I was surprised how memorable Groot turned out to be! And the soundtrack is truly awesome 🙂

    • I remember your review and the score and so I knew we basically agreed. It is good fun, but it is not great. And definitely not Marvel’s best movie, the way many have claimed.

      I don’t even think it’s the best movie they released this year (another statement with which I know you agree).

      • “And definitely not Marvel’s best movie, the way many have claimed.” Glad you think so!! It’s funny but seems that we are in the minority as the hyperbolic reviews are everywhere thinking this is the best movie of the year & all that.

      • They sure are. To some extent I can kind of understand it – this one does feel a bit different from their other movies. Which probably has something to do with it.

  4. Great write up! I just got back from my second viewing of Guardians and it holds up pretty good for me. Some of the emotional moments worked better this time while the humour lost a bit of it’s edge.

  5. Lovely post! GOTG was so much fun, and despite not having much of a plot, I really enjoyed it! How awesome is the soundtrack too? The odd characters blended perfectly together and I really loved seeing them together.

  6. This was definitely a strong entry in Phase 2. I had myself quite a good time though I have the feeling going to see it with a group might have upped the fun quotient! hahaha. Still unable to get the lyrics to ‘Hooked on a Feeling’ out of my head. What a great year for Blue Swede.

    Nice analysis Josh

    • I am. But far less frequently. Work is zapping all of my time – I’m putting in 12-14 hour days (sometimes 4 AM-6 PM) and still feel behind.

      And so I haven’t seen a single movie since mid-August (though I did manage to watch all of True Detective over the last month).

      As to this movie – I like it a lot too. I just think there are some flaws mixed in.

  7. Excellent work Josh! I was less taken with this movie than most people – while this does have a different tone to the other entries in the Marvel universe, for me it didn’t go far enough in ripping up their formula. I couldn’t agree more with your last point that the characters are underdeveloped and ‘borderline dull’. I hope they take the opportunity to work on this next time as the Guardians have lots of potential 🙂

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