I didn’t want to buy into all the hype about Guardians of the Galaxy. Love for it has been on every inch of the internet, but the last time I let myself get worked up about OMG THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER, it was Finding Nemo, and I was seriously let down. (Awaits hate mail.) Plus, in this era of movies, I’ve become the sort of person who reuses to watch trailers because they basically show you the whole movie.
But HOLY CRAP this movie is every bit as rad-tacular as I heard it is. And more. It’s everything I wanted it to be, everything I love in a story.
There are plenty of reviews out there talking about the relevance to the Marvel universe (both film and comic) and about how fun it is to watch and about the nitpicky -ism issues to be considered. Feel free to look those up; I’m not going to talk about them because blah.
What made me love this movie – what makes it my favourite of the entire Marvel film series so far – isn’t just the snappy, hilarious, organic writing or the incredible settings. It’s not even the fact that the characters are all confident and self-aware (to different degrees), eliminating the posturing and need to prove something to each other that often drags down ensemble films.
What’s special about this movie is the world itself.
While all the standalone Marvel superhero flicks and even Avengers deal with how people adjust to a new way of life and new information and new reality, the Guardians world is lived-in. There aren’t any questions raised about space travel, multiple livable planets, myriad races, or alien tech. It’s all just there – accepted as normal. The audience is swept along with what is, without lots of explanation or backstory, because the characters live here and they know. We get to skip the angst of worldbuilding/discovery and leap straight into the fun stuff.
The reason this is so amazing is that it allows the characters to pursue the plot, asking questions about the fate of the universe, how to beat the bad guy, and their personal flaws rather than trying to figure out what the hell is going on in the world. The backdrop of Guardians is understood, filled in for the viewer with a little visual here, a snippet of dialogue there, never enough to overwhelm us with long histories or jolt us out of flow with unanswered questions. It leaves the story abundant room to run, room denied us in the Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America properties. Guardians develops characters and builds forward momentum, rather than getting stuck a struggle of new vs. old.
Yes, there are TONS of hilarious and touching one-liners in this flick, and the soundtrack rocks hardcore, but it’s that grungy, broken-in Firefly-esque personality to the setting that makes it really shine. I recommend it without hesitation to anyone who likes lighthearted space opera – regardless of their feelings about Marvel.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I think it’s safe to go back to Tumblr…
Guardians of the Galaxy: 5/5