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Out of 10: 'Guardians of The Galaxy'

An MCU Review ('Not Quite Terrible Mix Volume 1')

By Conor HuftonPublished 6 years ago 4 min read
'From the studio that brought you some really long Avengers trailers—and the Avengers—which is also arguably a really long trailer, comes... An actual good film' Please don't hurt me, Marvel. Don't even mind some of those.

An intergalactic crew of morally questionable misfits prevent mass destruction. That was the original title but it couldn’t fit on posters. It also spoiled the ending. I’m also lying.

Following a vital flashback, the opening credits start. First a subtly sombre passage with a masked figure exploring a planet’s ruins, it effortlessly segues into a simple, wholly joyous dance sequence to Redbone’s "Come and get your love." The scene’s flavoured by the masked figure (Chris Pratt as Star-Lord) incorporating gleeful attacks on rodent aliens, and his gadgetry that establishes the film’s advanced tech, into his choreography. It’s an excellent establishing character moment; wordlessly showing Star-Lord as a nostalgic playful rogue with a subdued solemn side. Sandwich snake sentience. Sorry, didn’t feel like there were enough S’s.

The Guardians are surprisingly 3 dimensional and complement each other perfectly. There’s a solid understanding of dynamics. The writers haven’t lazily or obviously made all characters opposites, nor are they immediately similar. There’s both common and uncommon ground which varies between each. This keeps every interaction interesting, even outside of the in-fighting. Other characters are equally complex, with Iondu’s moral ambiguity in particular being well presented.

Chris Pratt is casually able to segue between humorous, understatedly heartfelt, and tranquilly angry—my only criticism is that I wasn’t cast. I want a Walkman as much as the next bloke. Unless the next bloke really doesn’t want one, then I want it slightly more.

Ripped Pratt (Forced, I Know)

See? that's exactly my build. In a parallel universe. Statistically speaking. Also in another universe I'm statistically a womble voiced by James Earl Jones

Zoe Saldana aka Gamora shows a lot of restraint as a stoic conflicted ex-assassin with some traces of earth naivety. Dave Bautista’s comic timing and reserve as Drax is surprising for a non-actor and Bradley Cooper’s well suited to Rocket. Though Groot is a subtly brilliant character, I’m not praising Vin Diesel. They genuinely could’ve picked me. They could’ve picked almost anyone. He says three words in almost the exact same way—why did they even need an actor? They didn’t need an actor, that’s why Vin Diesel was picked. Don’t hurt me, Mr. Diesel, I’m just impartial to you.

The scene where they first share screen time is exciting and unadulterated. The inventive action creatively shows character with limited, basic dialogue. Making a team who were forced together unofficially and are widely disliked (not without reason) is a refreshing strategy by this point in the MCU.

A major strength is that it’s—maybe I’m wrong—the first time Marvel successfully embraced comedy as a major genre. There was always humour but this one felt more honest, so the writers seem less restricted, especially with relationships. This doesn’t stop them from using drama or tension when necessary. His is also the most textured an MCU character felt by this time. Every area has an individual identity and even minor characters have got some form of a story or character that’s shown without laboured exposition. It also uses common themes—romantic tension, conflict between leads—by either using justifiable context or avoiding overreliance. The relationship between Star-Lord and Gamora is surprisingly natural—the second most natural I’ve ever seen between a space traveling outlaw and a green alien. Well, my wife wasn’t fully green and only half alien on her father’s side so we don’t count. Also I'm only a space travelling outlaw on bank holidays. Let me rephrase: Gamora and Starlord have THE most natural relationship I’ve seen between a space travelling outlaw and a green alien.

Help me out people, are there obvious others? I feel there should be.

Why do people say Zoe looks better green? I don't understand. I feel like I should because if I don't I'm not strange anymore and that's all I've got going for me.

After everyone’s marveled (ha.ha.ha) by visuals, rewatching really highlights how well plotted it is, especially given the arguably simple premise. Details like the scene with the collector and Drax’s backstory becoming important add unstrained jeopardy.

There’s a broad sense of visual identity and all opportunity for flourish are used without over prioritizing that would distract.

Subdued Vividness. Incidentally, the name for my perfume line.

The soundtrack needs to be mentioned. The songs are creatively made diegetic and relevant to characters, and fit seamlessly with a futuristic setting. It was a bold and rewarding move to make them relevant to the final battle. Another avoidance of cliché: space age techno is unused.

Not the final battle but let's just remind ourselves...

I'm glad his role branched out. Oh.

Another place where a cliché is avoided; space age techno isn’t used. I won’t say more; the soundtracks are praised to the point that more important strengths are usually ignored. Is there a name for that happening? I’m suggesting "Babydriver syndrome." Seriously, Edgar Wright gave SO much more than good songs in that film, but I digress.

Quickly to the rating mobile!—Not even remotely the right franchise. Guardians is yet another 9 out of 10 for me. I won’t marinade every good film with exclusively positive comments. A primary issue is the villain felt under-developed. His boisterousness wasn’t quite entertaining or uniquely handled and there’s not much personality. The opening scene also wasn’t very emotional for me despite its intentions. Maybe because it’s so similar to other superhero origins, maybe because there was no chance to invest in the character it involves, maybe it was just an underwhelming performance.

Was Guardians of The Galaxy something good? Something bad? Or a bit of both?


About the Creator

Conor Hufton

getting better at this writing thing (aka slowly learning the alphabet, learnt how to use pen). Spanning critical writing, fantasy, parody and sci-fi (ruining all of them in the process).

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