What do you get when you take a handful of gritty science fiction, the mostly unknown misfits of the Marvel Comics universe, and toss in a bucket load of comedic action? Well, in this case you get Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Comic’s latest and possibly most genre mixing film to date.
The story unfolds as a young terran boy loses his mother to cancer, abducted by aliens and is thrust into a world of interstellar thievery. Growing to be a competent grifter and all round scoundrel in the vein of Han Solo circumstance throws Peter Quill into an adventure that places the very existence of the galaxy into jeopardy. A ragtag band of outlaws and killers that form the group of heroes drives the action with a non-stop vibe pulsing with the sounds of a funky 70’s soundtrack.
From inception to ending the Guardians of the Galaxy charts a singularly unique path. Not quite high space opera, not quite slapstick humour, but something uniquely strange and satisfying.
Peter or as he likes to be called Star Lord’s companions are as strange as the premise of the movie. Gamora a green skinned assassin trained, but not necessarily controlled by the titan Thanos, who stays mostly in the shadows controlling the action from the shadows.
Then comes Groot, a sentient tree who serves as Rocket’s muscle and somewhat dim witted foil for many of the jokes in the story. His sense of goodness is limited only by his vocabulary which, according to Rocket consist of 3 words I, am, and Groot in that order.
Part of the joy in any film is the soundtrack and not to be overlooked in Guardians of the Galaxy. Peter’s prized possession a Sony Walkman tape deck and mixed tape from his mother form the rhythmic soul of this movie. Not unlike a Quentin Tarantino movie the 70’s vibe is unmistakable. Track highlights include Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede, Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum and a spunky rendition of Cherry Bomb by The Runaways.
As with any film of this type the action is fast and furious, but most surprisingly generously dotted with comedic highlights that come mostly from roguish Peter and the fearlessly sarcastic Rocket Racoon. At its core, though the story really revolves around the concepts of friendship and doing the right thing even if it’s not for the right reasons. Self sacrifice and unity come from not only a necessity, but from a closeness they discover from all being outsiders. As Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill puts it, “we’re all losers, we’ve all lost SOMETHING”, and that is why I think this film works well on so many levels.
Most of us can empathize with being the misfit or underdog, seeing this lot in a hilarious pulse pounding action just works. The movie could have easily devolved into mindless slapstick or space action with no purpose but Michael Bay eye candy but never loses sight of why the characters are drawn instinctively to each other. In one of the most touching scenes that sums up the whole point of the movie the mostly mindless Goot puts it perfectly as he protects his new friends from certain death. “We Are Groot”
I loved this movie, it’s not high culture by any means but a great afternoon popcorn movie that links seamlessly into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in ways that remain to be seen.
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5