After hitting it big with franchises like Iron Man and Captain America, Marvel Studios finally has the assets to risk a film like Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy is indeed a stark departure from MCU’s previous offerings. And let’s face it, the Guardians of the Galaxy group is a complete oddball mixture. We have Chris Pratt as the alien thief Peter Quill, who likes to call himself Star-Lord (because nobody will actually call him that), Zoe Saldana as a green-skinned seductive mutant, Dave Bautista as a tattooed simple-minded enforcer and the altered racoon Rocket and genial tree Groot. These are not the kind of superheroes you would entrust to save the galaxy from forces like Korath, Ronan and the mighty Thanos. But then in their own weird way, they accomplish all that and how. And this underdog spirit is what lends this intergalactic film the best of its self-deprecating humour.
With the mega-crossover treat Avengers Infinity War hitting the theatres on April 27, let’s revisit the good and not-so-great things about Guardians of the Galaxy that came out in 2014.
Five good things about Guardians of the Galaxy:
1. Self-mocking tone
The thing about Guardians of the Galaxy is that you are never sure who or what to take seriously. It seems like director James Gunn (Slither, Super) himself doesn’t take the film all too seriously and that lends the film a perpetual self-deprecating tone. Be it the intermittent squabble between Groot and Rocket or the fact that the characters never let the gravity of the situation affect them, Guardians of the Galaxy has its comic moments spot-on.
2. A story of underdogs
Unlike the previous MCU origin movies which singularly follow the making of a superhero, Guardians of the Galaxy is very well the story of five underdogs and how they team up against the biggest forces threatening the galaxy. In fact, for the longest time, they have their own motives attached to their adventure. While these bunch of bandits were initially only interested in making money by selling the orb (with the infinity stone in it), they find it in themselves to fight for a greater cause. And that’s truly commendable.
3. Visually pleasing intergalactic adventures
As is obvious from the film’s title, Guardians of the Galaxy involves a whole lot of planet-hopping and intergalactic adventures on the part of our heroes. While not a lot of time is spent on forming a backstory for all of the locations, it is definitely aesthetically pleasing to look at the different kinds of world Gunn has created within the film.
4. Kick-ass characters and the perfect cast
While Chris Pratt is just perfect as the man-child Peter Quill, the camaraderie between Groot and Rocket (voiced by Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper) is definitely the most fun part of Guardians of the Galaxy. Zoe Saldana also aces her perpetual stoic face and even Dave Bautista’s awkward delivery works well in his advantage.
One thing that has stood out in Guardians of the Galaxy for most fans is its music. While there is a sentimental value attached to Quill’s mixtape (which by default makes for the film’s soundtrack) as it is the last thing he has of his mother, it is most definitely the most ‘Awesome Mix Tape’ ever. Whether it’s Five Stairsteps’ “O O Child” or “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, the soundtrack sometimes lends a very sombre and sometimes a very goofy overtone to the film.
Four not-so-great things about Guardians of the Galaxy:
1. Not the best climax
While the build-up for the film’s climax was truly remarkable, what we get in the end is not that satisfying after all. The frantic sky battle and all the purple swirly stuff are good to look at but ultimately it all comes down to Quill’s genetic legacy. Which was a disappointment, really. And also, Groot dies.
2. Too many cooks spoil the broth
Guardians of the Galaxy sometimes is just too crowded with characters and incidents that sometimes spell chaos and confusion on the screen. There are just too many things to keep up with: the Nova Corps, the Ravagers, the Kree, Xandarians and everyone else. This is probably one of the reasons that not enough time could be spent by the makers on giving complete character arcs to its leads.
3. Only a set-up
As is the case with most origin movies, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 feels too much of a setting up film for a franchise we can bank on later. As far as the movie’s plotline is concerned, too little happens and the 121 minutes feel like an introduction stretched for far too long.
4. Tardy villains
The thing about MCU is that they just can’t excel at making good villains. While Bad Boy Thanos (Josh Brolin) is just glimpsed over in the film, the villainous tyrant Ronan (Lee Pace) lacks the kind of background story for us to actually fear his presence. Karen Gillan is intriguing as Nebula but she hasn’t been given much to do. Similar is the case with Korath (Djimon Hounsou).