Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

The only reason I feel compelled to comment on Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvels newest big budget smash hit, is that it is universally loved and praised and I have to come in as the voice of moderation. Some could say I am the guardian of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But they wouldn’t.

The film takes a quirky comic book concept and brings it to life on the big screen. After getting laughed out of a previous audition, Parks and Rec actor Chris Pratt went to the gym, did some crunches, and went from being a schlub to a bro. His character in the movie, Starlord, somehow avoids being either and is instead one of the more interesting heroes to come along in super hero movie in a long time. Pratt was a great casting choice.

There are some other characters, like a barely talking tree named Groot (played by Vin Diesel in what may or may not be a joke), a talking cyborg raccoon, a big brutish guy who takes everything literally (as in he doesn’t understand metaphor), and a lady who is there only to look sexy because he story is about as underdeveloped as, well, most female characters in comic book movies.

The team comes together in a fun way, and the movie is overall big, dumb fun. For that very reason, however, it cannot be perfect. The movie trots out a paper thin, uninteresting villain that even the most exuberant fans can’t talk up. Any women in this movie are two dimensional. Physics and science are so theoretical and murky you could almost convince me it was written by creationists. The “the world is at risk” angle has been driven into the ground to the point I no longer care and secretly wish Superman would show up and destroy everything (again). Perhaps the most egregious problem is the soundtrack, which people for some reason love despite the fact it is nothing but top 40 shlock that has been played over and over and over
and over and over
and over and over
and over and over on FM radio for decades. Do people under the age of 50 still get psyched for the Jackson 5? I mean, I guess so. I don’t.

The reason we get all those 70s pop “gems” is because Starlord is a human who is abducted as a kid with nothing more than a Sony Walkman and a mix tape made from his mom as one final “fuck you” to her son before her death. The tape, despite being played repeatedly for twenty years, still sounds great and has not worn out, broken or crinkled up like so many of my cassettes did over the years. I don’t know what the hell that tape is made out of, but the Guardians should use it to protect the hull of their ship.

Go see this movie, throw your money at Disney like an obedient consumer, and enjoy the film for what it is, but do not try to tell me this film does not have any warts. Because you and I will not agree on that point, sir.

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