What We’re Watching: Guardians of the Galaxy
Ever since its initial announcement, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was deemed a risky venture—it introduced a generally unknown group of characters, and was tasked with tying in Marvel’s cosmic era to the already established cinematic universe. Now, less than a week after the film’s release, it’s safe to say that Guardians of the Galaxy is already a massive success. Bold, authentic, and downright hilarious, the Guardians already have a sequel slated for a summer 2017 release—it’s apparent that Marvel’s motley crew is here to stay.
The film starts by introducing a young Peter Quill, who is abducted from Earth in the wake of his mother’s death. Fast-forward 26 years and Quill—or Star Lord, as he so often calls himself—literally dances through the ruins of an abandoned planet, eventually stealing an orb-like artifact. Soon after Quill meets Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot—a bunch of intergalactic criminals, thrown together by misfortune and circumstance.
It turns out that the orb is an object of great cosmic power; unfortunately for the Guardians and the galaxy at large, Ronan the Accuser—a radical military leader in the Kree army—wants the orb in order to destroy the Xandarians, the Kree’s timeless enemies. Spurned on by the threat of galactic genocide, the Guardians go from nearly killing each other, to banding together in order to save the universe.
Although the plot is filled with the ever-present threat of galactic peril—worlds inhabited by billions face annihilation, entire species are threatened by genocide, and high-speed dogfights take place in the beauty of space—it’s merely the backdrop upon which the galaxy’s most rag-tag group of heroes comes together. The beauty of the plot is in the evolution of the Guardians, who go from being simply united by a common goal to developing a nobler purpose, supplemented by true friendship.
Character & Cast
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel play the Guardians—Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot, respectively. The casting for this movie was handled perfectly, and makes for an intimidate, hilarious movie.
Pratt’s Quill, the de-facto leader of the Guardians, is loveable, hilarious, and relatable. A criminal with a heart of gold, Quill comes off as a combination of Han Solo and Marty McFly. Saldana and Bautista both play their roles extremely well, portraying characters who initially appear as if they should be taken at face value, only to show an unexpected depth as the film goes on. Rocket and Groot, played by Cooper and Diesel respectively, are phenomenal. As a packaged duo the two are reminiscent of Steinbeck’s George and Lennie—Rocket provides wit, guile, and humor, whereas Groot acts as his smaller friend’s enforcer. The two often combine for some of the film’s best moments.
The Guardians all have their own stories, which are slightly touched on throughout the film. After the film I had a good idea of each character—I knew their strengths, weaknesses, and what made them tick. However, the Guardians’ greatest strength is their development as a single unit. The relationships the Guardians shared were intimate, and without coming off as too cliché, it felt as if you were one of them. As I walked out of the theater I felt significantly invested in all of the characters as individuals, and as a group.
“We are Groot.”
Visuals & CGI
Guardians of the Galaxy admittedly makes use a lot of CGI; however, it never comes off as over-the-top. In fact, it’s quite the opposite—Guardians of the Galaxy is gorgeous. Whether you’re on Quill’s ship, The Milano, an alien world, or flying through space at the speed of light, its easy to get immersed in the film. Additionally, the alien characters are beautifully done. They remain relatively simple—often humanoid, bipedal creatures—while being strikingly foreign at the same time.
Additionally, the film boasts some of the best-orchestrated scenes I’ve seen in a long time—Quill’s outrageous introduction where he sings and dances through a ruined alien city comes to mind. I felt as if I were exploring the galaxy with the Guardians, and was part of this great adventure.
Guardians of the Galaxy is, to put it rather simply, a phenomenal film. It’s immersive, hilarious, intimate, and exciting throughout. In my opinion this might be the best Marvel film to date, which is really saying something. But I think that many will agree with me. The Guardians will definitely be returning to the big screen for a sequel; however, the real question is whether or not they’ll make a guest appearance in another Marvel film before their 2017 stand-alone.
Jack Haanraadts is currently an undergraduate student at SUNY New Paltz. He thoroughly enjoys reading and writing, philosophical debates, soccer, and a quality cup of coffee. Follow him on Twitter: @JackRyanHaanraadts.