Guardians of the Galaxy Review (kinda)

Minor spoilers, but nothing you haven’t seen in the trailers, probably.

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Not really a review, as such, but a few comments on what was, for me, an enjoyable, if frustrating movie.

First of all, the names may be the same, but this isn’t really the Guardians of the Galaxy.  It just doesn’t ‘feel’ right.  This may be because this is the one Marvel movie that I had a lot invested in.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Avengers comics and the X-men, Spiderman, Hulk, all that stuff, but for me ‘Cosmic’ Marvel was what spoke to me in ways ‘non-cosmic’ Marvel simply couldn’t attempt. For me, the whole cosmic line was what comics were all about.  I lived and breathed the fringier stuff. Everything from the Guardians and Warlock through to the horror titles of Tomb of Dracula and Blade, Howard the Duck, Man Thing; I would actively seek out anything with the names Jim Starlin, Steve Gerber, Val Meyerick, Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan.  They did the good shit. When (all Hail King) Jack Kirby did his mental cosmic stuff with the Fantastic Four, I was there, when The Eternals broke out and turned the earth into a playround for god, I bloody lapped it up, even the stately Inhumans and the frankly barking “Michael” stories in the Avengers;  make it ‘Cosmic’ and its mine; and I will love it with all my heart.

Okay, so that’s what I had invested in this movie.   Just the notion of it has meant more to me than the recent slew of – admittedly hugely entertaining – Marvel Studios output.

This is probably why – even though I was ignoring as much of the hype as I could – it was destined to disappoint.

It wasn’t *my* Guardians of the Galaxy, it didn’t have the batshit craziness and scope of the original comics.  It all felt a little restrained and a bit hollow. Yeah, i know it *isn’t* restrained at all, but having lived with this stuff in my head for so many years, seeing someone else’s vision has fixed my elaborate fantasy world into being something . . . lesser.  Maybe this is a common call.  I didn’t read Lord of the Rings, so that was an entirely new world for me which worked wonderfully.  Some fans thought otherwise.  I guess it’s the same here.

Now, the thing is, I was fully preapred to be completely disappointed and to leave the cinema angry and upset.

I didn’t.

Why?

Because it fucking rocked!

Okay it’s isn’t MY Guardians of the Galaxy – where was Martinex, Nikki, Charlie-27, Vance Astro, Starhawk/Aleta and what on earth happened to Yondu? – but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie at all.  Within about 15 minutes, I’d recognised that my Guardians live exclusively in my head and this was something else.  So I went along for the ridiculously enjoyable ride.

The best thing about it is that it feels a million miles away from the increasingly cozy Marvel Universe and smacks of something new. Groot completely steals the show for me and the much anticipated Rocket Raccoon doesn’t.  If the Guardians comics had a weak point, it was Rocket, that’s not quite true here, as clearly more time has been invested in making him real than, say, giving Karen Gillan something to do.  Given that she is Nebula, I would have thought that stamping shouting a lot would be the least of her traits, rather than her entire character, but I suspect this will change in the sequel.

Ronan was simply beautiful. The design and realisation was a thing of utter joy. Witnessing the power of one of the infinity gems was rather wonderful, too.  I think we finally get an insight to where the collection of gems is leading to.

Starlord? Um… y’know what?  In the comics he was always arrogant, but he was never a dick.  Sadly, that’s not true here. I know it was supposed to make him lovable, but a dick is a dick.  Groot was much better and far more noble.

From a techical standpoint, the only thing that really niggled me that the much hallowed “Awesome Mix 1” sometimes got in the way.  Sometimes, the songs were just innapropriate, sometimes – and this is unforgiveable – they obscured huge tracts of dialogue.  This wasn’t a “Pink Room” kind of deal, just shoddy sound editing.

Quibbles aside, it still works really well.  It’s frenetic, stupid, grim, serious, funny, has a couple of brilliant pieces of design  (Ronans ship!) and one concept that is truly worthy of the batshitcraziness of the 70’s ‘comsic name’ . . . and I’m not going to say what that is, though.

Despite the negativity, when the movie ended, I wanted more.

I want to see Adam Warlock and I really want an Avenger/Guardians team-up which of course would make perfect sense in relation to  the Warlock/Thor/Infinity Gem storyline…but it’s actually a little bit of a gem on it’s own.  A stand alone piece of outrageous fun.

Oh, and the post-credit sequence?   Well, read the second paragraph and and understand why I screamed at the revelation and started crying . . .

It made me *that* happy.

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