Marvel Studios took a risk in 2008 with a big budget project called Ironman. At the time, the comic book character was considered a lesser-known or a second stringer unlike Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four or The Hulk. It was debatable if audiences outside of the traditional comic book fan would bother to see such a movie. Well, we know how that story ended. Since then, Marvel has been spitting out new movie versions of their comic characters left and right and most have succeeded with the general population.
. It was debatable if audiences outside of the traditional comic book fan would bother to see such a movie. Well, we know how that story ended. Since then, Marvel has been spitting out new movie versions of their comic characters left and right and most have succeeded with the general population.
This weekend, the studio is taking another risk by bringing a fairly obscure franchise to the big screen: Guardians of the Galaxy. Many have never even heard of these characters until just recently, except for the diehard fans. It will be interesting to see how the masses will respond this time around. I too am unfamiliar with the Guardians, so I can only judge the movie based on what I saw on the big screen. I have no idea if the film is faithful to the printed material or not.
Though technically a comic book movie, Guardians has its own look and feel that is unlike any other Marvel franchise, except for maybe Thor. The humor is ramped up a bit, though not as campy as you would find in the 1960’s version of Batman and it is not even close to the seriousness of the latest Superman flick, Man of Steel. And for being a brand new story for most people, Guardians is sort of an anti-origin story.
The movie opens with Peter Quill, a little boy who witnesses his mother’s death due to an illness at a hospital. So distraught by the incident, he runs out of the hospital and immediately gets abducted by aliens. The film then fast-forwards about 30 years and Peter is all grown up looking like Chris Pratt scavenging through rubble while listening to his Sony Walkman that he had while he was on earth. (How that device held up all these years is also a mystery.) Like the missing years of Jesus in the Bible, we don’t know what happened to Peter or how he ended up where he is.
We do know that Peter is looking for a mystery orb of some kind for a dealer willing to pay big bucks for it, but he is not the only one. Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), doesn’t seem to realize that he is indeed a raccoon, and gets offended when people refer to him as a rodent. Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a walking tree trunk-type being who only utters the phrase, “I am Groot.” When his tree branches get yanked off, he just grows back new ones. And then there is Gamora (Zoe Saldana in green instead of Avatar blue). She is the step-daughter of Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), a well-hated man who also wants the orb. I don’t even know what Drax (Dave Bautista) is.
Guardians looks more similar to Star Wars than it does The Avengers – and weak version to boot. Since both Marvel and Lucasfilm are not under the control of Disney, one has to wonder if this is any indication of what we can expect with the new Star Wars film being shot right now.
Guardians has been getting a lot of press and hoopla the last few months and it is bound to please the true fanboys, but it may leave other scratching their heads. It isn’t a terrible movie, but there isn’t much to it. The characters are likeable, but we don’t know anything about any of them. Pratt is actually very good in the role of Peter or “Star Lord,” as he refers to himself and insists that “everyone” knows him by that title, although only a few actually do. He is sort of the Luke Skywalker/Han Solo of the story all rolled up into one character. He is cocky and heroic. The budding romance between Peter and Gamora seems to come out of nowhere. Rocket and Groot are fun to watch, but again, we don’t know anything about the pair. (It is interesting to note that the studio choose Van Diesel to voice Groot in that it have been played just as well from a non-name actor. He only says three words, albeit over and over again, throughout the whole movie. Impressively though, Van Diesel did record the phrase in a number of different languages for foreign distribution of the film, being the only character to not have his voice dubbed by another actor.)
Don’t expect to find any heavy themes or meanings with this movie and be aware that this flick has a little more harsh language than other Marvel hits. At least good triumphs over evil once again and during the end credits, it is spilled that the Guardians will be coming back soon with a continuing story.