So, if you have Internet access or have left your house in the past week, you’re very likely aware that everyone is losing their minds over Guardians of the Galaxy. And rightfully so. The movie kicks all types of ass in surprising, funny, and heartwarming ways. There’s no shortage of great press about the film, but I figured I’d hop onto the Blastoff rocket before we move away from Marvel Cosmic to give you an awesome mix of reasons why I think this film lives up to the hype. While I suspect a good lot of the folks reading such an article on such a site have seen the film anywhere between twice and I-haven’t-stopped-watching-it-since-it-came-out, there will be no major spoilers in this list just in case you haven’t gotten yourself to a theater yet.
(Go… go now…)
Okay, so first, everyone knows Marvel’s casting choices are so left field that they not only end up circling back around to “Yeah, this makes perfect sense,” they’re just correct. From Robert Downey Jr. to Tom Hiddleston to Scarlett Johansson to… well, everyone, the actors chosen to play the denizens of the Marvel Cinematic Universe become their characters.
I mean, come on:
Perhaps the coolest thing about the larger assembly of Marvel actors, though, is that they all seem to be genuinely down-to-Earth, nice, cool people. Not only does that set the Tumblrverse on fire, it also makes their roles in the films much more enjoyable. Ever since the premiere of Guardians, Chris Pratt has used his newly elevated spot in the limelight to be a freakin’ standup, weird, funny guy.
…don’t add to your enjoyment of Guardians of the Galaxy, you are not a person to whom I relate.
And yeah. That last GIF was Chris Pratt French-braiding an EW intern’s hair. Whoa.
Well, everyone kind of expected this one, huh?
But that’s just the beauty of it. It’s not normal for everyone to unanimously agree that a talking raccoon is one of the best parts of a superhero flick. I look back at the days when folks were worried Thor would be too fantastical in the incredibly grounded, modern MCU… because the surreal journey from “Well, Iron Man could actually happen to Norse gods fighting frost giants to talking raccoons fixing their crotches in space” just flat out works.
Besides being a hilarious character with captivating and truly moving dramatic moments, Rocket Racoon is a statement by Marvel that, with the right team, that can do damn well anything.
And that is exciting.
That a character can convey so much range with one phrase – “I am Groot” – is a testament to both Vin Diesel as an actor and James Gunn as a filmmaker. Dang.
Also, if his final scene doesn’t spawn some of the cutest toys in the world, I’m just going to pack up and go home.
Bald & Blue Karen Gillan on the Big Screen
Really not feeling the need for an explanation for this one. Nope.
Awesome Mix, Vol 1
Besides setting the tone for the movie and setting up an instantly relatable emotional core for Star-Lord’s, Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 is what it claims to be. Another bit of excellent Chris Pratt quotage can be pulled from his USA Today article to support this: “It’s super vintage and really kick-ass.”
It’s also available for purchase to legions of fans who may’ve not given these classics a spin in 2014 but will be rocking out like a spaceman to “Hooked on a Feeling.”
Which leads me to…
Though Pratt’s Star-Lord is probably dancing more often than not in this film, there are three dance sequences that elevated this film to the next level. The first one, and perhaps the most obvious, is the title sequence… which is basically Star-Lord dancing his butt off to Awesome Mix, Vol. 1 over the Guardians logo. It’s a statement from jump that this film is different, so buckle in.
There are two more dances, and they’re both spoilery in nature, so I’ll leave it at this:
Star-Lord & Ronan… this is, perhaps, the coolest moment of a hero confronting a villain since Inigo Montoya told the six-fingered man his name, like, a million times.
Groot… Just Groot. That’s all. (TOYS!)
Everyone wants a female-led Marvel movie, and Guardians of the Galaxy serves to introduce another fully fleshed out, kick-ass, nuanced woman into the fold. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora has far and away the most interested and intricate backstory of the entire cast, and that expansive history is just begging to be told. Joining the ranks of Black Widow, Sif, Maria Hill, and an ever-growing list of leading Marvel ladies that desperately deserve their own headlining projects, Gamora is a step in the right direction for a genre that has, even until now, been very, very white male driven. Gamora’s inclusion as a supporting character here is a baby step, though – I hope that it’s the one of few before Marvel takes the natural step and jumps headfirst into a pool of narrative diversity. These films are wonderful, and a more varied and truthful representation of women and people of color would make them all the more awesome.
Every Line Drax Utters
There are many, many captivating conflicts in this movie. There’s Star-Lord vs. Ronin, Drax vs. Ronin, Ronin vs. Thanos, Gamora vs. Nebula, Star-Lord vs. Blue Merle Dixon… but if there is a single conflict more powerful than Drax’s battle with figurative language, I’m missing something. Putting Drax, who takes everything literally, on a team with the two most sarcastic a-holes in the galaxy is just gold.
Really, The Whole Thing
FINE, this is a cheat. But in revisiting the parts I love the most, I’m amazed all over again that this strange, strange film gels together into a cohesive, funny, beautiful, nuanced work of art. I, for one, can’t wait to see it again and discover more awesome things that I missed.
PAT SHAND writes comics you might know (Robyn Hood, Grimm Fairy Tales, Charmed: Season 10), plays you very likely don’t, and geeky articles that you probably just finished reading. He’s can be found, somewhere still waiting for that cute lil’ Groot toy…