(I’d like to say that this is the first time on Cinema Cocoa that I got the image for this review months before. I just love that poster!)
So in one grasp Marvel Studios attempts to draw all the loose ends developed over their Cinematic Universe so far together. What we get is Guardians of the Galaxy, a wayward child with so much energy and brash enthusiasm for itself it forgot to explain anything.
Peter Quill was abducted by aliens when he was a young boy in the 1980s and now, living among the stars and with alien races, his only solace is his old Walkman music player. This awkward, out of place man finds himself part of a ragtag team of fugitives and mercenaries (most with their own agendas!) roped into defending a civilization from total destruction!
You might think from my initial comments that I didn’t enjoy Guardians, but it is quite the contrary: I really enjoyed it! It feels like a long time since I watched anything like this, and as a sci-fi fan I saw a lot of Star Trek, Star Wars and other space opera influences; Peter Quill’s (aka Starlord) casual flings with pink, green skinned girls is unmistakably James T. Kirk, for example. It is wonderfully designed too with incredible, unqiue colourful visuals. Sets are full of life and energy or mystery, space ships are grand and have exciting technology to make you look on in wonder. That, and some very quotable dialogue that had the whole audience laughing out loud!
But this is Marvel taking the most liberties with its franchise I have seen yet. While Guardians is a hell of a ride, boys-with-toys, action comedy romp with all the great witty dialogue we come to expect from the likes of Tony Stark, it never goes into details.
There are loads of characters, and I mean loads. We have our five leads, we have at least four villains as well as two or three contending factions at war with each other, we also have numerous planets as well as the overarching Marvel story to elaborate! The film is a carpet-bomb of narrative chaos!
The definition of this, for me, is the inclusion of Benicio Del Toro’s “The Collector”, a shady individual seen in the post-credit sequence of Thor 2: The Dark World. Now I don’t know the comics, but I know this man is important… But Guardians doesn’t do anything with him! He has one scene and that’s it. I want exposition Marvel, I want to learn more! Guardians hurls so much at you that if you aren’t “with it” you will be left behind.
Luckily, I was with it, and forgave the shortcomings of narrative. What does make sense here is a stereotypical space opera; you know what’s happening and what will happen in the broader narrative, actual surprises are with the character designs themselves rather than the plot.
I enjoyed it a lot! It is a throwback to classic, pulpy blockbusters before movies had the requirement to be “realistic” or pretentious. I would definitely see it again for the colourful characterisation, the sense of fun, the music, and the dazzling visuals and tech. In fact I regret not seeing this in 3D, not to say this film is gimmicky, but I believe some scenes would be even more dazzling.