What a world we live in.
If a movie about the Guardians of the Galaxy had come out just a few years ago, we’d have assumed it was just some sort of goofball science fiction flick, and chances are it wouldn’t have gained much traction.
Now, in the wake of Marvel’s grand interconnected cinematic experiment, we have a film which is indeed a goofball science fiction flick, but has become a success with audiences and critics alike. And Marvel is going so strong in its rolling out movie versions of its properties that it can spend the latest post-credit scene tease characters like Howard the Duck.
Howard the Duck!
Is he going to be the star of a new Marvel mini-franchise, one of many that are promised in the next few years?
Or could it be that we’ve already seen his Marvel movie outing – that they will tie the Lea Thompson-starring bomb from the late 80’s into the same continuity as The Avengers?
Just kidding. Actually, I haven’t seen Howard the Duck, but I keep talking about it with my friend Rod. I’m sure we’ll get to it at some point.
Back to Guardians of the Galaxy. A goofy science fiction flick? Absolutely. But with that same combination of action, snark, and laughs that we got from the Avengers? The proportions are a bit different, but basically yes. So another winner, that can even keep the non-superhero fan entertained? Based on the response of my wife, yeah, pretty much.
At first, I was afraid that the backstory of Guardians was threatening to be a bit muddled – with all the various alien races and factions being introduced. But it didn’t take too long to sort out the players. And once the movie puts its heroes together into a near-classic five man band formation, it takes us on a smooth roller-coaster ride without hitting any real bumps.
The so-called Guardians are a fun bunch. We don’t get too personal with any of them, yet they are such a memorable and easily loved ensemble that you can’t help but to feel connected to them. In that way, this movie may be the truest successor to the original Star Wars film that I’ve ever seen. Rocket (the cybernetically modified raccoon) and Groot (the lovable tree warrior with a limited vocabulary) seem to have caught on the most with audiences, but three protagonists who are actually played by actors in the traditional sense are also used well. The main character, of course, is the self proclaimed Star Lord, and I thought Chris Pratt did a fine job creating someone who was the right combinations of self-interest and heroism to anchor something like this.
The villains were more of a mixed bunch. Yondu, the smuggler with the absurdly powerful whistle-obeying arrow, was more annoying than anything. Ronan was serviceable but not particularly interesting as the film’s primary threat (rating, perhaps, a few steps above Malkeith from Thor: The Dark World). I’m not sure where they are going with Thanos – the supposed mad Titan comes across as not much more than a space godfather gangster in this film. And I was all prepared to like Nebula, thanks to my fondness for actress Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond character on Doctor Who – but the story didn’t give her much to do or me much to go on. Oh well, it looks like she’ll be around for the sequel.
But the shortcomings in Guardians of the Galaxy are pretty mild. There’s a lot to enjoy in the film. It’s jam-packed full of well-trodden science fiction clichés, but it has enough self-awareness about them all that the end result is a rollicking good time.