Friday, August 01, 2014
Losers and Proud
The new Marvel joint – the gonzoest of ’em all – Guardians of the Galaxy, is a movie about losers.
It probably also is the funnest blockbuster the studio has produced so far, in spite of its esoteric, albeit trademark-by-now plot, for here is a Marvel movie that kinda sorta takes a break from the big picture that has driven and continues to propel the action for the Avengers, yet very much stays on point and manages to be fun and have fun.
In other words, this one may be quite a departure...but it’s more of the same as well.
And we all know how much enjoy just about everything Marvel does (because they do do it so well).
Directed by James Gunn (Slither, Super), Guardians of the Galaxy marks the launch of a new far-away-set franchise populated by some loco not-so-proven-yet folks (like a mayhem-loving raccoon...and a talking tree) with a self-contained story/parallel look at that same big picture on which Iron Man et al. already have left their mark.
Trust me, it’s a good thing. A bit of a throwback to the all-in devil-may-care gamble that Marvel took with Iron Man back in the late 2000s, but, y’ know...one made with an incredibly well-seasoned grasp on the game.
Starring Hollywood’s Ittest of new leading men, Chris Pratt, Avatar’s Zoë Saldana, and MMA fighter-turned-actor David Bautista (and featuring the rather invaluable voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper), Guardians of the Galaxy centers on a quintet of intergalactic misfits that must overcome their impulses and a host o’ differences in order to save the galaxy (well, more like Xandar, a distant planet of the Marvelverse) from the all-destroying power of a force similar to the Aether and the Tesseract of productions past.
Pratt, in his star-making role, plays Peter Quill, a.k.a. (in his own mind) Star-Lord, the legendary outlaw. He’s a Terran (that is, an earthling) who was taken from Earth by some space pirates when he was 8, right after his mom died without having the chance to, uh...maybe tell him he’s like, hella way more than meets the naked eye, and who has grown into a (studly) smart aleck rogue of the first order, and Pratt is just so winning in the part.
Which is the joy of watching of these movies in the first place. We spend our jack on these big-budget extravaganzas looking to see these stars (RDJ, G.P., ScarJo, SLJ, Chrises Hemsworth, Evans, and now Pratt) have fun portraying these comic-book characters we either love or know very little about, right.
We don’t do it for the story!
Not seriously really, anyway....
All this to say, Quill’s just stolen this Orb that just about everybody else’s coveting, including Saldana’s green-hued Gamora, the weaponized, but noble adopted daughter of the long-foreshadowed Thanos, and Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, a Kree warrior with a hardon for Xandar that’s spoiling to procure the Orb for Thanos so the big bad can make good on his promise to destroy Xandar for him.
Of course, Thanos, voiced by Josh Brolin, is the one who ultimately wants these items, these Infinity Stones we have come across in all these Marvelventures. But you know that – you know that if you’ve been watching these blockbusters.
Needless to say, Quill’s not about to let anyone destroy the galaxy he’s a part of, so he rallies his newfound band of ragtag friends (Bautista’s revenge-seeking and literal Drax the Destroyer, Cooper’s genetically engineered and badass Rocket, and Diesel’s imposing Groot, a kind, not-so-verbose giant humanoid tree-creature-like alien...thing) to defend their turf.
They may not be the the smartest bunch, or the toughest, and they just very well may be the biggest idiots around, but they are what we have – what they have – and they rock (they rock it to the tune of one of the better, funner soundtracks of late).
Better yet, in the end the movie lets them claim the unexpected, if well-earned title of Guardians of the Galaxy, and grow up and, become better versions of themselves. Bonafide superheroes we’ll welcome with opens arms in many a sequel or crossover to come
What...was with that post-credits tag at the very end of the movie, though?
Wacky stuff. And so...fitting.
My Rating ****