Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Series: Marvel Cinematic Universe: #10

Series: MCU Phase 2: #4

I had forgotten just how fun Guardians of the Galaxy is. Back when I first reviewed it in 2014, it surprised me with how different it was and just how much it opened up the Marvel Universe. Well, we’ve seen some pretty crazy things since then (Thor Ragnarok springs to mind), but it’s still a pretty crazy movie. I mean, come on. It’s a man obsessed with classic rock, a badass green woman assassin, an overly literal shirtless wrestler, a cybernetically enhanced racoon, and a speaking tree 1 2. Add in the first real hints of the Infinity Stones, Thanos as the continuing ‘bigger bad’, and you have a pretty impactful movie.

And then on top of that, you get an absolutely hilarious movie, some wonderful action scenes (the meet up / fight in the square at the beginning is particularly wonderful, but there are several), and a whole range of colorful new characters. When you don’t have to even try to stick to what works on Earth… things get pretty silly.

Overall, a wonderful movie. I think this time around, I actually rate it higher than the Avengers, although still below Iron Man and Captain America 1 and 2. Well worth a watch.

For the record: the ending scene is still kind of dumb.

Random side note: the idea of a whole fleet of starships linking up (somehow) and literally trying to push a very slow moving enemy spaceship back into space is just bonkers. Among a movie full of crazy scenes, that one came the closest to really pulling me out of the film. But so it goes.

Original 2014 review:

Can Marvel do no wrong?

More than anything, Guardians of the Galaxy was the film that people were expecting to flop. An unknown–and quite frankly weird–ensemble cast of characters combined with the first solid taste of the cosmic end of Marvel’s universe and its amazing that they pulled it off at all. Still, Marvel has made a name for itself. That name filled the theaters… and Guardians of the Galaxy lived up to the hype.

Like many of the other Marvel movies, Guardians of the Galaxy thrived on its humor. With both Rocket and Quill wisecracking, Drax’s overly literal nature, and Vin Diesel command of Groot’s native tongue, they had me laughing again and again. Contrasted with a whole pile of more dramatic moments (WE are Groot!) and you have one heck of a solid film.

One thing that I thought they overdid–just a little–was just how much of the universe they threw at viewers. In the rest of the Marvel movies, they’ve done a relatively good job at introducing things slowly. Here, we went from 0 to 60 in minutes flat, with aliens left and right (finally, a movie where humans really are the minority though), a big bad/bigger bad/biggest bad that we’re supposed to somehow care about, and more references and shout outs than you can shake a stick at. That’s one thing The Avengers had going for it–they had a whole slew of prequels to iron out the details. In Guardians of the Galaxy they had to hit the ground running.

Overall, if I had to rank Guardians of the Galaxy against the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I would put it below Captain America (both), Iron Man (the first), and the Avengers. Not too bad otherwise though. This year though, that puts it number 3 of 8. Again and again, this has been an excellent year for movies.

  1. albeit with somewhat limited vocabularly2 ↩︎

  2. at least so far as we know ↩︎ ↩︎