Guardians of a Galaxy Not Too Far Far Away [Review]
It’s a commonly held view that there are two types of Science Fiction. Some of the great classics in the vein of Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov seek to present a fully explained, yet fully alien view of the future, but some Science Fiction doesn’t care at all what you know about it, and, in fact, has more fun being completely, incomprehensibly joyous. If I have to explain which one of these styles suits Marvel’s new Guardians of The Galaxy, you probably haven’t even watched the trailer.
This film revels in the unexplained, the ridiculous, the over-the-top, eschewing the need to make the viewer comfortable in favor of making cool stuff, full of heart, happen instead. Remember that scene in The Avengers when Loki begins a serious super-villain speech, and The Hulk decides to just shut him up instead?
Yeah, that’s the one. Guardians of The Galaxy is like that one pure moment of absolute, convention-defying joy for the length of almost an entire movie.
Given Marvel’s history with these characters in comic book form, this portrayal of the Guardians was as perfect as one could get, with piles of jokes based on unique and hilarious character quirks, all sandwiching a few, fleeting moments absolutely bursting with heart. Chris Pratt’s Star Lord is as much of a space bro as is fitting of the original character, mostly an idiotic narcissist, but with real moments of relatability and vulnerability. This dynamic builds with Gamora, Zoe Saldana shutting him down perfectly as the no-nonsense assassin, deadly and competent. Throw in the absolute insanity of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon, who amps up the absolute absurdity and fun of it all, along with Mark Batista as Drax, starting his first appearance sounding like a character straight out of professional wrestling, and eventually racking up some of the funniest fish-out-of water dialogue of the whole film. Plus Vin Diesel is oddly emotive for a sentient tree in Groot, who is beautifully animated for both comedy and a few touching moments. There isn’t much need for an established dynamic between these characters here, given that each is absolutely vibrant, continually stealing the show from one another in the best possible way.
Amid all of the completely joyous insanity of the setting and characters, Guardians of The Galaxy populates itself with the familiar, then promptly offers it up to torn apart in the chaos of the enormity of this universe. Almost every scene is framed by an identifiable trope or pop culture reference, which is then mocked by the characters’ lack of context. It’s a wonderful formula, taking the attitudes and knowledge that we hold as important, making fun of it as immaterial in the extremely vast scope of the entire galaxy, and then handing it back in a way that proves it actually matters.
The process of breaking down the familiar and building it back up again in the setting of this exciting adventurous world makes this film a must-see. The characters are lovable and the perfect amount of ridiculous, with the entire nebulous tone of the film swerving between irreverence and sacredness for every individual piece. There’s no keeping up, no predicting what will happen, and no idea about all of the enormous universe out there that the viewer or the characters can’t possibly understand. But that doesn’t matter at all in the face of such a triumph of personality in each character, place, and idea in Guardians of The Galaxy, all entirely silly and dramatic, all at the same wonderfully nonsensical time.
Guardians of The Galaxy is a must-see Sci-Fi story, succeeding on all levels while making fun of itself on each, and scoring a perfect 5 crowns out of 5:
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