Guardians of the Galaxy

August 2, 2014

I’ve never seen anything like this.

I mean, I have.  This is the ragtag group of misfits on the run who must come together and learn to trust each other in order to defeat bad guys who want to destroy the world.  That, I’ve seen.  But never with a CGI raccoon person that was so good I forgot he was CGI. And with gorgeous spaceships in a beautiful four-color space opera world.  And that’s genuinely a comedy.  With an amazing classic 70’s soundtrack that was totally appropriate. (And to think, when the 1980 Flash Gordon came out, people laughed at the idea that you could have a 70’s pop soundtrack on a space opera.  They’re not laughing now.  I mean, they are, but they’re supposed to be.)  The whole thing cohered.

And though I’ve never seen anything quite like this, it kept reminding me of other things.

For a few years after Star Wars was first released, a lot of people tried to hop on that train, because of course they did.  Unfortunately, none of those efforts had Lucasfilm’s proprietary special effects processes, meticulous production design, charming cast, earnestness, or ability to become a genuine cultural phenomenon.  The Star Wars-wannabe I always think of as being a prime example of this is Battle Beyond the Stars, produced by the legendary Roger Corman.  Go on, go watch the trailer, so you can understand just what we’ve had to put up with if we wanted to watch space opera.

So yeah, I’m watching Guardians and weirdly thinking about Battle Beyond the Stars, because of course Guardians is the movie all those Star Wars knock-offs wished they could be.

The other movie this brought to mind, mentioned by one of my friends, is The Last Starfighter.  Because Guardians made us feel like The Last Starfighter did when we were all teenagers or almost teenagers and really wanted to go have an adventure that meant something.

While Guardians made me think of all those other things, it still isn’t quite like anything I’ve ever seen before.  Which is so cool. And you know my developing rant about how we’re all starved for earnest and optimistic stories where people come together and save things unironically?  This.  This this this.  Right here.  They just went for it, and it’s great.  This movie is a throwback, in the best possible way, which makes the 70’s soundtrack even more thematically appropriate.

You know what this movie didn‘t have?  An opening scroll and/or voiceover.  SEE, SPACE MOVIES, YOU DON’T NEED AN OPENING SCROLL AND VOICEOVER OR LONG EXPOSITORY INFODUMPS. YOU JUST DON’T.

Easter Eggy Review:

The epilog/first pre-credits bit:  This may be the happiest, most joyful scene in a movie I’ve ever seen in my life.  Even now I think of it and smile.  This will make me smile forever.

Post-credit Easter Egg:  Marvel Studios says, “You thought you were going to get an Avengers 2 teaser here, didn’t you?  Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!”  Followed by everyone leaving the theater muttering, “Dear God, please tell us they aren’t actually going to be making a movie of that.

Ten movies into this cycle/saga, and Marvel Studios can still surprise us.  I love it.


8 Responses to “Guardians of the Galaxy”

  1. barbtaub Says:

    I had a terrific time seeing Guardians in a theater full of 12 year-olds. They didn’t get the music, and most of the jokes went right over their heads. But they loved the movie passionately, and many of them knew incredibly arcane details about backstories (including identities in that last easter egg!). So I have to agree with you that Guardians is terrific. Definitely one for multiple viewings.

  2. David Says:

    The reaction in the theater I was in the stinger scene was priceless. I wish I had recorded it – a simultaneous surprised laugh/gasp of horror/whaaaaaat?!?

  3. aaron Says:

    I loved cosmo the spacedog in there but i realy wanted him to make a comment in the stinger scene.

  4. When I saw the stinger I stared laughing, because I figured half the people in the theater were silently screaming, “God, NO!”

  5. sef Says:

    My one comment nobody else got: I’ve finally seen a knife missile in action.

  6. Vampyre Says:

    Hi there,

    I usually just stalk Kim Harrison but I’ve read all of the Kitty books, Golden Age books and Discord books so I thought I’d stop by and say Hi.

    I’m also looking forward seeing the Guardians movie. Most likely, I’ll see it Monday.

    I think I found a way to tell if there will be an after credit scene in a Marvel movie. If you see Stan Lee in the movie, there will be one.

    Love your books. Keep writing and I’ll keep on reading. 😉


  7. Ian Osmond Says:

    … I actually liked BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS. But that’s because my wife and I spent a Saturday watching SEVEN SAMURAI, then THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, then BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS right in a row straight through. If you watch it THAT way, well, it’s still not as good as FLASH GORDON.

    And neither is GUARDIANS. So, y’know. That.

  8. jaredmolo Says:

    I enjoyed it, though I kind of agree with my older sister that the movie had a somewhat sexist undercurrent to it. On that note, the only female character who felt like more than just “The Chick” was Karen Gillan’s Nebula.

    Overall, I’d give it a “B+”.

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