“You said it, bitch. We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn (Super) and starring Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, and Zoe Saldana, was a risky movie to make, especially for the budget Marvel Studios gave it: $170 million. Gunn, the director, had no major successes and only one movie to his name, and Pratt, the main star, was untested as an action hero. The source material, the Guardians of the Galaxy from Marvel Comics, was a relatively unknown franchise. Did the risk pay off? Yes. It paid off in a big way.
The plot follows Peter Quill, some sort of space outlaw, as he pulls a heist that ends up being much more than he bargained for. He soon falls in with a band of misfit criminals and anti-heroes who are drawn together by the gravity of Peter’s situation, although they can’t agree on where to go, what to do, or even how to work together. Threats are made and guns are drawn as the stakes get higher and higher, eventually forcing each of the characters to choose what kinds of heroes they want to be.
What should we do next: Something good? Something bad? Bit of both?
Reading over that plot summary, I’ll admit: the story seems pretty cliche. There are no mind-blowing plot twists, no interesting uses of technology, no profound statements on the human condition. What elevates this movie are the extremely witty writing and great comical performances by each of the lead actors. This is a very funny movie. From the opening heist sequence where we meet Peter as an adult to the hilariously ill-conceived rescue attempt by Rocket to the best plan ever for defeating a powerful villain, I just loved watching these underdog characters struggle through what other superheroes would have handled gracefully. Each of the heroes grows and matures, and their growth is very satisfying, but the laughs and anti-hero antics are the best part.
I couldn’t help but root for the guardians as I watched this. It’s definitely a film where you want the heroes to win—not for the triumph of good over evil, but because you see that these people can be heroes and they have never been given that credit. If you’ve ever wanted someone to be recognized for some virtue they can’t even see in him or herself, you’ll empathize with this crew. As funny as it is, it’s pretty touching at the same time.
Though Guardians of the Galaxy is a superhero movie (based on Marvel Comics), it’s a lot of fun, requires no knowledge of other Marvel franchises (aside from a quick cameo from a major recurring villain), and is very accessible and relatable. There will be some who don’t care for action or superhero flicks regardless of these factors, but I think this movie has a broader appeal than the vast majority of other similar movies. It’s fun, it’s action-packed, and it’s got heart. If that sounds interesting to you, check it out!
Director: James Gunn
Genres: comedy, sci-fi, superhero