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Guardians of the Galaxy - Spoiler-free review

Posted by Nathan Strum, 01 August 2014 · 1,330 views

Movies
Currently waiting in line at the theater with my peeps (okay... I don't actually have any "peeps"... but I am saving seats for a couple of friends...) to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I'll admit I was surprised to hear Marvel was making this into a movie. I was a comic book collector and Marvel fan-boy in the 80's, and even I had never read the GotG comic book. I seem to recall something about it, but had just dismissed it as some weird, obscure title involving their "cosmic" characters, which I was never into. Not sure what I thought it was about at the time, but after seeing the movie trailers I attributed it to being Marvel's in-house answer to Star Wars (they were doing the official Star Wars comic in the 70's and 80's, but didn't own any of the properties). However, after a few Google searches, that didn't make sense since the original comic book came out in 1969. So I'm still not certain about the genesis of it, and it's the 2008 comic book reboot that serves as the basis for this film, not the earlier iteration.

Anyway, it seems now to be more of a sci-fi franchise, than an obscure super-hero one. In the next couple of hours, I'll find out (now sitting in the theater, waiting for showtime). I won't have the time to post the full review until tomorrow - so tune back in then!

(The next day...)

That was a fun movie! I thought the trailers looked pretty funny, and (for once) they did a god job of conveying the mood of the film, without spilling the best parts of it. GotG has a lot of really funny moments, and some genuinely heartfelt ones as well. The action is top-notch throughout, with excellent special effects (although at times things get a bit too busy on-screen, but then again, I'm old).

What makes the movie work so well is the ensemble cast. They're all memorable characters, with different personalities that play off of each other very well, yet each has their own moment to shine. That's particularly notable since two of them (Rocket and Groot) are entirely CGI, and they were clearly the favorites of the audience. Rocket has the best lines in the film, and Groot is just an amazing, almost magical character. As the film unfolds, you see more sides of Groot's personality and astonishing abilities. I really wasn't sure what to expect from a walking tree and talking raccoon, but I was absolutely delighted with them both (particularly Groot). Perhaps due to the time constraints of the movie, the heroes may have gelled a bit too easily and quickly, but once together as a team, they clicked very well and were a lot of fun to watch.

The movie has a lot of groundwork to cover (typical of an origin story), and that got a bit disjointed at times, especially for people not familiar with some of the more obscure aliens in the Marvel comic universe. For the most part though, everyone seemed able to follow along, since at its core, it's a good guy vs. bad guy movie. Even there though, there are layers to it, with bad guys that are the focus of this film, and then those who are pulling their strings, setting up things for future Marvel movies.

GotG is clearly building along towards some other, bigger future event that will cross over to other Marvel movies. It sets itself up as the beginning of a franchise with clear opportunities for sequels, and I for one can't wait to see the next one.

I had a lot of fun (there's that word again) watching Guardians of the Galaxy. As much as any Marvel film that I've seen, and as much as any recent sci-fi film I can recall. It bridges the sci-fi and superhero worlds very well. And while not a perfect film
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it's a crowd-pleaser, and well-worth plunking down the money to see it on the big screen.

Guardians of the Galaxy gets 8.5/10. Check it out. Buy extra popcorn.




Updated with the full review.
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Oh, and right up until the end credits, I thought I was watching Woody Harrelson as Yondu. Nope. It was Michael Rooker. Good makeup. Great character.
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My folks and I took my nephew to see it last night, we all had fun.  My dad and I did find this odd:

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Yeah, but it made for a good joke.

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Sigh.  I wasn't going to see this until I read Howard Tayler's review (confirmed by yours).  So now I've got to dodge spoilers until I get a chance to see it for myself.

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Saw it again this weekend in 3D with some friends who hadn't seen it yet.  I was surprised at the difference 3D made

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Reply to Nathans' spoiler:

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I think the last movie I saw twice was the Avengers. It's a pretty rare thing anymore, given the cost of going to movies these days. Before that, I can't recall.

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Hmm... I must be the only person in the galaxy who didn't think the movie was all that.  I started watching it on video and turned it off about half-way because it was just a bunch of random 80s pop-culture references and musical cues that didn't appeal to me even back then.  I couldn't follow much the plot because I couldn't get into it, and because the stupid references kept pulling me out. *shrug*

 

I also was never into Marvel or DC comics.  I read a few when I was a kid, but nothing regular.  My regular go-tos were the Donald Duck/Scrooge McDuck series, Richie Rich, and Asterix; with a bit of Mad Magazine here and there.  Oh, later I discovered Groo, from Sergio Aragonés.  I guess I'm weird. *double-shrug*

 

    -dZ.

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