By Joanna Mendoza
I went into a screening of Guardians of the Galaxy expecting to have a good time. I love Chris Pratt and, save for that time when Bradley Cooper was proclaimed Sexiest Man Alive instead of Ryan Gosling, I’ve always liked him too.
But I did have apprehensions because people kept saying that Guardians is just like The Avengers but with characters people don’t care, much less know, about. Me being probably the only person who has yet to finish watching The Avengers, I took that as a bad sign.
But Guardians turned out to be good, really good. It doesn’t have the sophistication of The Avengers, but its tongue-in-cheek feel is quite refreshing. The superheroes, although possessing the requisite over-bloated sense of self-importance, don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. And it’s this very fine mix of, as The Guardian put it, “sprightly self-satire and operatic self-belief that superhero stories need” that makes you take the film seriously—and still have a really good laugh.
THE SLIGHTLY BAD
The formula In Guardians of the Galaxy, Quill (Pratt), Rocket (a genetically engineered raccoon voiced by Cooper), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are forced to band together to stop the evil Ronan (Lee Pace) from getting his hands on a weapon called the Orb. Been there, done that? This observation by Entertainment Weekly made me laugh like a crazy person: “Actually, if [director James] Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman had just called the orb a tesseract, you’d basically be rewatching The Avengers.”
To be fair, the setting is different. Instead of it all going down here on Earth, everything takes place in an alien planet called Xandar. A lot of people have said that Guardians feels like Star Wars, Pratt’s Peter Quill being an updated version of Han Solo. It’s been ages since I last saw any Star Wars movie, so my point of reference is more Star Trek Into Darkness. Either way, the setting is the type of thing you’d want to see in amusement parks.
THE VERY, VERY GOOD
The humor Superhero movies have become such big Hollywood events over the past several years. Guardians seems to poke fun at that idea, but it has just enough touch of irreverence that it’s still a legit superhero movie and not a mere parody.
The music It felt so good to hear classic rock songs amidst all that modern out-of-this-world-ness. The movie’s music is a throwback to simpler times and a nice contrast to all that mess the Guardians find themselves in in that alien planet Xandar.
And it isn’t a beautiful tool just for the movie itself. It does something different for the audience too. Of course I can’t speak for everyone who’s seen it, but at least in my experience, the music made me connect to Guardians on a deeper, much personal level. And it distracted me from those canned special effects sounds like explosions and the BWAAANG.
The cast What’s not to love? Everyone is funny and adorable… just amazing. But if I had to pick favorites, I’d say Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper. Why? Just watch the movie and you’ll understand.