After a year of waiting, Guardians of the Galaxy was finally unleashed upon audiences this weekend and, if the box office numbers are any indication, a good chunk of the country made sure to hit their local multiplex this weekend to see exactly what Marvel had up their sleeve.
The trailers and TV spots a-plenty really only gave fans the briefest of glimpses into the newest chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, usually to the tune of Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”. This was enough to get people into those seats but once they were seated and their money paid, was Marvel’s latest outing worth all of the hype surrounding it? In a word, YES.
In case you are as unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy as the rest of the world was, the premise is fairly straight forward: after attempting to steal a relic, a thief by the name of Peter Quill (or Star-Lord, if you like that better – he sure does), winds up in jail with some less than heroic companions: Gamora (a mercenary with a wicked reputation), Rocket and Groot (a raccoon who is a product of experimentation and a tree who protects him, respectively), and Drax the Destroyer (a warrior out to avenge the deaths of his wife and daughter). After realizing that they are each other’s only hope for surviving prison, they devise a plan to recover the relic and bust out of the clink. Once they escape, their adventure really begins as super evil bad guy Ronan the Accuser starts to chase the group in an effort to obtain the relic, an orb that holds unlimited power.
Guardians of the Galaxy begins with a heart breaking scene that bullet-points the importance of Quill’s Walkman and the music that acts as the backdrop to the film. Once the sadness is over, the audience is treated to Quill’s attempt to grab that relic, all while dancing to the music pounding through his earphones. This is just one of the many humorous scenes that make Quill likeable. As a matter of fact, dancing plays a large part throughout the film and it’s safe to say that the last dancing scene in the movie will likely be many viewers’ favorite scene and will have you smiling about it days after viewing.
The actors – Chris Pratt (Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Lee Pace (Ronan), Karen Gillan (Nebula), and Michael Rooker (Yondu) – were all at the top of their form and there is no doubt they were having a blast while filming. Bradley Cooper (Rocket) and Vin Diesel (Groot) were able to each bring something deep and emotional to their voice work, a monumental feat in Diesel’s case considering the only words that his character speaks are “I am Groot.” Both of these characters made a lot of new fans this weekend, and with good reason. The animation team that brought them to life truly captured the their motivation and translated it perfectly to their digital performances.
James Gunn brought out the best performances from each of his actors, but almost as importantly he created an entire galaxy that was more than just believable – it was almost a perfect commercial for interspace travel. The creatures Gunn came up with – as well as the in-jokes for fans of the comic book series – were very clever, creative, and really gave viewers the sense of a truly diverse galaxy. Add this to Gunn’s grasp of how to handle an action scene and the absolutely brilliant choices in the soundtrack, and you get one of the most perfect science fiction movies this year. The movie was full of heart and laughter and even some tears, and each emotion was carefully and thoughtfully evoked through Gunn’s choices.
The important thing to note here is that Guardians is also the first Marvel Studios movie that does not directly tie in to The Avengers. Yes, Thanos is still the big baddie pulling the strings, but there is no connection with the heroes who fought the Battle of New York. This is important because it shows that Marvel movie fans are not just tracking the adventures of their favorite Avengers; they are actually following Marvel in order to see where the movie studio will take them.
As a matter of fact, Guardians marks the fourth movie this year based off of a Marvel Comics’ property (after Captain America 2, Amazing Spider-Man 2, and X-Men: Days of Future Past) and each one has taken the number one spot at the box office on opening weekend. In the case of Guardians, it is the only one of those movies that was not a sequel. Only Captain America 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy are official Marvel Studios’ movies, but that hasn’t stopped fans from flocking to the theater in droves to catch the latest Marvel event.
If you are one of the few who chose to postpone your trip to the movies this weekend hoping to avoid the crowd or, perhaps, waiting for the many positive reviews to roll in, you missed out on a great experience! Yes, the theaters were packed, but sitting in a theater full of fans who cheer their favorite scenes only lends to the experience. Luckily, you will likely have another chance to experience this comradery over the weekend since it is very likely Guardians will still be selling out theaters. However, if you want to avoid any spoilers, you’ll want to get out and experience this movie for yourself as quickly as possible. It is guaranteed that the Guardians will be taking over the internet this week, as well they should.