It’s afforded the genre some much-needed credibility, but while every other superhero film is desperate to be considered “serious cinema,” Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t bother.
Set in the far reaches of space, Guardians of the Galaxy is based on Marvel’s admittedly obscure comic line of the same name. As if the idea of Norse gods and high tech robot suits weren’t unbelievable enough, Marvel Studio decides to take a gamble on one of their strangest properties yet.
A young Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted from his family by a mysterious alien spaceship. Twenty five years later, he’s become a Ravager, part of a rag tag group of interstellar thieves and smugglers who scour the universe for loot and booty.
But when Peter steals a mysterious metal orb in hopes of a big payday, he ends up becoming the target of Ronan (Lee Pace), a vindictive alien hell bent on unlocking the mysterious properties of the orb. Peter is a marked man, but when he teams up with the tough-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the sharpshooting raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper), the sentient eight-feet tree Groot (Vin Diesel), and the blade-wielding Draxx (Dave Bautista), they all end up on a wild, action-packed and hilarious romp to save the galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy is very much like a child’s play pen, a smorgasbord of toys and trinkets that have no business being together. But as with any child’s imagination, talking trees and a gun-toting raccoon are all par for the course. This is a universe where cities are built inside the heads of celestial beings, and where astronaut dogs are no stranger than world-destroying gems.
But this is a universe that isn’t steeped on pretentious notions, nor is it weighed down by logic. This is a film from a child’s imagination. And if the Guardians anything to say about it, they are never growing up.
Marvel Studios has always injected levity into their films, but Guardians of the Galaxy takes that fondness to a whole other level thanks to the guiding and irreverent hands of director James Gunn.
Unlike other superhero films, Guardians of the Galaxy does away with a lot of the origin story fluff, and keep things tight and running at a near dizzying pace.
While The Avengers took a laborious (though satisfying) five films to assemble, Guardians of the Galaxy gets everyone in check by the very first hour. And just when things are about to tip over into heavy-handed seriousness, it always comes back to comedy territory.
When Rocket demands Peter for a reason to save the galaxy, Peter only snaps back at him saying, “Because I’m one of the idiots who live there!”
The story of Guardians of the Galaxy is admittedly convoluted and often confusing. It’s easy to get lost in the sheer number of outlandish things, places and characters that need to be set up. And while the story is held up astoundingly well through Gunn’s direction, there’s no getting around that the script is far from perfect. But that never gets in the way of the heart of the film: the five Guardians.
Chris Pratt may not be a household name, but like most of Marvel stars, that’ll quickly change when Guardians of the Galaxy takes the near-certain crown at the box-office. His performance as the loose-tongued, fast shooting Peter Quill, a.k.a Star-Lord, is undeniably magnetic and exceptionally charming.
It’s a cross between Han Solo and Mal Reynolds that readily earns Star-Lord a place in the growing pantheon of lovable science-fiction rogues.
But the stand-out performance here goes to Bradley Cooper whose trash-talking space raccoon Rocket ends up with one of the film’s most brilliant scenes. It’s a moment that comes right out of nowhere, but reveals just enough to prove that underneath each of these alien-skinned Guardians is a character worth following for many years to come.
Never grow up
Guardians of the Galaxy is peppered with a delicious serving of humor, wit and action, while still being packed with a tremendous amount of heart.
While superhero films are hurrying to grow up, Guardians of the Galaxy is a reminder that we shouldn’t. It throws us back into that play pen and shows us that our toys have no rules, animals can talk and our worlds are infinite.
Although Peter Quill doesn’t end up the same selfish rogue he was at the beginning of the film, he’s still that same young boy who was kidnapped from his home 25 years ago.
Guardians of the Galaxy could very well be our modern day Lost Boys, with Peter Quill their revered Peter Pan. The film is a wildly fun and satisfying punch to the gut that serves as a reminder that comics are for kids, and that’s not a bad thing.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a trip to Neverland that transports its audience to a place of childlike wonder and pre-adolescent ridiculousness.
And for the sake of the millions of your newfound fans: never grow up, Peter Quill. Never grow up. – Rappler.com
Zig Marasigan is a freelance screenwriter and director who believes that cinema is the cure for cancer. Follow him on Twitter at @zigmarasigan.
More from Zig Marasigan
- ‘Kimmy Dora (Ang Kiyemeng Prequel)’: A fallen franchise
- ‘My Little Bossings’: The horrible business of show business
- ‘Boy Golden’: Violent, colorful, and masterful fun
- ‘10,000 Hours:’ A higher standard of politics
- ‘Pagpag:’ Stylish superstition
- ‘Kaleidoscope World:’ A Magalona melodrama
- ‘Pedro Calungsod: Ang Batang Martir:’ A sermon best saved for church
- MMFF Cinephone: From film to phone
- ‘Islands:’ In the ocean of isolation
- ‘Shift’ is not a love story
- ‘Bukas Na Lang Sapagka’t Gabi Na:’ The art of rebellion
- ‘Blue Bustamante:’ A hero with a heart
- ‘Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy’: A hilariously absurd party of four
- ‘Lone Survivor’: War through Western eyes
- ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: the brilliant crime of capitalism
- ‘Bride for Rent’: Falling back on formula
- ‘Mumbai Love’: Lost in Bollywood
- ‘Snowpiercer’: Beautiful, brutal science fiction
- ‘The LEGO Movie’ Review: A genuine block-buster
- ‘RoboCop’ Review: More metal than man
- ‘American Hustle’ Review: Style, subtlety, raw energy
- ‘Starting Over Again’: A different kind of Valentine’s
- ‘Basement’ Review: Better left dead
- ‘Nebraska’ Review: An elegant ode to the country
- ‘Third Eye’ Review: A vision of inconsistency
- ‘Her’ Review: Growth, change, and love
- ’12 Years a Slave’: Why it deserved the Best Picture Win
- ‘Kamandag ni Venus’: An achievement in awfulness
- ‘Divergent’ Review: Troubled teenagers
- ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Review: Behind the shield
- ‘Diary ng Panget’ Review: Where youth is only skin deep
- Summer 2014: 20 Hollywood movies we can’t wait to see
- ‘Da Possessed’ Review: A rushed return
- ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’ Review: The enemy within
- ‘Godzilla’ Review: Size doesn’t matter
- ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Review: Rewriting history
- ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ Review: Shines bright despite the faults
- ‘Noah’ review: Not the Bible story you know
- ‘My Illegal Wife’ Review: A film worth forgetting
- ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ Review: A soaring sequel
- ’22 Jump Street’ Review: Solid and self-aware
- ‘Third Person’ Review: A writer’s dilemma
- ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ Review: Mind-numbing deja vu
- ‘Overtime’ Review: ’90s thriller meets camp comedy
- ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Review: More man than ape
- ‘She’s Dating the Gangster’: Asking for a greater love story
- ‘Hercules’ Review: More mess than myth
- Cinemalaya 2014: The 15 entries, what to watch
- Cinemalaya 2014: A quick guide
- ‘Trophy Wife’ Review: Tough choices, third parties