Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Brandon Davis of comicbook.com has been doing this fun thing called a Quarantine Watch Party. At 9 Pm Est, we press play on a certain movie and live tweet it. Its all in good fun and in all the events, some of the filmmakers and actors of the respective films participate. In that spirit, I've decided to review the film being played today: James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy.

I'll just note that this is a retrospective review as I reviewed this back in 2014, but six years later, perspectives change, as does my writing. Back in 2014, I went into this film blind. I wasn't aware of any of the characters, nor the director. Due to its space setting, I wondered how it would connect to the previous Marvel films. It didn't, nor did it try to set up future films and sequels. That is one of the film's greatest strengths. You can watch this film for what it is without missing anything.

The film follows Peter Quill, a ravager and outlaw who forms an uneasy alliance with a group of other extraterrestrial criminals(Gamora, Drax, Groot, Rocket) who are on the run after he steals an artifact that a lot of dangerous people want for its power. Based on this description, you would think I am describing a dark intense sci-fi film, especially when it was released at a time when doom and gloom were so popular in superhero films. Not the case. When we are introduced to Peter Quill, he puts on his Sony walkman, and dances like a joyful fool to Redbone's 'Come and get your love'.

The film is shamelessly absurd, with two of their main characters a talking raccoon and a talking tree that only knows three words, and by some miracle, it works. You willingly give in to this reality and love it all the more for its differences to traditional superhero films. When the film needs to get serious, it does so that provokes an emotional response. Rather than having the characters cracking jokes constantly, they all have emotional baggage that doesn't weaken, but empowers them and has you rooting for them. Character work is something Marvel has always done well.

The visual effects are a strong component of why the film works. Rocket and Groot look amazing. Director James Gunn used practical sets whenever possible, and the mixture between the two blends effortlessly. The action sequences are breathtaking to look at.

Music is another character in this film that stands out. Composer Tyler Bates creates an amazing score that stands out, which is a rare feat. Compared to DC films, the musical compositions of Marvel Studio films when it was starting out come off as bland and typical. 'The Kyln Escape' is the most exciting piece, containing both The Guardians' theme music and exciting beats to match the corresponding action. The prewritten songs we are given from Peter Quill's mixtape are a mix of popular and underrated songs from the 70s and 80s that are fun to listen to on its own(I've done it on repeat), but they are used effectively in the film. Its use during the 'Dance Battle' scene is unforgettable.

Overall, Guardians Of The Galaxy is a distinctive hilarious, emotionally moving thrill ride that stands out as one of Marvel's best cinematic experiences.


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