Once in a blue moon a movie comes out of nowhere that flies under the radar and exceeds everyone’s expectations in such a way it creates a mountain of good will and becomes a huge sensation. In 1977 it was Star Wars, which was a fun space opera that didn’t take itself too seriously. We all know how that played out. Today we have its successor, Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that outdoes Star Wars at its own game and is actually a lot more fun and entertaining without being a rip off. If anything, this is one of the biggest surprises of many years because early trailers had me cringing a little at the broad humor and 70s pop tunes. What I didn’t know is those are two of its strengths.
This is one of the most light-hearted, fun adventure films I’ve seen in decades. It’s funny all through the story and yet it has plenty of thrills and excitement. It’s heavy on CGI but the characters keep you so entertained that you really don’t mind. That is something so many modern films fail to get. Movies should be about characters you want to hang out with for the ride. Entertaining movies should be entertaining. But they often feel like chores. This movie is entertaining all the way through but in an unforced, natural way that will have you smiling and laughing.
I remember seeing adults act like kids when the first Star Wars came out because it tapped something inside of people that made them feel young again. This movie has that same magic. It’s not mean spirited or too dark. It has a genocidal villain who wants to destroy a planet and unlike Man of Steel and Star Trek: Into Darkness, the heroes all do their best to risk their lives to save people from harm before trying to stop the villain. What a difference that makes.
Without revealing too much, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is Star Lord. He is a member of the Ravagers, a group of Space pirates lead by Yondu (Michael Rooker), a kind of space hillbilly who loves figurines for his dashboard. But Star Lord is going it alone when he finds a mysterious orb he wants to sell in some ruins. A group of bad guys show up to take it from him but he gets away. They put a bounty on him and he soon ends up in prison with a bunch of other characters who team up with him to escape the slammer. And when they do he convinces them to join him to sell the orb because an insane zealot named Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) wants it to destroy a planet.
Quill has a mix tape of old tunes that used to play on the radio when I was in high school. It’s all he has to remind him of his home where he was abducted as a child. The music and his comments about earth culture provide some great jokes because the aliens don’t know what he’s talking about.
And personally, one of the pleasures I got from the film was seeing so many friends of mine get credit in the closing credits for creating characters in the movie. I especially loved the bit at the very end of the credits which shows a character no one was expecting. Then the names of two good friends of mine show up. That was very cool.
If you want to have a good time, go see this movie. It will cheer you up. This is a secret ingredient so many films today are lacking. The Feel Good factor. I suspect it will be one of Marvel’s most successful movies of all time.