Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014)

This may strike you as silly, but I'm being totally serious:  this is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that made me think, "This is aimed squarely at teenage boys."  I'm not saying that's a terrible thing, but that was definitely the vibe I got from it.  In fact, it reminded me of teenage boys I've known, thinking they're all cool and hilarious when really they're just stuck on themselves.

And it's not that I didn't enjoy this movie, because I did.  It was funny, and a sadder than I'd expected.  And by the end of the scene with Star Lord dancing his way over to his Indy moment, I was charmed.  It kept me engaged, though in the final Big Battle, I did start to feel like everything was taking a little longer than it ought to.

But there were moments sprinkled throughout that I loved.  (Here comes the spoilage.)  Him dancing through the weird alien planet, that cool force-field net thingie they put over the bad guy's ship, the whole idea of turning off the artificial gravity, and pretty much anything with Groot in it.

The trouble is, Groot was my favorite character.  He's the only one that touched me and made me curious to know more about him.  And, alas, they saddled him with zero backstory, the inability to say more than three words, and no character growth.  Okay, there was literal growth, but not inner growth.  He started out sweet and nice and kind and protective, and he remained that way throughout.  The other characters did have growth, but I didn't care that much about them.

So while this was a nice ride, that was pretty much all it was.  I'm not left with a need to see it again; I'm not left wanting to spend more time with these characters.

I've heard that some people thought this was better than The Avengers.  Um.  Except, it's pretty much exactly the same story as The Avengers, only with less compelling characters.  With no Loki.

Perhaps that's the best thing I can say for this movie:  it's made me really appreciate Loki.  Wow.  What a villain he is!  I never cared a whit about what did or did not happen to this Ronan person -- admit it, if he hadn't been played by Lee Pace, he would have been completely forgettable.  Pace did at least make me notice that he had really pretty eyes, and he did the best he could with what he was given, but in the end... I didn't care about him at all.  Now, Loki?  I have spent countless hours wishing so hard I could like Loki!  Remember how angry I got over his non-death?  I've got some serious emotion invested in that guy.  Ronan?  Well, he had really pretty eyes.

And so, in the end... I liked this better than I'd expected, but I didn't love it.  I'm sure I'll rent it from Redbox when it comes there because I saw in the end credits that Nathan Fillion does the voice for one of the inmates, so I'd like to listen for him.  And I think Cowboy will get some good laughs from the movie, it's worth seeing once with him.  But I have no desire to own this or watch it over and over.

I have never before posted a gif on my blog, as I find them sometimes fun and mostly annoying, but... this was probably my favorite moment in the whole movie, so I'm taking the plunge:



  1. Really? That is a kind of strange reaction considering that just about everyone is loving the movie. I maybe can see one or two parts, maybe...
    Anyway, I do agree that it is not quite as amazing as The Avengers.

    By the way, I personally like gifs since they add life to posts and give the reader a small glimpse into the visual style of the movie, especially in animation reviews, so am not against you using them.


    1. I know, it's getting lots of love. And I can see how it would appeal to a lot of people, just not me.

      I like the occasional gif if it's really well done, doesn't do like three frames and stop, and actually lends something to the blog post that a static picture wouldn't. (I might try to find one of the Sirius Black wanted poster for my upcoming review of Prisoner of Azkaban, for instance.) But I've actually unfollowed a couple of blogs because they used gifs the way I sometimes use photos -- in between every single paragraph. It got too busy and made it hard to read their words. But a single gif at a point in the blog post where it can be hidden by the browser window so it doesn't distract me from the text? Those I can get behind. Thanks for your input!

  2. I've been waiting for this review. ;-) Reading this, I think I now know why my 18 year old brother wants to watch this. Maybe they *were* targeting teenage boys, haha. And, seriously, better than The Avengers? Give me a break.

    Also, I'm inwardly laughing at you and your GIF, because I finally figured out how to add a GIF to my forthcoming Tolkien post, and I was so proud of myself. :D What an adorable GIF for your first.

    1. Hee! Yes, I did finally manage to see this in the theater. And yes, I really think it targets teenage boys.

      And what funny timing on the gifs! Yes, this tiny dancing tree is too darling :-) Now I'm curious to see what yours will be of!

  3. Hahah, that's a cute gif.

    Nothing makes me want to see this film. The previews made it look totally trashy (which apparently, it isn't... so they just used those scenes for the previews) and... well, I'm kind over the whole sci-fi at the box office thing.

    Little secret: I find the Avengers movies boring, except for Loki. The only one I own is Thor 2, because it's primarily the "Loki show." I don't really care about any of the other characters. :P

    1. Yes, I really had a hard time mustering up any enthusiasm to go see this. I like sci-fi, I love the Avengers movies, but this really has zilch to do with the Avengers, and it lacked the finesse of the other MCU movies. And the intelligence. And the emotional depth.

      And it's okay if you don't like the Avengers movies. Two of my best friends are not really fans either.

    2. What?!?

      I thought EVERYONE worshiped those movies except me!! *gasp*

      The way the teasers and trailers were for this film just gave me a trashy vibe, so I was really shocked when I read Plugged In's review and there was nothing all that "bad" in it! I may watch it eventually, if I'm at the library someday and it's on shelf, but... doubt I'll go out of my way to see it.

      Groot is seriously cute, though. His gifts are all over tumblr. :D

    3. So now I'm curious... is it superheroes in general that leave you cold, or just the Avengers gang?

  4. I don't mind gifs because the first thing I do when I see them on any webpage is hit shift-esc on my keyboard to stop them! Then they're all just lovely still pics and I don't have to get dizzy or try to deal with processing the repeated motion. Hee.

    I am glad you enjoyed this more than I did. You at least had a character you liked in it! And I love your realization about Loki. So true. L and I have had multiple discussions on how movies are usually only as good as their bad guys. The better the bad guy, the better the good guys have to be. And Ronan, much as I love Lee Pace, is so boring and, oddly, unthreatening. One of the first things L said when we left the theater was that Mel Gibson's bad guy in Expendables 3 displayed more personality in one two-minute scene just walking in and buying a painting than Ronan did in the entire movie.

    I never did post my review of Guardians (it was part of my Expendables review, comparing why E3 works for me and Guardians doesn't) but I just felt it was too negative, and I didn't want to deal with all the flack I'm sure would have popped up.

    1. What does shift-esc do? For me, it brings up a "Task Manager" mini-screen.

      Cowboy and I were discussing good bad guys. How the truly great ones -- Darth Vader, Loki, Calverra, etc. -- seem to all be played by someone who is enjoying the role very, very much. And you're right, a good bad guy makes or breaks a movie.

    2. You used to be able to hit esc to stop gifs, but then firefox changed that. Now, there's an add-on: and that lets you halt them with the shift-esc. If you use another browser, I'm sure there's something similar.

    3. Aha! We use Chrome most of the time anymore, so I'll have to see if they have something similar. Thanks!

  5. I went with a group of 5 friends to see this movie and they all LOVED it. My sister even says it's her favorite of the Marvel films so far. That absolutely stunned me since she's such a Captain American fanatic.

    Guardians of the Galaxy was ok, but I never fully invested in it. Although I loved Rocket, far more than I thought I would because I didn't like him much in the trailers. So, he and Groot were my favorites.

    I mean, it's not a bad movie, overly long like you said, and with a sub-par villain (as much as I love Lee Pace, his role was pretty much a yawner), but it still had some awesome moments. I just honestly don't see what all the hype is about since Captain America is obviously so much better. I just don't get it.

    Although my favorite scene is the same as yours, little Groot dancing! So sweet!

    1. Yes, I had trouble investing in it. Exactly! Like it kept purposely pushing me away, rather than sucking me in. I don't understand the hype. But that happens to me a lot.

  6. Well, I'm very glad you liked it more than you expected to, but I'm sorry you didn't like it as much as I did. ;)

    There's definitely no comparison; Loki is the best baddie of Marvel history. But is there were a counterpart for him in Guardians, I think it would be Nebula, not Ronan...

    I've been thinking about this, because I agree about Groot -- he awesome, but we can't really get to know him that well. But it's interesting, because his language is a little more complicated than "just three words." He can only say three words to the untrained ear, but apparently if you get to know him really well, then you can understand him (like Rocket). You hear the three words as what he's actually saying. I think it could be cool if in later movies we get to hear him saying what he means more. *SPOILERS* Actually, it seems like the "we are Groot" was maybe the beginning of that. :D

    It's hard because this was the introduction movie for all the characters, so they all missed out on a little back story and development, but I'm really glad they didn't try to give them more. It gives them more room to grow later -- something I can't wait to see!

    1. Umm... who was Nebula? The blue chick?

      Groot was basically Chewbacca in tree form. Han Solo can understand Chewie, and Rocket can understand Groot.

    2. Yeah, and she's gonna be the one who comes back to other Marvel movies, similar to Loki. You may have noticed how she survived the movie and Ronan did not? And she has the more interesting story with her sister Gamora and their father Thanos.

      It's possible they might have decided to play it like that for the movies, but it's not like that in the comics. If they follow the rules from the comics then eventually the other guardians should be able to understand him.

    3. The "relationship" between Thanos and the two "daughters" did kind of intrigue me, and I wished they'd done more with it. So that could be very cool.


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