So, if anyone thought that “The Avengers” (2012) was the geekfest to give Marvel-fans all over the world the biggest nerdgasm, think again. From the studio whose inside jokes and cameos require fans to be avid viewers of the entire cinematic universe comes an entertaining adventure that is Marvel’s answer to Star Wars or Indiana Jones, all but packed with insider references for die-hard fanboys (and girls).
Ironically, as a self-proclaimed king-geek among my peers, I am unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy series; not the 1969 original team, and not even the 2008 reboot team this film is based on. So naturally, to have some credibility before I walk into the theater with my friends and, most importantly, fellow geeks, a little digging to brush up on the story before viewing GoG was nothing short of a necessity.
What can be easily said is that most characters differ from their comic book counterparts — in a good way, that is. Our hero Peter Quill, aka Star Lord, is a regular Joe — more relatable to audiences than the likes of a billionaire, a demi-god, a super soldier or a brilliant scientist with anger issues. While his little quirks and flaws make him all the more human for audiences in an otherwise colorful alien universe, Quill’s normality actually fits the film better than when Black Widow and Hawkeye tried to play themselves off as SUPER heroes in Avengers.
Quill, a modern-day human man whose knowledge and taste in the music of his home planet remain in the 70s and the mid-80s, becomes a unique anomaly as the only human in an intergalactic movie. This background design is the key to the film’s well-received success, as unlike other sci-fi films, Star Wars and Star Trek for example, a human that audiences in 2014 can actually relate to serves as the protagonist and not some Jedi or futuristic human that only exists in fiction.
Personally, I give a thumbs up to the creation and assembly of the characters of the cinematic GoG team, as elements from each combine to create the proper chemistry and balance needed to build conflict and harmony. For example, without Vin Diesel’s Groot being the purest and most innocent character, the stark anger of Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Raccoon might not have been as funny.
The same chemistry can be said about Quill’s earthly metaphors to Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer, as without Drax’s literal interpretation of all things, Quill’s humor and the constant reminder that he is the alien (human) in the story might be lost on the audience. One thing I personally can’t stand is that although we know that Drax is supposed to be insufferably literate and literal about everything, I sincerely think Bautista’s WWE acting skills have a lot of room for improvement.
The film is also Marvel’s tip of the hat to its longtime supporters, packed with excitement and humor (Cooper’s Rocket making a reference to Cooper’s Phil in “The Hangover”, (if you missed it, it was him calling out Quill for his “purse”) and it is successful in keeping its audiences occupied while fanboys frantically look at all corners of the screen for comic book and movie references (which are abundant, especially in the museum of The Collector).
From Benicio Del Toro’s Taneleer Tivan (The Collector), to the long awaited (three films to be exact) appearance of Thanos, voiced by Josh Brolin, Marvel has packed the film with cameo appearances of galactic-status villains to expand its cinematic universe, well, universally, while using the likes of Quill and Cosmo the Dog to link Earth and its protectors to remind audiences that Earth is still a large part of the entire Marvel story.
While I did enjoy the movie, I did not feel that linking GoG to the Avengers was necessary. I say this only because the abilities of both franchises seem wholly different. Using Thanos, for example, an antagonist was set up to provide audiences with the sense that the Avengers have a godlike foe, one with a formidable grasp and understanding of powers beyond the imagination of men (even though the entire existence of this review is only possible thanks to imagination), which they must confront not long in the future. In the broad spectrum of GoG, though, the same character feels like merely an overlord who can be defeated through a team of heroes from different, not races but, species.
Marvel must be praised for its ability to keep the same tone for every single movie while enlisting different directors. Even with more colorful creatures and an intergalactic sci-fi background to the film, GoG has the same action-packed pacing as all Marvel films as well as the right amount of hilarity, whether in dialogue or in action, like we’ve all come to know since Iron Man in 2008.
Though I felt that the movie was made for fans more than for regular moviegoers, I would recommend it for everyone, as humor and the love for summer blockbusters are universal. Besides, who in this generation isn’t a Marvel fan?