Going into Guardians of The Galaxy this week on DVD at home, I felt like the last soul on the planet to watch this flick. I sat in my living room on my couch like a lonely soul in a movie theater. It felt weird and that is something a film-addict should never feel. Imagine getting to a Christmas party and seeing the cake all picked at and eaten and somewhat missing. Sometimes, films come and go without me seeing them in theaters. It happens when you digest so many cinematic treats. Occasionally the cookie jar gets crowded with forgotten fare and I don’t make it a point to see the big blockbusters in theaters.
What did I think of Guardians? Is it the greatest thing since toasted garlic bread or just another fun film to get lost in for two hours? This film wasn’t exactly polarizing but it had its lovers, admirers, and haters.
A few things about the film I liked-
*The soundtrack is kickass. Take some 70’s and 80’s rock and pop classics, blend them in with some forgotten bluesy gems and the movie never feels boring. The tunes selected makes for one great mix and doesn’t feature one original soul. Thankfully, there is no Fall Out Boy or other weak boy band lead song stuck in the end credits. Instead, we get Marvin Gaye singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. On the DVD menu, we get Blue Swede’s unforgettable classic, “Hooked On A Feeling”. At the beginning of the film, Chris Pratt dances around a lost planet in space to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love”. If there is a sequel, the soundtrack has big shoes to fill. Nicely picked, James Gunn(the writer and director from St. Louis, MO).
*Chris Pratt is very good here. The guy has serious comedic chops and keeps the action light and moving. He has spent his career hanging around the movie stars and taking the supporting helpings. Here, he is the main guy and his “Starlord” routine is hilarious. He anchors the action.
*Vin Diesel’s Groot reminded me so much of his voice work in Iron Giant. Diesel worked with the same voice coach from that film and makes amazing usage here of ONE LINE. Diesel’s lone vocal swig here is reciting “I am Groot,” every 10 minutes and it’s the way he talks every time that gives the three worded phrase a different meaning. His character grows bigger as the movie plays out. Get ready to be teary eyed over a tree by the two hour mark. The best moment in the movie comes when he destroys 8-10 baddies and turns around to a couple of his friends and just smiles.
*The light feeling is fine. I didn’t go into the film asking for heavy handed mythical Chris Nolan type story angles here. I just wanted a good time and got it. Gunn does a good job here of creating cool easy going action. I digested this film like an old fashioned milkshake.
*It’s a pleasant surprise to see one of Hollywood’s most reliable character actors, Michael Rooker, get a juicy little role to have fun with. His dispatching of 10-15 guys in a desert with what looks like a needle dart is priceless.
A Few Things I Didn’t Go Crazy For-
*I wasn’t crazy about Bradley Cooper’s Rocket. Sure, there are a couple laughs to be had and the actor doesn’t fumble the role but I didn’t get as much of a kick out of the little fella as others did.
*Danny Bautista is okay. He plays a big tough guy who digs into the complex words of the dictionary along with pounding skulls. I get the draw up of the character but I didn’t fully admire the finish. Bautista is a presence but lacks flavor.
*Zoe Saldana is also just okay. Her gorgeous skin is covered in green and her slow moving romance with Pratt’s leader fizzles.
*Lee Pace’s villain generates too many laughs and never really scared me. A light action comic book film like this needed a great villain. That evil didn’t show up. He wastes a TON of chances to kill the good guys and there are times where I can’t understand a damn word he is saying.
*The running time is a bit long. 2 hours isn’t normally a tiring length but there are parts of the film that feel repetitious. 15-20 minutes could have been shaved off.
In the end, I wasn’t blown away but I did enjoy the film. I laughed a little, dug the soundtrack and a few aspects of the film were truly well done. I won’t be sleeping outside a theater overnight or driving 7 hours to see the sequel(I did this for The Dark Knight) but I will be excited to see the gang get back together for another mission in a couple years.