These Marvel reviews are starting to get old. Guardians of the Galaxy is another home run for the Marvel movie team. In fact, it may be their best film yet. While GotG is based on a comic book, it is based on one with much less history and with fewer (some might say no) classic stories than the likes of Captain America or Iron Man. That gives the team a little more freedom than with previous movies. This is not at all just another superhero movie; this is Star Wars through the Marvel movie lens. It is amazing, just a blast from start to finish.
One thing Guardians of the Galaxy takes from Star Wars that many of its imitators miss is the comedy. Star Wars had plenty of humor, mostly thanks to the Droids and Han Solo. Even the prequel movies lost that for the most part. I would go so far as to say that this is Marvel’s first comedy. While it has the requisite action and adventure, as well as one of the most fun sci-fi universes I’ve seen in a while, the humor is the part that stick out the most. Luckily, it is very funny.
Chris Pratt takes a star turn as Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, a man who was abducted from Earth as a child and makes his way in the Galaxy a kind of space-Indiana Jones, the fortune and glory version from Temple of Doom. He is eventually joined by the very Solo/Chewbacca team of Rocket Racoon (he’s a raccoon) and Groot (a sentient tree-man), the green skinned assassin Gamora and the hugely muscled and overly literal Drax the Destroyer. They band together first to sell a very valuable artifact Quill has found before eventually deciding to save the Galaxy from the power mad Ronan the Accuser.
The humor works to ease the viewer in to the plethora of sci-fi concepts the movie throws at them. There is Thanos in the craggy purple flesh, the Kree Empire, Nova Corps and planet that is a giant head. The whole thing would not fly if they tried to make it as dour and joyless as say, Man of Steel. But as a comedy it works. It is just pure fun from start to finish. What is amazing is how much it gets you to care about this group of wackadoos. Before they can come together as a team, they are completely broken down. Star-Lord is stuck in a state of retarded adolescence, having not really matured from when he was taken as a child. He has to face that. Drax has to finally accept the loss of his family and let go of his anger. Yes, it is the same kind of small growth that is endemic to superhero origin stories, since this one is already set in space it starts out with action.
There are just so many excellent set pieces. There is breakout from space jail, the three-way fight in the crowded street over the macguffin that drives the plot and the aforementioned giant head planet. Each of these scenes is excellent. Guardians of the Galaxy captures the imagination and joy that Star Wars did, that The Avenger did. It also is the least dependent on the greater Marvel Universe. They may have gone out of their way to lead into this movie with nods to what was coming in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy stands alone. It stands alone the best film produced by Marvel Studios yet. More like this, please.