Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination. The special effects are amazing, the story is pretty good and, by the end of it, it did kind of put me in the mood for a little intergalactic adventure of my own. That, sadly, not being an option, I instead bought some chocolate biscuits, a microwave meal, and went home, but I digress.
Guardians works hard to give us flawed, quirky characters that we can all love, but it could be argued that it works a little TOO hard. For example, Peter Quill / Starlord is a child of the eighties, having been abducted from Earth when he was around ten years old. His only real link to the planet of his birth is a personal stereo with a mix-tape of his mother’s favourite music. It’s a good plot device and lays the groundwork for some solid character development. I don’t, however, think that it needs to be pretty much the entire soundtrack for the whole film. I mean, the character’s backstory is pretty solidly established; we really don’t need to be slapped about the head with it every time they have a few spare moments or need a light-hearted montage sequence.
My only other complaint would be that the humour seemed a bit forced at times. While I do like characters that don’t always take themselves too seriously all the time, I think it’s something that can be overdone. Without spoiling anything, I’d again like to use Peter Quill as the example, although I should stress that he is far from the only character to suffer from this. He’s just the best example.
I’d also like to point out that he seems to have been raised by Space Hicks. Some of you may recognise the actor playing Yondu, as Michael Rooker, who also played Merle in the Walking Dead series. It could just be me, but near as I could tell, Yondu is basically just Space Merle, which is even more annoying if you’ve read the original comics. Listening to some of the guys working with him, I fully expected to see credits at the end for Space Clem and Space Cletus.
It’s a minor gripe, I admit, but I just thought I’d mention it.
At one point in the film, Quill is face-to-face with Ronan The Accuser, an intergalactic terrorist and the main villain of the film. Billions of lives are at stake and Quill needs to distract Ronan while the Guardians hatch a scheme to save the day. Quill starts to dance. That’s right. Dance. Now, while that does succeed in distracting the villain, I found myself a little distracted as well. Now, logically, I understand what the character was doing. but with a scene involving the potential death of billions of innocents, I can’t help but feel that the dramatic tension is … lessened by Peter Quill’s auditioning for Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It’d be like Luke Skywalker trying to distract the Emperor with a breakdancing display, so the Rebels have more time to attack the Death Star … effective, but seriously out of place.
That being said, the film moved along at a fairly decent pace – not so fast that you struggled to keep up, but not so slow that you fall asleep and the guy behind you has to kick your seat because you started snoring. The special effects, as I’ve said, were amazing, and I was impressed by a lot of the visuals just of space itself. It really was spectacular, with each part of space being unique and not just the sort of stock footage science fiction used to be guilty of using.
The characters are likeable for the most part, if not as deep and multi-faceted as I think Marvel would like us to think, and the film sets itself up nicely for a sequel that, I can’t help but think will be a lot better than this. Everything has been set up, and the characters established, so now we can move forward and get down to business.
It’d be exaggerating it to say that I was looking forward to the sequel, but I will say that the film at least left me interested in finding out what happens next.