Rated PG-13, 121 minutes (watched 8/8/14)
Frozen is a good movie, but it’s not a great movie. What makes it an instant classic and not just another modern-era Disney movie (but with rocktrolls!) is a fantastic soundtrack chock full of earworms. Likewise, the classic musical Grease is a laughably bad movie with AARP members trying to pass as high school seniors. What turns it into a favorite is one of the best soundtracks ever.
Guardians of the Galaxy won’t be elevated to the status of either of those two examples, but a clever choice to integrate 70s pop pushes it from mediocre to slightly better than average. Check out the perfect way Blue Swede’s version of Hooked on a Feeling is worked into this othewise unremarkable trailer and you’ll get the idea. Instead of a light saber or a super power, Our hero’s secret weapon is a Sony Walkman with a cassette tape labeled “Awesome Mix Vol. 1.”
Much like Captain America 2, this is another very complicated Marvel movie. Thankfully, it’s has a few dashes of Avengers style humor and fun that go a long way toward digging the movie out of its hole. It suffers from way too many villains and way too many motivations to destroy the galaxy. With so many threats, I suppose I should be thankful we have such a diverse and large band of guardians for said galaxy.
Chris Pratt is Peter, AKA Star Lord. You’re better off just calling him Peter though, because despite his best efforts to become a famous outlaw (like “the greatest outlaw ever: John Stamos,” in an actual line from the movie), he’s still a nobody. But this nobody has stumbled across an artifact that could destroy the galaxy. Again, I’m sure glad we have guardians! Joining him as they break out of prison are Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a muscled up tattooed beast of a man with blue skin and an inability to understand similes and metaphors. Next is Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a green-skinned assassin who is quite unnecessary. Then we’ve got Rocket the mutant raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) with anger issues and his “personal house plant and muscle” – more actual dialogue from the movie – Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel, who repeats “I am Groot” over and over again). Lee Pace plays the main villain (or maybe he’s not, I’m honestly not sure), named Ronan. He looks like a ‘roided up smurf who smeared chocolate cake on his face. Megan thought he looked like Subzero from Mortal Kombat. There are space battles, prison breaks, sacrifices and heroes and villains that are never quite dead when you think their time is up. Oh and Glen Close has this
terrible amazing haircut:
When I write it out like that, it sounds appropriately ridiculous. But the key here is that the movie knows it’s ridiculous: Peter/Star Lord launches into sincere storyteller mode as he recounts the epic legend “known as Footloose” and its hero for the ages, Kevin Bacon. Groot was a sweet and cuddly high point, especially his surprise transformation at the very end of the movie.
So there are a lot of very, very fun parts here, they just don’t add up to as good a whole as they should. I enjoyed it and I’m glad I saw it. Had it lived up to the promise of its jokes or soundtracks, it’d be a comic book movie for the ages. Instead, it’s merely “way better than Captain America 2.”
All that’s wonderful, but what’s the movie’s grade? I’m in a hurry here, buddy.
Oh, let’s see. 4/5
Where do I know that guy from?
Chris Pratt is nothing short of a hero on Parks and Rec. Oh yeah, he was also the voice of Emmet from The Lego Movie. He’s better here.
What is the star’s spirit animal?
What color socks are you wearing right now?
Our main hero is from Missouri. (In the opening scenes, we seen him at a hospital with a Missouri flag on a desk.)
Megan was the opposite of me: she had low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. 3/5
Heard any good jokes lately?
What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?
Megan went with Sour Patch Kids + Rasinettes. She said it was good, but I sampled and thought it was just OK. I had Skittles + Milk Duds. The Milk Duds were a little too chewy, but the Skittles + popcorn combo is a winner!
Unrelated Word of the Day:
Viridity: noun 1 a : the quality or state of being green b : the color of grass or foliage 2: naïve innocence
Would the movie have been any better with the addition of Morgan Freeman as narrator?
If he could have had fun with it, perhaps!