Monday, August 4, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy ★★★

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    With an assortment of characters and a never-ending archive of source material at their disposal, Marvel has indisputably become the leader in summer box-office hits. (In fact, I would consider the company to be nothing short of a pioneer when it comes to creating commercially successful franchiseswith names that can be overheard in households worldwide.) Nevertheless, it seems as if Marvel's latest creation features a cast of characters whose identities may not amass the same prestige as say "Captain America."

    Thus, "Guardians of the Galaxy" blasts off into theaters with a relatively diminutive amount of faithfuls, and this only adds to the movie's allure. (There hasn't been this much curiosity surrounding a superhero film, I think, since the 2009 endeavour entitled "Watchmen.") Although interest has reached a financial climax, this production cannot escape the reality of a comically overwhelming script and several monotonous villains of a mechanical nature.

    Peter Quill, our sole human protagonist, is an eccentric and humble man who was abducted from Earth at a very young age. This is brought to our attention via an overly dramatic expository scene, which, I'm afraid, permanently devalues the tone of the picture. (The reasoning behind this kidnapping is unknown to us, that is, of course, until the conclusion, when the film inevitably sets up for a sequel.) In the present, Peter spends his days as a renegade and self-proclaimed outlaw. (His self-given nickname of Star-Lord is about as prominent in the universe as his negotiating skills, which, I must say, aren't very reputable.) We first meet Quill as he collects a profitable metal orb in which he plans to sell on the planet of Xandar.

    This mysterious orb will become the single most important plot point in the film, and it leads Quill on a journey where he unintentionally encounters the rest of our leading cast. Gamora, a female warrior with radiant green skin, tracks down the orb under the instruction of Ronan, an intergalactic being obsessed with, you guessed it, universal destruction. Rocket, a genetically engineered raccoon with the heart of a lion, is on the search for anything that will bring monetary value when Quill's warrant brings him into context.

    Along with his tree-like companion in Groot, Rocket and company are ultimately arrested and taken to a penitentiary among the stars. This leads to the inclusion of Drax the Destroyer, a brawny and intelligent alien who becomes hell-bent on fulfilling his relentless, insatiable appetite for revenge. This crew of misfits will have to come together if they have any desire to escape this prison and sell the universally prized orb for prosperityan unsuitable objective for "The Avengers," mind you, but one that feels right at home with this inept group of self-centered heroes.

    If this film has anything to hang its hat on, it is the rich characterizations that lead the way. Chris Pratt headlines the cast as Star-Lord and brings a certain air of charisma to the group. (His recurrent womanizing and his love for classic pop songs permeates the film, and the latter routinely provides a delightful pause to numerous scenes.); Zoe Saldana, a resident actress in other blockbuster franchises, is as feisty as ever in the role of Gamora; lastly, Dave Bautista, a renown professional wrestler, sticks to what he does bestbeating up bad guys. Although Bautista is limited to these engagements, he does perform the formal dialogue of Drax in a surprisingly on cue manner.

    And who could forget the computer-generated constituents to our band of mavericks? Rocket, a fabrication influenced by The Beatles' classic song entitled "Rocky Raccoon," is the barometer of the group, as his emotions are guided heavily by his surroundings. Furthermore, his comically inclined dialogue seems to hit home more so than his other companions. (There is something indefinable about a rough talking raccoon that conjures laughter.)

    Groot, basically a walking tree, is limited to repetitive assertions of his name, although Rocket seems to discern more out of his partner's external thoughts. Groot can be menacing or kind; however, it is his empathy for others that provides the picture with this direly warranted sense of sentimentality.

    It is painstakingly obvious where "Guardians'" imperfections are hidden. Its reliance on tawdry humor, which is completely lost on my conscience, is uncomplimentary, to say the least. Additionally, there is the rather feeble antagonist in Ronan, played by the up-and-coming actor Lee Pace, who can never quite convince us of his intentions. The ever-popular motive of universal eradication is overemphasized in numerous fictional tales, and, unfortunately, this simplistic plot device brings little to a story that deserves much more.

    Despite its shortcomings, "Guardians of the Galaxy" will surely entertain with its spectacular display of special effects and a cast that brims with box-office appeal. It's just, Marvel has become very accustomed to utilizing the humor that is at the heart of their beloved comic books; it is this amusement that is lost in translation when creating a film. With another addition to this mainspring, the desired concentration that can be seen in the "Dark Knight" trilogy is realized as futile.

    If Marvel truly expects to continue with this formula, then one obstacle does come to mind: In order to proceed with this underlying comical tone, the characters must remain static. However, it this attribute of staticity that must change in future installments, and it is this transformation (or the lack thereof) that will ultimately determine whether or not the subject matter can take that next step. One must always remember that humor will induce laughter, but drama will feed the soul.

1 comment:

  1. Watched this movie, didn't enjoy it much. I can watch almost any movie again and again, but not planning to watch this one. Please they shouldn't be any sequel to it. This one is enough. Surprised that such a movie could come from marvel.