"Guardians of the Galaxy" Review

Disclaimer: Mild spoilers below.

Guardians of the Galaxy had a sequel commissioned simply due to buzz and through-the-roof merchandise sales, all before the film had even been released. While I still firmly believe that Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the best of the MCU films, comparing Guardians of the Galaxy to it is rather difficult since they are highly different in style and genre. Whereas Winter Soldier was darker and had more political espionage, Guardians utilises far more satirical comedy and falls more so into the science-fiction genre.

Guardians introduces us to Peter Quill, who fancies himself an outlaw named "Star Lord," who we see travelling through space, stealing objects to make money. Chris Pratt brings humour, Andy-Dwyer-lovability and a newly transformed physique to the part. The retention of his knowledge of Earth's pop-culture is a nice touch and allows audience members to relate even more to the character. Wouldn't you be inclined to teach aliens about your favourite films and tunes?

While some have been saying that this film is fun for the whole family, I have to respectfully disagree. Though I largely enjoyed Guardians and the laughter it supplied, there is an unnecessary inclusion of horrendously sexist "jokes" and "humour" that stall an otherwise enjoyable movie-going experience. Using words like "bitch" and "whore" without immediately teaching the impressionable young viewers in the audience that it's wrong to demean females in this way is an irresponsible and lazy move on the filmmaker/studio's part.

Visually, the film utilises a great deal of bright, neon colours. It's fitting, considering the camp, love-letter-to-the-1980s style used to bring the story to life. There's a large number of characters that are either transformed or computer-generated to be something other than a typical human being. Whether they're blue, green, pink, a talking racoon, or a giant tree, there is quite a variety. However, I can't help but roll my eyes at the fact that the only POC lead actors, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista, are both painted up to be different colours. The only other non-white actors in the films are either a talking tree, supporting characters, or background characters. It's as if being a colour or aesthetic other than white needs to be hidden. Even the vast majority of background actors are white. It's blatantly racist that they found a third white man named Chris to be the top-billing actor in an MCU film when there have still yet to be any projects with a POC as the main lead.

But putting aside the usual racism and sexism of Hollywood films, I did greatly enjoy Guardians. It had more humour than any other Marvel film, and they were impressively able to squeeze back stories in for most of their lead characters, despite only having two hours to do so. The story sets up enough points to carry on into sequels without leaving the film's plot feeling unresolved. There is also heart and depth that gives the film more weight and meaning. Lee Pace brought enormous gravitas to his part as Ronan the Accuser. If anything, they didn't utilise his skills enough. Groot is also proving to be quite the fan favourite and rightfully so, as the character embodies all the beauty, kindness, and power associated with nature.

Guardians of the Galaxy is playing now in theatres.


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