Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy ★★★

55/100

Half-assed. It wants to be Buckaroo Banzai, but that film was a complete flop in theatrical release, so Marvel chose—wisely, judging from the opening-weekend box-office receipts—to graft intermittent goofiness onto a dully conventional superhero narrative. Still fat drops of rain in the desert, to be sure, but I'm too familiar with what a truly great version of this concept looks like to lose my shit over the ass-covering corporate approximation. Also, Rocket is mostly annoying, for which the movie attempts to compensate by making Gamora almost completely personality-free. (Dave Bautista, of whom I'd never previously heard, gives the funniest performance, though that's partly just because I know Pratt's moves.) Admittedly, I'm being overly grouchy here, in response to what I perceive as a mass overreaction; the appearance of the title in gigantic screen-covering letters, as Quill throws out his arms to "Come and Get Your Love"'s first "Heyyyy!," may be the most purely joyous moment I've experienced at the movies all year. Just wish the commitment to that tone had been absolute rather than hesitant and wishy-washy.