Jonathan White’s review published on Letterboxd:
Well, that was completely fun. I’m late to the party, and I had seen a whack of glowing star ratings in my stream back when this was released, but, I kept the breaks on as far as expectations, as many of my friends here are Marvel fans, and I’m not really.
As my friends know, I’m not a comic book guy. I read a few when I was a kid, but I was never addicted. This is strange, as probably every one of my closest friends were comic book guys. After tonight’s screening, and then reading up on IMDB and Wikipedia, I realize that I’m probably just not smart enough to keep up with the universes, character exchanges, subtle references, and all those damn Stan Lee cameos.
Last summer, when the plethora of reviews from my friends burst on the scene, the one review detail, aside from the rating, was ‘fun’. I kept seeing ‘fun’, and fun it was. I don’t have time to research everything that a comic fan already knows; I don’t know if they intentionally modeled the roguish Peter Quill after Sci-Fi’s Hans or Mals , or whether it’s the other way around. In the end, it doesn’t matter, it simply works. The character mix is copybook.
Everything that any Comic Book based movie did right, Guardians did right. One of the things that bug me about big budget Comic Book of late is that there’s just too much of everything. It’s like shock treatment; meant to keep the viewer in a continuous flush of adrenaline. Here, the plotting, and most importantly the tension arc were perfect. We weren’t numbed by a 45 minute final 3 climax action scene; no, we had tension and rest, and it kept me glued to the edge of my seat.
Pratt’s Quill … while I wouldn’t place him up with the uber-rogues Mal and Hans just yet, is a worthy associate. Zoe Saldana’s bitchin’ ass-kicker Gamora gave me a Gena Torres Zoe vibe. Dave Batusta’s Drax, well, you really need a simple moral compass in these types of films, one so huge that he could squash you without even breaking a sweat. Hat tip to Vin, for repeating 3 words 1000 times, and apparently in multiple languages, while on stilts.
Nice cinematography, but let’s just get on to score. As the flood of reviews came up in my stream last summer, while trying to glance away, I kept seeing ‘Awesome mix tape’ in the review snips. Well, I really didn’t know what to expect. Probably my biggest smile of the film was the playlist. Those great ratings and kudos for the soundtrack were from my much younger than me LB friends. My smile was doubled because this was my music growing up, and that, through suspension of disbelief, my friends were experiencing those songs in the same way as I did.