Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy ★★★★

"Well he don't know talkin' good like me and you, so his vocabulistics is limited to 'I' and 'am' and 'Groot,' exclusively in that order."

I really love Guardians of the Galaxy. I liked it even more this time around than when I saw it in theaters, which is saying something because my screen is much smaller and I already knew what was coming.

But here's the deal: with the abundance of 5-star ratings this film gets on here, I don't feel like there's room for my comparatively meager appreciation. I think to myself, "Why can't I love Guardians that much? Have I become a pretentious little movie prick?" Then I start focusing on the reasons I don't love Guardians that much, which is exactly the opposite of what I want to be doing with my life.

Sure, it's got the same plot as The Avengers and most of the other Marvel movies (keep MacGuffin away from Bad Guy), but it's so much more fun than those thanks to its rich characterization. It's filled with inert digital action, but the characters' emotional connection gives the battles a greater sense of consequence. It leans a bit too heavily on the easy romance angle, but it also makes fun of itself for doing so. It continues to reappropriate 9/11 imagery, but those visual coordinates have cultural valence for a reason.

Then on the other side of the spectrum we have things like the wonderful soundtrack and sense of humor, creative elements sorely missing from most big budget blockbusters. I don't think Guardians of the Galaxy is a masterpiece of modern cinema, but it struck a nerve with an entire generation of moviegoers for reasons more than just being the latest and most colorful escapist diversion. It has something to say about growing up and losing those closest to you, and about making friends in a world of alienated capitalism.

So I know I don't get any points for this because everyone else seems to love it unconditionally anyway, but I've finally talked myself into loving Guardians of the Galaxy. While this may not mean a lot to the rest of you, it's one new entry in our science fiction canon I'm willing to stand up for.

"Well now I'm standing. Happy? We're all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle."

More New (2014) Releases
My Sci-Fi Canon | Superheroes | Spaceships
Tracking 2014: Multiple Watches | New Discoveries | All Together

[Note to self for future screenings: Guardians is itself exactly the kind of escapist fantasy you'd expect of someone trying to run away from their problems (the death of the mother; the film as Quill's own fantasy), but by making this emotional / psychological dimension central (beginning and ending on it) the film subverts its own escapist ethos.]

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