By Daniel Payne
I won't lie.
I won't lie.
As excited as I've been about Guardians of the Galaxy, I was also very worried. For several reasons. First? I've seen some of my all-time favorite characters absolutely butchered onscreen before (I'm looking at you, Venom-in-Spiderman 3 and Bane-in-Batman & Robin), and so I was nervous about having justice done to Rocket and Groot. Second, I've basically spent the last year annoying the hell out of everyone I know over this movie, telling them it's gonna be the must-see movie of 2014 and such... and I was afraid of having overhyped it, or worse, having it be terrible and looking like a moron.
So imagine my immense happiness at being able to say: I literally loved everything about it. Even the few things I'd have done differently can't really be called complaints, because I completely adored the film.
Random thoughts on it after the break...
From the not-so-subtle Raiders of the Lost Ark homage at the beginning, I knew immediately this was going to be fantastic.
Thank you, James Gunn, for sticking Cosmo in, even as a cameo. One of my favorite Marvel cosmic characters, and one I was certain I'd NEVER see in a movie. AND HE WAS ADORABLE.
SO many little things that made me happy, from Cosmo and Rocket growling at each other, to Yondu's arrow, to Rocket's drunken emotional meltdown, to HOWARD THE DUCK... perfection, all of it.
The special effects were amazing, and the scenery and colors were nothing short of breathtaking.
The entire theater cheered when Thanos first appeared, which as a lifelong fan of the character, made me smile.
Gamora definitely looked better than she did in the trailers. Still not quite as good as I'd have liked, but definitely better. I definitely think they could have made her more fearsome, play up the "most dangerous woman in the galaxy" thing a little more, but Zoe played her perfectly with what she had.
|You've been Thanos'd (so hard)|
Dave Bautista as Drax was easily the most pleasant surprise of the whole movie. I expected him to be a glaring weak link, but he did tremendously. I was extremely impressed with him. I can't tell you how much I loved him stating that now he wants to kill Thanos. And his comforting of Rocket? Fantasticly subtle and sweet.
Star-Lord was great. I can't emphasize that enough. They amplified a few of his personality traits, like his wise-ass nature and his narcissism, but in a way that made the character even better, and truly capable of carrying a movie by himself if need be.
Now. The big two. Rocket and Groot. Let's just get this out of the way first: James Gunn has given us the definitive Groot. Poor tree-guy's been retconned and changed so many damn times in such a short span of time that it's easy to not really know what he's about. And Mr. Gunn took that and ran with it, giving us a more simple, sweet, innocent, and flat-out LOVABLE Groot than I ever expected to see. And the bit during the credits? I want a toy of that. NOW.
And Rocket, well... any grumbling I may have done when first hearing Bradley Cooper's "Rocket voice" is officially apologized for. Dude knocked it out of the PARK. Rocket was, as we all hoped he'd be, the absolute highlight of the movie. Every damn word he said was pure gold, from his wisecracks, to his insults, to his drunken breakdown, to his mourning. I was afraid of how they might portray Rocket, given how much Bendis has changed him in V3... but those fears were completely unfounded. Much like Groot... I think Gunn just gave us the definitive Rocket. The one people will know and love from this point on.
I'm going to slightly paraphrase my description of the first Cap movie here: this was a love letter to all longtime GOTG fans.
My one, solitary complaint (and it's not a big one at all) was that they essentially made Ronan irredeemable, to where even if he DOES somehow return, I can't ever see him being portrayed as the semi-hero he is in the comics now.
And yes, I found Nebula to be wicked hot. 100%, distractingly, I-can-barely-think-because-of-it hot. It's officially impossible for me NOT to find Karen Gillan sexy as hell.
Overall? I don't feel I'm being biased to call this my favorite MCU film yet, and honestly, quite possibly the most fun I've had watching a movie in YEARS. The feeling of joy and excitement this film gave me was the feeling I wish the Star Wars prequels could have given me. It has so much heart, and leaves you thinking of the Guardians not as characters, but as old friends.