Prime Reactions Review – Guardians of the Galaxy

I know it’s been a few weeks without me posting but I’m back and hopefully the posts will be too. Finally going to make a post not about building toys.

This will be my first Prime Reactions post. A segment where I give thoughts on a newly released movie. More than likely they’ll involve superhero movies as they’re a big thing now but I may write about animated films as well. It’s been a few days since I’ve seen it but I wanted to give some thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy.  Keep in mind that with any Prime Reactions posts,  there may be spoilers as they’ll be covering new movies. I’ll try to keep them to a minimum.

A little background before we begin. Nothing against them but I don’t really read comics. I do read a few manga and while I’m a big fan of superheroes I’ve only read a few trade paperbacks. Honestly, besides Spider-Man and to some extent X-Men (mostly Wolverine) I didn’t really know much about the rest of Marvel until the Iron Man film came out. After having a good time with that one and then watching The Avengers I went back to watch the solo films I missed. Enjoyed those for the most part and I’ve been a fan since. Just want you to keep in mind that most of my Marvel knowledge is restricted to 90s cartoons, films, and Lego sets. The Mandarin has a golf cart flamethrower, right?

You can imagine that I knew nothing about Guardians of the Galaxy going in. They certainly don’t come close to being as recognizable as other Marvel characters. Making a movie like this is sort of what I appreciate about Marvel Studios. They’re willing to take risks. At this point I can blindly go into a Marvel Studios film and expect to have fun even if it doesn’t have Iron Man or Captain America. At worst I’ll get a poor movie but still a good time. From the reviews and reactions I’ve seen this one’s another winner and I’m glad it paid off for them.

I’ll go into the characters first as they’re what people will be talking about coming out of the film. I only knew of Chris Pratt from The Lego Movie but his Peter Quill was definitely my favorite here. He’s got a certain charm that makes me enjoy every moment he’s on screen. Once the title pops up and he’s dancing across a planet to Come and Get Your Love using a lizard as a microphone, I knew I was going to like this guy. During the film, some guy took his precious walkman. Knowing that, I was just waiting for that guy to get his. The scene didn’t disappoint. You don’t take Star Lord’s walkman. Need to stall for time? Challenge the all-powerful villain to a dance battle. That might’ve been my favorite part in the film. He definitely stole the show. Waiting for a sale before I pick up a Lego set for the Star Lord figure because now I really want one.

Obviously what caught a lot of people’s attention in the trailers was Rocket Raccoon and I definitely liked him too. He is clearly a comedic character and he is. Some of his lines and interactions were incredibly funny. However, there were some really sad moments for him (though sort of randomly inserted) giving his character another dimension so he’s more than comic relief. I don’t want to ruin any jokes or spoil anything regarding him so I’ll stop here.

From the trailers you really didn’t get much of Groot. Turns out what you got from the trailer was pretty much what you get in the film. He only says “I am Groot” and Rocket’s the only one who understands him. He does have a character in that he’s gentle and protective but willing to do some harsh things to bad people. The relationship he has with Rocket and everyone else really came together as the film went on. For the character that says the least, he was as human as anyone else (as far as aliens go). Wondering how much Vin Diesel got paid for this one. Would’ve been nice to see him in a physical Marvel role instead but instead he is Groot.

Gamora was sort of okay. Most of what you know about her comes from exposition. Initially I thought she was playing both sides and you weren’t meant to know where her loyalties lied but that wasn’t really what they were going for. Turns out she was a good guy from beginning to end. There wasn’t any kind of big reveal for that either. I kind of wish there was more ambiguity to it but there wasn’t and we’re just supposed to believe her the moment she says she’s good. As the film goes on, she and Peter develop a Han Solo and Leia relationship. It doesn’t develop too far but it was nice seeing her gradually warm up to Peter because we get some strong interactions between them.

Then we have Drax. He’s probably my least favorite. I got some internal laughs from his taking everything said to him literally but that’s sort of all I got. His deal is that one of the bad guys killed his family so he’s out to kill whoever that is. He gets a chance but gets beat. Then he joins the crew for real. The decision seemed too rushed for me even if it was inevitable. I think the actor played the part fine. I liked him but the character just wasn’t strong enough. It seemed like he was there just to add to the team count and deliver some good humor. I don’t recall him doing anything too integral to the plot like the other four did so I’m wondering if taking him out would’ve affected the film.

After the good guys we have the bad guys. Once again we have poor villains. Not necessarily a bad thing because the focus needs to be on the heroes but I just want a strong villain in these Marvel movies. I may make a post specifically on this subject some day but besides Loki no other Marvel movie villain comes close to being as strong a character as him. They either have generic goals, no goals at all, or are bad just so they can get their comeuppance at the end. Besides being portrayed by Lee Pace (who I like), I don’t know a thing about Ronan the Accuser. He wants to destroy a planet because they signed a peace treaty with his race’s planet? So he wants to destroy a/the world… That’s new. A lot of these villain roles could be played by anybody and it’s sad to see these actors wasted. I understand that if there was more time for the villain, there’s less time for the heroes. That’s simple math but I guess for these Marvel movies they really want to focus on the heroes. I understand that for this film as there’s five of them and even then I don’t feel I got enough of each. I don’t need every villain to be Loki or The Joker but it seems like they’re in these films just so there’s a bad guy. They’re really building up Thanos and we get a full shot of him this time along with his voice but I still don’t know a thing about him other than he’s bad so hopefully this guy’ll come to fruition as a good villain in future films.

Lastly we have the supporting cast. I feel John C. Reilly was wasted unless they bring him back and he gets more screentime. We also have Gleen Close playing Nova Prime. They’re part of the Nova Corps which I’ve seen described as similar to the Green Lanterns minus the powers. In the film, they hold off the bad guys with their flying machines and despite a “We don’t need their scum” line end up working with Peter and friends. My favorite moment with Reilly was after Peter (who to the Corps is a criminal) sent him a message explaining that Ronan was going to attack the planet. Reilly now has to relay this to Nova Prime and of course she asks if he thinks Peter can be trusted. I forgot the line but Reilly says Peter told him something like ‘I might be bad but I’m not a complete dick’. When I heard the first part of that line I really expected Reilly to say “He is bad guy but he is not BAD guy.” since John C. Reilly was Wreck-It Ralph and both of these movies are under Disney. Would’ve been nice to hear but not surprised it wasn’t here.

I didn’t remember a lot of the exposition and much of it didn’t matter, at least to me. Gamora is Thanos’s adopted daughter? Or was she Ronan’s? Wait, what about the bald cyborg girl? Who’s daughter was she? She seemed loyal to Thanos but she’s blue like Ronan. I didn’t catch any of that. Honestly all you need to know to get through the film is bad guy wants to blow up a planet and good guys need to stop him. Like Thor 2 and Avengers, the story revolves around another Infinity Stone. We finally get some exposition on these and the heroes try to keep it out of either villain’s hands. It’s more interesting if the bad guy gets it, so the plot lets Ronan get it. Afterwards, we get a long action climax. There were a lot of moments that required main character powers or happened because the plot required them to. I’ve learned to ease up a little when I notice these but they still bother me a bit. On another note, they’re getting away with a lot more these days with PG-13 films. Transformers was beyond pushing it but they used a lot of swears and there was even a middle finger! Not quite the most appropriate film to take your young ones to but I’m not going to lie when I say they’ll still have a good time with the action and characters.

Saw this in Imax 3D because I was tricked… but I’ll still talk about it. The only other movie I saw in 3D was The Avengers and after that I thought I’d never do it again. Not that it was a negative experience. For one, I’d rather not pay around double the basic price for a gimmick. Also, 3D’s a lot to put your mind through depending on your physical state and how long the film is. The Avengers was about twenty minutes longer than this one. I had to take off the glasses a few times because it was just too much. I was able to keep them on the whole time for this one though. I’m clearly not an expert on 3D movies but I was okay with it. There were only three or four times where something really popped out at me but otherwise it was atmospheric for the most part. This didn’t convert me to see more movies in 3D but there wasn’t anything to complain about besides price. No strain on my eyes or mind so it was fine. Still don’t think I’ll ever watch a movie and think I really needed to see it in 3D instead.

Final thoughts: This movie was simply a lot of fun. Of course people are going to compare it to Captain America 2 and I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do. They’re free to do that but I don’t think anyone should walk into Guardians of the Galaxy and expect that strong a story. The trailers set the tone for this one and that’s what I got. If I had to, I would easily rank Captain America 2 above this one like many others but Guardians would rank higher than Thor 2 which I classified as “bad movie, good time”. This was absolutely a good time. I may need a rewatch to see if it falls into bad movie territory though. It can be pretty stupid at times. I would recommend Guardians of the Galaxy to anyone. It’s not too necessary to watch the other Marvel movies to understand it. It to some extent stands alone but of course it’d be great if they would watch the others as well. The character interactions and comedy are what make this one a winner. Doesn’t hurt to have a bunch of classic 70s songs playing throughout the movie either.

I apologize for this not being too in-depth and using several generic statements but as I said I tried to avoid spoilers and I think I would need to watch it again to really “get it” and deliver a more solid review. I was trying to finish up another review but figured I could get this done faster.

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