Continuing Second Union’s coverage of the MCU leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, we have the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy. Nobody expected it to be the smash hit that it was. However, four years later, it still holds its position as one of the best Marvel movies. Changing the game and launching us into the cosmic section of the MCU was a bold move on the studio’s part, and they surely got it right. With brilliant new character dynamics and striking visuals, seeing this on the big screen was a blast.
The film’s tragic opening sequence sets the tone for the rest of the movie. Watching young Peter Quill listen to his Walkman, and then face his mother, watching her die in front of him. The fact that he’s faced with regret for not holding her hand is distressing and definitely different than other films before it. Telling it from the perspective of a child, it’s easy to relate to his struggles because we all have regret. On this level, however, it’s so emotional that it really gives insight into how different of a superhero movie this is. It’s also a really impressive character introduction. Speaking of…
The characters in this movie are very strongly introduced and developed. You’re given insight into their thoughts, their pasts, their motives, and their emotions. While it’s worth mentioning that the main villain is weak in this regard, the heroes are given an equal amount of depth and the narrative never misses a chance to tell us something new about them. They’re all compelling and add something new to the story, never becoming bland or repetitive. Emotionally, they’re investing as well. Each and every one has a troubled past, which makes their characters even more engaging. You feel for them. You know what they’ve gone through and can understand how they act.
When you’re first introduced to Gamora, she’s a ruthless assassin who seems to have no inner morals. Then you get to know her better and find that Thanos killed her parents in front of her. Rocket is initially a smart-mouthed, cocky asshole, but as you learn about his tortured past, it’s easier to feel sympathy. This comes out of a great scene on Knowhere, where he drunkenly spouts out his emotional struggles after getting into a fight with Drax and being called “vermin”.
Visually, this is also one of the most stunning of the MCU films. The film is filled with brilliantly vibrant atmospheres and characters. These fit together to create a world that is anything but bland. The worlds are refreshing, filled with hues of black and purple. The production design is beautiful, the buildings being grandiose and mesmerizing and the species creating a colorful backdrop for our heroes. The cinematography is also beautiful, serving as a wonderful component to the already stellar film.
Guardians of the Galaxy is not your typical Marvel film. It takes characters that, in any other circumstance, would be very hard to market as superheroes. However, James Gunn created a masterpiece of a superhero film. The characters are given life and are never boring. The writing is very strong and toys with your emotions, making you feel for these characters. The villain is lackluster, never being given any significant motives as to why he wants to annihilate Xandar. However, he’s still fun to watch. Everything in this film is fun to watch. It’s a beautiful, funny, and significant film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it still holds up as one of the best.
Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin. Directed by James Gunn.