In preparation for Avengers: Infinity War, I’m watching all the Marvel Studios movies leading up to it.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Whenever I make my “top MCU films” Guardians of the Galaxy is usually number 1, fighting it out with Iron Man. There are probably BETTER films from Marvel Studios. Certainly, Winter Soldier comes close. Spider-man Homecoming and Black Panther are contenders. But part of what makes Guardians my favorite is it’s sheer entertainment value.
It helps that I was a big fan of this team when they were first introduced in the comics. I have always been a fan of the more cosmic side of Marvel. Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer were early favorites. Silver Surfer lead to the Infinity Gauntlet mini-series. And from then-on I was up for any cosmic stories. That included Annihilation, the 2006 comic book crossover from which this version of Guardians of the Galaxy spun out of. I’ve got to say, I haven’t liked any of the more recent attempts at a Guardians book as much as those books by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
The movie version of the Guardians is much the same as the comics, but also significantly different. The characters are better drawn, for one. They share traits of their comic counterparts (subsequent comics have made the characters more like the movie versions) but are just a little bit sharper and tighter. The characters are a lot of the reason that I love this movie so much. Their interactions remind me a lot of what the Fantastic Four SHOULD be on the big screen. Their is (eventually) a lot of love at their foundation, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t sniping at each other or annoyed or just trying to get a rise out of each other at times.
The movie is also funny. One of the biggest steps toward outright comedy, I STILL laugh at a lot of moments in this movie. On top of that, it just looks gorgeous. The color palette and design are sensational, and I remember what a refreshing blast of color and fun in a sci-fi movie this was. The one negative often leveled at the movie is that the villain, Ronan, is weak. I can see that point, on one hand. In the comics, Ronan is a fantastic villain. He’s more sympathetic and complex. Some of that is lost here. But, at the same time, he at least feels like a real threat. I’m just sad he was dispatched, as I think he could have been a good cosmic foil.
I want to mention the final battle, that comes down to, essentially, a dance-off fake-out and then a “power of friendship” moment that should be cheesy but is actually, to me, gloriously cheesy and heartwarming. I love it every time I see it. Bringing it back to Peter’s mom when Gamora reaches out her hand also gets to me. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the latter films can knock Guardians off the pedestal I’ve placed it as I do this re-watch. But, for now, this was just a reminder of how much I love this movie.