Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]

“You said it yourself, bitch! We’re the Guardians of the Galaxy.”

So, my partner had never seen this film before, so I decided that had to be remedied, forthwith, though I have seen this before in the cinema. On second watching though, it is still as charming and had me laughing just as gleefully as the first time.

The film follows the escapades of the ‘Guardians’: Peter Quill, grifter extraordinaire and the heart of the group with a penchant for 70s and 80s rock ‘n’ pop tunes; Gamora, adopted/kidnapped daughter of the most evil dick in the universe Thanos and one of the most badass bitches in the universe; Rocket Raccoon, the genetically modified brains and engineer of the gang; Drax the Destroyer, the brawn whose childlike, literal manner is really quite touching; and lastly but not leastly Groot, who has the most limited vocab of the bunch but always manages to get his point made and is equal parts wrathful and sweetness. Special mentions to both Nebula (Gamora’s estranged sis) and The Collector (played by Benicio Del Toro) who was just plain creepy and weird; also did anyone notice Nathan Fillion (Firefly) and Rob Zombie in this film(?!) I just read their names in the cast list and I am SHOOK.

I digress.

On paper, this modicum of misfits really shouldn’t work but in reality they fit together like a puzzle, and both as characters and as actors there’s a chemistry on screen that you cannot deny.

This movie is just pure fun, and in terms of the Marvel universe, it was a welcome change from the previous timelines of MCU films which took a darker turn. It feels like the perfect blend of entertainment, action and humour, and I suspect its existence set the bar extremely high for subsequent Marvel films to come.

The soundtrack is an absolute joy and I loved it. I actually bought the soundtrack on tape the first time I saw the film so that I could enjoy it long after. Tape sparks this really reminiscent thing in me about my own childhood and making my own mixtapes. I remember painstakingly recording my favourite songs off of the radio (which is what you had to do if you didn’t have the album yourself in the days before on-demand streaming music). For those who don’t know, you would have to sit and wait for it to play out as it recorded so not something you could make idly like you can with a Tidal or Spotify playlist… It’s so funny to me that that specific aspect of the movie would only speak to older generations, because newer ones wouldn’t understand how precious that is and how much work would have gone into making a gift like that. That Peter’s mum would have made it, ridden with cancer as she was, speaks to a really profound love for Peter and was such a simple yet touching aspect which enveloped the movie with love. The soundtrack is perfectly woven into the movie, so that every song showcased has a significant purpose.

SPOILER & CN – ableism: There’s one moment in the movie which made me feel quite uncomfortable which is where Rocket makes Peter talk an amputee into getting his prosthetic leg from him (for a price) and laughs gleefully about how the amputee must have looked without it. I wondered how disabled people would have interpreted that moment… there’s an obvious shift in the Guardians on-screen about this making them feel uncomfortable and it seems to be a symbol that though Rocket is advanced, he is still an animal at heart… I think if that was the intention, it could have been done a different way that was not ableist and didn’t poke fun at disabled people… USA’s president Mr Trump has got that basic shit covered, so I hear. This is the one bit that dates the movie for me, because its existence is a sign of society acceptance (at the time) of subtle digs at disabled people like it’s just ‘innocuous fun’. I very much believe that would not have made it to screen by today’s standards.

Anyways, despite this I enjoyed the film a lot. It was a really fun (re-)watch, the casting was perfection, the action was so good and CGI really gorgeous (particularly the massive floating skull in space and the interlocking ships). I loved that the characters were complicated and had space to grow and change as the story progressed. It’s still a solid top ten MCU film of all time for me. Thumbs up!

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