This latest venture into the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes us as far away from Earth and its Mightiest Heroes as we could possibly go, the only connecting point being Thanos, who we saw at the end of The Avengers but doesn’t play that much larger of a role here. Just like in The Avengers, he’s in the background orchestrating things.
Guardians of the Galaxy is about Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, as he attempts to retrieve a super powerful orb and save the galaxy with the help of Gamora, an assassin trained by Thanos himself, Drax, who is seeking revenge for the death of his family, a genetically engineered bounty hunter called Rocket, and Groot, who is Groot.
The beginning of the movie is very exposition heavy, but that’s forgivable because they have an entire galaxy and its inhabitants that they have to introduce and the rest of the movie more than makes up for it.
The Guardians take the orb to someone we’ve already met in the MCU and have its contents and its power explained. They then vow to not let the orb fall into the hands of Ronan the Accuser, (the main villain in the movie) which it promptly does.
The back half of the movie is the Guardians coming together as a team in an attempt to defeat Ronan.
Guardians of the Galaxy is, by far, the most comic book-y of the Marvel movies. There are the obvious fantasy elements (like a talking raccoon and walking tree), but even the heavy dose of humor give the movie a comic book feel. I think this works both for and against the movie though. After watching one Avenger deal with PTSD and another deal with the corruption and destruction of what was suppose to be incorruptible and indestructible, a fun, witty romp through space that doesn’t take itself too seriously is a welcome change.
On the other hand, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the Guardians and the Avengers are in the same universe. I can see that moment when Tony Stark meets Rocket for the first time and it’s jarring.
That said, I don’t think the Avengers will be meeting the Guardians anytime soon, so until then, I’ll just sit back and enjoy them both.
Two quick notes:
Guardians is also, by far, the most crass of the Marvel movies. The action and violence is on par with the rest of the MCU, but the language is a lot stronger. It doesn’t cross the line into the offensive, but it will be a long while before I let my young daughter watch this movie.
The second note: as with every Marvel movie, stay to the end of the credits. I promise you that you won’t be expecting what happens.