At this point in the game it’s pretty clear that Marvel’s figured out how to get the vast majority of us to fall in love with comic book characters we’ve barely heard of. Yet, as the release of their latest, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” drew closer, I was more than a little apprehensive of their continued success.
Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America, while B characters, were still part of the pop culture lexicon when Marvel (and Disney) brought them to the forefront. Star-Lord and company (as made light of in the Guardians trailer), are hugging that line between B and C (and I say that with love). I wasn’t convinced it would work.
Spoiler Alert: I was wrong.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” had more than a few hurdles to face—the lesser known characters and a story that takes place (almost) entirely in outer-space to name a couple—and face them they did.
A story that starts on Earth as we see young Peter Quill (Wyatt Oleff) and his tape cassette of awesome hits from the 80’s facing the loss of his mother quickly soars off into the stars as Peter is apparently abducted by aliens.
Fast forward 26 years, and Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) still rocking his tape cassette of awesome hits from the 80’s is an unlikely anchor for an intergalactic battle. I’d say it’s difficult to imagine anyone but Chris Pratt pulling off this role, the perfect mix of goofy and dashing, but I’d be underselling it. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else in this role.
After many years of “collecting” items for interested parties (and a price), Quill finds himself in possession of a particularly dangerous item and the opportunity to take down an intergalactic terrorist, Ronan (Lee Pace, not my favorite villain of all time, but he gets the job done and Mr. Pace does a wonderful job with a limited character).
Now all he has to do is break out of the prison cell along with Ronan’s former accomplice, Gomora (Zoe Saldana); a man driven by vengeance toward Ronan who would gladly take out Gomora on the way, Drax (Dave Bautista); a talking raccoon who’s hoping to collect the bounty on Quill’s head, Rocket (Bradley Cooper); and Rocket’s muscle, Groot (Vin Diesel), a talking tree who knows precisely one phrase—I am Groot. Well, all that and decide whether intergalactic peace or a paycheck are more important to him.
They’re a ragtag group of barely known misfits and if you don’t fall in love with them by the end of this movie then we can’t be friends (your loss).
While Quill may be the anchor of the crew, Groot is the emotional center and (I’m going to say it, prepare yourselves) roots of this crew. I know, I was as surprised as you. And I can’t not mention the voice-acting star turn for Mr. Bradley Cooper as Rocket. Well done, sir.
What all of the modern Marvel movies (on the Disney side of the family) do so well and Guardians builds on is a light-hearted nature that still takes these stories seriously.