Saturday, August 2, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: Best Marvel Movie Yet

So far, all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies have had at least one positive trait that immediately comes to mind. Iron Man has the over-the-top charismatic, quick witted lead. Thor and Captain America can both take a break from saving the universe for a comedic break or two. The Avengers were at their heroic best when they overcome their differences and work together. And Hulk? Well, nevermind.

Marvel studios and director James Gunn have taken all of these high points, fit them together perfectly, and added a few more in Guardians of the Galaxy. While a few several more viewings will need to confirm it, right now this movie is up there with Star Wars as a peronal all time favorite.

Some filmmakers try to fit their movies into different genres, and ultimately don't fit in any. Their movie isn't funny enough to be a comedy, not dramatic enough to be a drama, and not actiony enough to be action. They end up just being...there. James Gunn doesn't have that problem. Like he did with "Super", James made a movie that's a hysterical comedy, a thrilling action movie, and a heartwarming drama all rolled into one.

Save for one or two scenes that were a few beats slow for my taste, the pacing was perfect. What was even better were all the little comedic setups and payoffs. They took a funny joke, then waited awhile, put a little twist on it, and told it again for an even bigger laugh. There was even a dramatic setup, a scene where I was left scratching my head a bit. Then when the payoff happened, and subsequent exposition, I was completely taken off guard. For the football fans out there, a perfect comparison would be that they knew how to use short running plays to set up the 50 yard bomb for a touchdown.

Personally I think a younger Nathan Fillion would've been a slightly better fit for the serious side of Peter Quill, Christ Pratt still does a remarkable job. Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista had their moments, but Bradley Copper's voice and the animators who created Rocket stole the show. And Groot was Vin Diesel's best work since Iron Giant!

While thinking about this film, it makes me a bit sad about the upcoming Ant Man project. Edgar Wright is right there with James Gunn in terms of talent and style, so I fear I'll be comparing Ant Man to a version of the movie that doesn't exist. Oh well, if that isn't a first world problem I don't know what is.

Even though there's a couple scenes for more mature audiences, I highly recommend taking kids to see this movie. For people in my age range, we had Star Wars. Guardians of the Galaxy can be that experience for the kids today.

Written by Douglas S. Adams, producer of The Photon Effect

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