Guardians of the Galaxy
After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy last night I immediately tweeted “Guardians of the Galaxy > Avengers“. I’ll be the first person to admit that that was wrong. What I meant to say was “Guardians of the Galaxy > The Avengers”. I forgot to include the “The” in the title of the Avengers movie.
Guardians has the upper hand of coming out two years later than The Avengers did, but regardless of the technological improvements that may have been made since, Guardians of the Galaxy trumps The Avengers in pretty much every aspect other than the familiarity of the masses to the heroes contained within.
After splintering off from his associated gang of thieves Peter Quill(Chris Pratt), also known as Star-Lord, steals an orb that he then plans to sell and keep the profits for himself. The villain of the film, Ronan(Lee Pace), is seeking the orb and sends trained assassin Gamora(Zoe Saldana) to retrieve it for him. Meanwhile, the leader of Quill’s former gang puts a bounty out on Quill that Rocket(voiced by Bradley cooper) and Groot(voiced by Vin Diesel) are intent on collecting. They get into a scuffle in the middle of the Xandarian capital city and are all arrested and sent to space prison. This is where they meet Drax the Destroyer(Dave Bautista). They team up to escape prison and sell the orb, or in Drax’s case just to eventually kill Ronan. But, after the orb falls into Ronan’s hands they take on the more noble cause of saving the galaxy by taking Ronan down.
I’m not going to spoil the plot by summarizing any further than that. I will, however, take this opportunity to defend what I said about this movie being better than The Avengers.
1.) Guardians of the Galaxy(GotG) hits harder on emotional moments. The very beginning of the film is a super bummer for Peter Quill. Drax and Gamora are driven by revenge for what happened to their families. Then, later on, the incredibly strong bond amongst the group is very apparent. They come across as a true group, instead of a bunch of heroes brought together by another organization, that then disbands after the mission is over.
2.) GotG has action sequences that are on par with The Avengers, if not even better. We get that fight between them towards the beginning and that prison escape sequence. The end sequence is fantastic. It made me think of a better version of the beginning scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
3.) This has a more climactic ending. Partially because the trailers for The Avengers had any form of tension ruined in that. We knew Hulk was going to catch Iron Man falling from the sky at some point. Not that anyone expects Marvel to kill any of their heroes in any of their movies, but this is a film about a relatively unknown group. You don’t know what to expect.
4.) The scale is much more grand. In The Avengers Tony Stark was making a sacrifice to save a city. In GotG they start by saving an entire planet which would lead to who knows how much destruction if they fail. The final fight is bigger, and it actually involves taking on a villain in a life or death showdown.
5.) In a way GotG is more relatable, because they’re not initially choosing to be heroes at all, they’re all criminals that are essentially stuck having to save lives. Sure, only one of them is human, but their situation is more normal than “because I’m the god of thunder” or “I have to, I work for S.H.I.E.L.D.”. Not to get spoiler-y, but if you think about it they’re plan initially really only involves something they need to do to save a friend’s life, not a planet, but they do what needs to be done.
6.) GotG is way funnier. It’s probably the funniest super hero movie out there. Spider-man might think he’s funny, but he’s got nothing on the Guardians of the Galaxy. Quill is the obvious funny guy, being humorous even in serious situations. Rocket is funny in a ‘mentally unstable’ way. Drax takes everything literally and is very serious, which leaves a lot of funny misunderstandings or admissions. Groot is funny in a mime way, or when Rocket responds to “I am Groot” repeating back what Groot said. Gamora is the least funny of the group, but then like Drax she ends up having funny moments in oblivious ways.
There you have it. The action’s great, the dialogue is great, the environments are beautiful, and the performances tie it all together. Dave Bautista has never been better and the digital artists/Bradley Cooper’s voice bring Rocket to life wonderfully and make him a stand-out character.
James Gunn has knocked it out of the park. I would gladly pay to see this again on an IMAX screen. Here’s to another great and (hopefully) prosperous franchise.