So you’re sitting in the movie theater, and your heart is filled with anticipation for the next Marvel Studios’ installment. You reach for your popcorn, eyes glued to the screen, with 3D glasses planted firmly on your face. Iron Man was intense, Captain America: The First Avenger was a roller coaster ride, and The Avengers, well, was just bloody fantastic. Suddenly, Chris Pratt enters, clad in a floor-length leather jacket while the credits roll; he approaches an abandoned temple on a barren planet. Shit’s about to get real. You know it, and I know it, and by God Chris Pratt knows it. But wait! Is he . . . ? No, he couldn’t be . . . ! Is he mouthing the words to the ’70’s hit “Come And Get Your Love”? Is he using an alien rodent as a microphone? Is his pelvis thrusting hypnotically?
This amazing opening sequence lets you know all you need to know about Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel charters new territory with fearlessness and charm in what could have easily been a ridiculous and overfunded film. Everyone is talking about Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, his character; while ridiculously muscle-bound, is the hero everyone has been looking for. He isn’t a hero because he represents what people can be with a fancy suit or a radioactive spider; he is rather what we are as we stand. He is charming, foolish and a comedic genius. The romance with Zoe Saldana isn’t overplayed–which I loved–and there is a much stronger emphasis on friendship. Rocket Raccoon (the talking rodent that may be many people’s excuse for not seeing the film) is voiced expertly by Bradley Cooper; and instead of watching a ridiculous albeit hilarious rodent struggle to take on baddies, we see a creature torn apart by genetic engineering and painfully self-aware of his own absurdity and solitude. It’s truly exquisite to watch: even Groot (the talking tree voiced by Vin Diesel) has moments of sentiment and heroism. SPOILER ALERT: “We are Groot” is perhaps the most powerful cinematic line this half of the century–go see why.
|Lee Pace and Karen Gillan as villains Ronan and Nebula|
But the real star of the show is not its amazing protagonists, nor its expertly crafted supporting cast–even including Lee Pace as Ronan (perhaps the best Marvel villain yet–sorry Hiddleston). No, the charm, wit and serendipity of the movie is condensed into one often underused element: the soundtrack. Every song is written into the screenplay, and the power of the ’70’s pop ballad reigns true. A track list that would seem entirely out of place in any other movie in the genre syncs with its character perfectly and is able to add both levity and intensity when needed. In short, Marvel Studios is the heir to all things awesome–yet again.