Guardians of the Galaxy
Time/place: 10:35am showing at Krikorian with KB
When The Avengers came out, I wasn’t particularly eager to see it, but then I was very pleasantly surprised by how splendid it was. I had no particular interest in Guardians of the Galaxy, either, based on the previews I’d seen, but I’d been hearing some rave reviews, so I was hoping it’d pull off another disinterest-to-love surprise.
It did not.
The movie starts out beautifully. The opening scene is touching and well-done — I was duly impressed that they were able to evoke such a strong reaction in me for characters I hadn’t yet spent any time with. Following that with a tone-perfect title sequence had me thinking I was in for a great little treat of a movie, but it all went downhill from there really quickly.
The story is simple enough, and the characters are fine, but the script and direction are really abysmal. I don’t like to harp on a movie I dislike, but I was genuinely a little surprised at how bad this movie was. Subtle, it was not. I was sitting there, pretty unentertained, and part of that was because everything is so on-the-nose. It took me a little while to realize it, but part of this is because of the bad dialogue. The characters say everything. EVERYthing. At one point, while under attack, a character pulls off a move that alters the enemy-filled environment while the character and his crew remain safe inside a room. We see it happen, it’s obvious what happened, but then one of the crew members says, “You (did the action) out there, while we stayed safe in here.” It wasn’t even an out-loud realization like Lex Luthor has at the end of Superman II… it was a “Hey, did you see that, audience? Okay, just checking.” It’d be forgivable, but it happens throughout the whole darn movie. Characters won’t shut up about what is going on, what they’re thinking, everything. Emotional moments are robbed of any strength they could have had simply because it’s all too obvious and blunt. I get that the tone of the movie is a little more tongue-in-cheek, and I think that could’ve worked just fine, but it just wasn’t a well-written movie. Even the payoffs that weren’t dialogue-driven, moments that could’ve been great and satisfying, were pretty dull and listless.
Speaking of dull, while not all of the actors in this movie are that great in general, the performances all felt a little wooden. Heck, the giant tree-character was more endearing and well-performed than some of the live-action folks. I’ll blame the writer/director for this, too. Maybe he’s bad with actors, maybe it was a tense set, or maybe he was just in over his head, but not only was the script too obvious at a lot of points, he didn’t even bring out decent performances. I think the actors tried, and some pulled it off, but everything just felt really off. The tone, the performances, everything.. it was all quite bizarre, but not in a fun, refreshing way — more so in a disappointing, poorly-made way. Even the action scenes, which should at least be a semi-saving grace for a movie like this, were disorienting and entirely forgettable. For bonus fun, I loved that Glenn Close’s character has a really, really hot assistant, who was quite often standing right in plain view, perfectly framed, just as eye-candy. We were also treated to plenty of obvious butt-shots of Zoe Saldana — it was all to a point where I couldn’t help but laugh. Haha, speaking of which, the end-credit moment cracked me up. It was really, really fitting, but I’m also looking at it as a joke that wasn’t intended to be funny for the reasons I find it funny.
Boy, giving this movie a hard time, aren’t I? Well, yeah, but that’s probably because I thought there was a good movie in there, and I actually DID enjoy some aspects. Some of the lines were genuinely funny, even though, admittedly, most fell completely flat (my theater was silent a lot, save for one couple in the back who freaking LOVED this movie). Groot was a really endearing, entertaining character, and he has a moment near the end that could’ve been really powerful in a better movie. I definitely want a groot of my own, though – so adorable 🙂 . Speaking of adorable, Rocket Raccoon was definitely a good time; as my pal Nick guessed based on the trailers, Rocket’s certainly the kinda fun character I’d have a great time playing. Lee Pace, as our villain, is someone who I only really discovered this year through AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, but I really love watching him; for as little time as he has in the movie, I enjoyed the presence he brought to the character.
Guardians of the Galaxy starts off with an emotional POW, but then did nothing to draw me in after that. It filled its time with characters I (mostly) didn’t care too much about, was hindered by a lame script and direction, and is certainly the weakest movie I’ve seen Marvel put out, yet (hmm, okay.. maybe Thor‘s worse). That’s too bad, too… because a flick about the strange and the outcast banding together into a ragtag team should be right up my alley. The following grade is only as high as it is because of the occasional chuckle and two fun characters.
But hey, at least The Killing returns on Netflix today! 🙂