Published on April 24th, 2015 | by SgtKaiju0
MCU Retrospective Review – Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Year of Release: 2014
Film Number: 10
Budget: $195.9 million
Box Office Takings: $774.2 million
Director: James Gunn
Written By: Nicole Pearlman and James Gunn
Following on the from the resounding success of The Avengers, Marvel brings us the tale of…a talking tree and a violent raccoon fighting fundamentalist blue-skinned aliens?!
Very much the punk kid to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians Of The Galaxy was a massive risk when it was announced. Prior to this, Marvel had generally played it safe, sticking to well-known heroes, set (mostly) in modern day America. We knew this world, we understood this world. But then along comes Guardians Of The Galaxy, like you kid cousin who has just discovered Marilyn Manson, with its day-glo style and plethora of alien and otherworldly folks.
Guardians Of The Galaxy makes no attempt to explain it’s world or the people in it and is all the stronger for it. It could quite easily have got lost in futile effort to justify all the bizarre content (ala Phantom Menace), but instead just throws us in the deep end and expects us to swim. And swim we do. This one of the glorious films where the background action is almost as compelling as the main storyline, with the bit-parts as fleshed out as anyone, be it the prison guard who loves the walkman too much, or The Broker effortlessly stealing the screen. And the same can said of the mis-en-scene, from the oddity of all the Nova ships to the ball-out madness of Knowhere. This is a world that draws you in, each scene being rammed with other stories to tell, other adventures to follow.
But this isn’t to say that the main storyline is anyway secondary or weak. Truly the greatest strength here, from a filmmaking point of view, is to serve the dual master of setting up a world AND telling a compelling story at the same time. Many films (X-Men, Jumper, etc) fall into the trap of being too busy worldbuilding to have a plot. But Guardians Of The Galaxy pulls it off with aplomb. You are pulled along with these characters, from their initial fights to the eventually group bonding. Each of the main 5 are wonderfully realised characters, with each of them given several moment to shine as kick-ass heroes but also scenes to grab hold of the heartstrings, from Gamora tentatively learning to dance to the frankly heartbreaking drunken rage from Rocket about his very existence. These are flawed heroes in the most human of ways. And that is why they work, despite being a walking tree or genetically-altered killing machine, we can all relate to them in a way that the more earth-bound heroes sometimes fail at.
Despite some early misgivings about the viability of such a franchise leap, Guardians turned out to be simply the most fun film in the MCU yet. There are many good films so far, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest in just enjoy-ability factor. Not since the days of Han Solo has space opera been such a ride and such a laugh.
A pitch-perfect addition to the MCU, I await great things as they start in interact with the rest of The Avengers…