Mission Marvel: Catching up with Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy films

Disney, Marvel and Lucas have been busy churning out one sci-fi blockbuster after another. The problem is they make so many movies it can be easy for a person to fall behind. This is going to be a series where I reflect on the different film sets within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I decided to start with Guardians of the Galaxy volumes 1 and 2.

The Star Wars movie for the MCU.

My first impression of these two films is they were fantastic. I could easily see myself becoming hooked on this series. I was fortunate enough to watch them both back to back, saving myself the agony of waiting years in between.

I will also admit I was a fan of the new style Star Trek films. I enjoyed the 2009 film a lot. The sequels not so much but they were still fun to watch, more so than many of the previous films. I felt like Marvel found a way to combined the best elements from Fantastic Four, Star Wars and Star Trek all into one thrill ride that was pure adrenaline front to back.

I enjoyed the humor in this films. It felt like it was based on the characters in this world interacting in the way a ragtag band of misfits would act. Plus Groot was too cute. I especially enjoyed the throw away references to Howard the Duck. I mean those brief cameos were a hundred times better than the entirety of his previous live-action film.

I want to get into the positives before I tackle the nitpicks. These are the first movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where my nitpicks are literally just that, minor annoyances nothing jumped out at me as jarring or eye rolling it was more or less personal preferences for once.

The good. Amazing special effects. For a Marvel movie to impress me visually is becoming a feat. After seeing Civil War, Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange and even Thor: Ragnarock, I was worried the visuals wouldn’t impress me. Wow. That is all I can say. I didn’t see any CGI that made me cringe. I felt the movie was believable. I was having a nice Doctor Who vibe throughout the course of both films. This feeling was furthered by the realization the lovely Karen Gillan (the mesmerizing Amy Pond) was one of the main characters. It was also nice to see her play a villain (sort of) for once.

This takes me to the second positive aspect of the film, the characters. I felt they were all memorable, fun and enjoyable characters I was happy to follow along on their guest. I felt like this is probably the one MCU film series that would be best served as a long form TV series. I like the all star cast and top notch effects so I can see a TV series suffering but this was a really fun pair of films to behold.

This brings me to the final positive aspect. The plots of both films had real stakes beyond just stopping yet another alien trying to destroy or take over the Earth. I especially liked how it digs into the back story of the celestials while also providing even further lore for the infinity stones. Seeing Thanos on screen was also a big moment for the franchise.

The world building was a little forced, rushed even but at least they had a score of previous Marvel films to tie things into. I love the deep space lore in the Marvel comics. I especially was thrilled to see Ego realized as a character. It was also a very good decision to make him the villain of the film.

When I first started hearing all the good things about Guardians of the Galaxy my first thought was it surely would only appeal to die hard MCU fans. I know it had a large following and attributed that to the mainstream audience these films as a whole have been attracting. I think this is the first side series I truly believe was good enough it could stand on its own. Maybe not if there hadn’t been an MCU fanbase to launch it but I think if the remainder of the MCU falls apart they can turn this band of characters into a fantastic long running series on the level of Star Wars.

Now let’s tackle the minor nitpicks. These aren’t really negatives that lessened my enjoyment merely a couple items I wanted to address. The mix tape. I know they address it half way through the movie but I felt it was a misstep. I love the mixtape but I think, for a kid who was eight years old in 1988, those tunes wouldn’t make up his version of Awesome Mix. I mean sure it was his mothers songs and they made it known he was close to his mom but I think, in my opinion, he would have named it mom’s favorites or something not Awesome mix. I get the feeling the tunes were selected by the producer or director and they didn’t care the timeline wasn’t going to make damn sense. Still, they address is in film so I can accept it. Like I said very minor it was only the first thing I felt, okay that’s a little odd. The other thing was the throw away Zune reference. I rolled my eyes at that. I get it, it’s a well used joke in sci-fi space travel movies but come one it’s played out. Again, not something to lessen my enjoyment of the film.

I loved the chemistry between the characters. By the time they start referring to themselves as a family I was on board. It didn’t feel forced at all. This is also the first set of films in the MCU I honestly can say I am going to spend some more time with. I re-watched the first Avengers before I watched Ultron just to get caught up. I re-watched Civil War right before I watched Ragnarock. That’s it, I haven’t seen any single movie in the MCU more than once. They are all good movies. There’s just too many of them for me to keep up with already plus I have so much other stuff going on I can’t keep up. These two movies I can see myself watching over again. How much I don’t know. I revisit the Star Wars movies once a year. I watch all three of the Pirates of the Caribbean films every year. (I stop with At Worlds End the story was done) and I rewatch the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th series once a year. I can see Guardians of the Galaxy being added to that lexicon for me.

Plus that Groot was just too cute. I might need to give Groot his own spin off series ala Droid or Ewoks.

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