On protagonists with secret pains but are totally cool about it

If you’ve just seen Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and raved about how fantastic it was, I want you to know that you’re not alone and there is no shame in your enthusiastic appreciation. It’s so good, no?

guardians-of-the-galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy, written and directed by James Gunn, is about five intergalactic outlaws who unwittingly took the task of (you guessed it), guarding the galaxy from the evil Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace). The group is led by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who calls himself the Star-Lord. He stumbles upon a precious infinity stone and decides to sell it, but he is attacked by Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who wants to steal it from him. The raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and humanoid tree Groot (Vin Diesel) join in on the squabble and the four end up in prison, where they meet Drax (Dave Bautista). The five escape and decide to sell the stone to The Collector (Benicio del Toro). After the five learn about the stone’s power to annihilate civilizations, Ronan swoops down on them and snatches it. The five team up to give him a glorious galactic space fight. The movie is the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the same universe where the Avengers kick ass. The movie is a wonderful followup to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was one of the more impressive Marvel films.

What makes this summer superhero movie worthy of your time is the trusty combination of precise casting, a hilarious script, expensive visual effects, copious amounts of nostalgic music (Jackson Five!), and of course, general badassery through fast-paced action. Something also has to be said about protagonists with secret pains but are totally cool about it. What separates Peter Quill from other superheroes with sob stories is that he knows he’s hurting but he doesn’t wallow in it. He tries to keep it away from us, but not in the annoying, self-pitying, attention-whoring kind of way. Looking at you, Spiderman. A goofy Marvel hero is also a welcome break from the cranky (Hulk, Thor) pensive (Captain America, Spiderman again) douchebag (Iron Man), so we’re definitely rooting for Star-Lord, who uses rabid space rats as microphones when he spontaneously bursts into song.

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You know the characters have a certain sense of self-awareness, which at some point satirizes the superhero movie by pointing out stereotypical scenes like standing together in a circle and internalizing just how awesome they are before carrying out a daunting mission. It’s funny in a meta sort of way. It’s a shame the next film will be shown in three years (what), but we can bank on it being worth it. If you have nothing better to do this weekend, this movie is positively recommended.

Some nonsense comments:

  1. Groot is the humanoid plant equivalent of Hodor.
  2. Why did they hire Vin Diesel to look like a tree and just speak I am Groot/ We are Groot the entire movie? They could’ve just hired a tall homeless person.
  3. Lee Pace is being typecast as a pompous evil leader of weird-looking subjects
  4. Is this the first Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise to not have a kissing scene?
  5. Merle Dixon as a blue redneck alien! We miss you, Merle! Well not really, but hello!

P.S. Here’s the soundtrack you’re welcome.

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