Category: Dramatic Presentation / Long
Slates: Rabid Puppies & Sad Puppies
Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, is what a good comics-to-film adaptation should be like. I have never read the comics, but the film feels like it’s giving the full story. That’s where most superhero movies fail miserably, I think. X-Men and Avenger movies almost always have an underlying hard-to-explain feeling of only scratching the surface — that fully appreciating this requires also consuming more of the franchise works and that the movie’s purpose is rather to separate the viewers of their money than to pass on an interesting, complete story.
Whether this tells more about me than Marvel movies, I don’t know (probably the answer is “yes”). However, I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a modernized and street-cred enhanced Star Wars, basically, with some self-consciously contemporary touches added here and there. A team of bad-ass mercenaries consisting of people (or aliens) from different worlds struggle to stay alive, make a profit and defeat a sinister, planet-destroying bad guy. You know, the usual.
What is the movie’s strength — that it’s an enjoyable space opera — is also its central drawback: it’s only an enjoyable space opera and nothing more. The story is adequately interesting, the characters are adequetely fun and the setting has adequate levels of sensawunda. It all adds up to an adequately entertaining film, not a genre masterpiece like Mad Max: Fury Road, Interstellar or Lego Movie. Guardians of the Galaxy takes no risks and tries nothing exceptional.
Something critical can be (and has been) said about the film’s portrayal of women. On that front, I think this was a pretty average Hollywood movie with the average Hollywood set of sexual politics. You can maybe smell a gentle whiff of misogyny somewhere, but there’s the same whiff in practically everything that Marvel and other media megaconglomerates churn out, so I’m not going to hold it against this specific movie in this year’s Hugo vote.