Friday, August 15, 2014

5x5 Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

1. I liked Guardians of the Galaxy; it was good. Sorry if that's a bit like damning with faint praise, but I think I suffered somewhat from Inflated Expectation Syndrome. (IES can occur when your friends and/or reviewers tell you how much you are going to love a movie because it is totally awesomely great: few things can live up to such overheated responses.) It was an entertaining night at the movies if you don't look too hard at the details, but that was about it.

2. It was good in the way that all Marvel Studios films have been good: The performances are competent and engaging, the special effects are slick, and the fanservice is handled deftly, without slavishness to comics continuity. The film strikes the right balance among humor, drama, and action and between cynicism and corniness, and it hits all the beats (introductions, team conflicts, major setback, bonding, overcoming extraordinary odds) that we have come to expect. (I could probably construct a minute-by-minute emotional crosswalk from GotG to Winter Soldier without much difficulty.) Hey, if a formula works, go with it.

3. In this way, Marvel Studios reminds one of the New York Yankees: you can't argue that they don't play the game well, but there seems to be little heart there, even as they churn out win after win. Marvel was Disney before Disney ever bought them.

4. That said, the cast in this movie is what makes it a lot of fun. Everyone does a great job and Chris Pratt deserves all the attention he is getting for his performance.

Also: Glenn Close?!?

And that was Amy Pond!

5. GotG also falls into a pattern that I have noticed: movies that include large flying things smashing into and destroying buildings - Winter Soldier and Star Trek: Into Darkness are in this category and a few others as well. After the development of the A-Bomb and the H-Bomb, a radiation-based monster wreaking havoc was Hollywood code for fear of nuclear armageddon; I wonder if all these crashes are somehow our working the terror of the 9/11 attacks out of our systems.

So, go see it. As my buddy Will says, it's not a superhero movie, but you'll like it anyway.


So, this happened, unasked-for, when I bought my ticket.

Le Sigh.


  1. This probably is a classic IES movie. If so, you might like it better the second time. (I haven't gone again yet, so I can't say whether that's more likely or less.)

  2. Even with a senior discount, "next time" might be Netflix.