Expectation vs. Reality: Guardians of the Galaxy

Expectation  (07/24/14):
When Guardians of the Galaxy was announced it was being made, I had very little knowledge of it. (As of this writing, that still rings mostly true.) Since then, my exposure to them was limited to a few Nova-centric story arcs of the Spectacular Spider-man animated series (not counting the Rocket Raccoon comic I owned back in the day – which I never got around to reading). I tend to hold judgement on movies anymore, but since the first trailer: I was in.  A few friends were unsure about a movie being made from a lesser-known comic property.  I had no qualms about it knowing that the previous 9 films Marvel Studios has done were met with open arms and big box office numbers.  Only thing to do now is wait to see the screening.

Reality  (7/29/14):
I’ll do my best to keep it full on enthusiasm and low on spoilers.  There aren’t many spoilers to speak of, but the fact remains, much of this movie needs to be *experienced*.
The event was partially sponsored by Tucson Comic-Con (big shout-out to Dan Burgos managing ticket giveaways with entertaining Facebook contests!) along with local radio stations KLPX and KFMA.  I’ve been to quite a few pre-screenings and while they are almost always exciting, the ones held for comic-book properties seem to have this special electricity in the air. This wasn’t just a movie a studio wanted to generate some buzz for: we sought it out. We *craved* it. We wanted to see it even before the midnight-showing folks.   No other movie previews preceded it, the movie just started: it was like they read our minds.
Director James Gunn (“Slither”, “Super”) inherently knew what iconic movies we had in our hearts and lovingly crafted this fun, galactically cool, space romp.  The clever dialogue, epic space battles, daring rescues, incredibly detailed costumes: There was nothing about this movie that didn’t grab me.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) aka “Star Lord” (a moniker by which he *swears* everyone knows him.) is a thief-for-hire. Actually, “thief” is a bit harsh: “recovery engineer”. He is tapped to obtain a mysterious orb and bring it back to Xandar: planet headquarters of the Nova Corps.  During his heist, he not only manages to cross paths with Korath The Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou), but piss off his previous partner Yondu (Michael Rooker).  After an uneasy treaty is reached with an assassin (Gamora played by Zoe Saldana), a couple of bounty hunters (Rocket and Groot voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively), and a powerful inmate named Drax The Destroyer (Dave Bautista), the group travels to find out what is so special about this orb, why is everyone willing to kill for it, and sell it to whoever is willing to part with some credits (Not necessarily in that order).

I usually find John C. Reilly an odd addition to anything outside of an Adam McKay movie, he and Peter Serafinowicz as Nova officers under Glen Close’s wonderfully dignified Nova Prime were performances not to be overlooked.  Although I am impressed and glad that no character required their own standalone film before creating an ensemble movie of this magnitude, I would not object to a buddy-action-style “Rocket & Groot: bounty hunters” movie.

The pacing of the movie is perfectly timed and any “slow moments” are punctuated with humor and/or heart.  Even knowing as little as I did about the Guardians of the Galaxy, I had an amazing time on this ride and I’m willing to get in line and go again.

If “Phase two” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were a multicourse meal, Guardians of the Galaxy is the extremely satisfying lighter course before the entrée that is Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Thanks for reading!

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