Those of you who have been following this blog any length of time know that I very, very rarely get out to see a movie in the theatre. Guardians of the Galaxy was one movie I was adamant I would. I have been a fan since the Keith Giffen reboot of Starlord and the fledgling GoG in Annihilation Conquest: Starlord. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did an amazing job of following that up and improving upon the formula in Annhilation: Conquest and the resurrected Guardians of the Galaxy comic.
I honestly didn’t have high hopes. I expected to feel about the movie much as I did about the original Thor movie. Very good but missing a lot of what I loved about the character – in that instance, missing a lot of what I loved about the Walt Simonson run on the title. Still, like Thor, I expected to really enjoy GoG.
And then the trailers and previews started coming out.
Was it possible we would get a movie that really closely resembled the Abnett and Lanning comic? Could the universe be so kind?
I’m here to tell you that happened. This is my favourite Marvel movie. This is my favourite comic adaptation. I had insanely high expectations for this movie. It did not disappoint.
If you don’t know the plot and concept of GoG, you’ve been living under a rock somewhere. I’m not going to re-hash that which is so well known. Instead, I’m going to tell you why you need to see this movie.
Strong characters. Every single one of the main characters is outstanding. There is depth. The performances are exceedingly good. I had fears that Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel wouldn’t live up to their co-performers, who are known as actors rather than action stars. No worries. Like Hugo Weaving as V, lacking an aspect of performance available in most roles, Vin Diesel does an amazing job of projecting not only Groot’s emotions, but his meaning, his intentions, and his thoughts through the use of three words, in the same order. Baustista is seriously hilarious as the exceedingly literal Drax whose only joy comes in battle and destruction.
Humour, pathos, action. This movie has everything I want in a movie. It’s got great action delivered without the crutch of shaky cam. It has great lines, hilarious in context, but organic to the story and the characters. It has depth of emotion and dramatic weight that doesn’t crush the movie or ram itself down the audience’s throat.
The writing. Both the characters and the content of the movie comes back to the writing. Fresh, crisp, and incredibly deft, this takes the format of the Marvel movies distilled by Joss Whedon and Zak Pennin the Avengers and perfects it. I don’t know of higher praise than saying this is better written than that. Amazing work by director James Gunn and Nicole Perlman.
SFX. And, of course, this movie is going to need special effects. The effects meld so perfectly into this movie as to be seamless. So many characters in SF movies – like the Hobbit or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – are CGI, and Rocket and Groot are yet two more examples of outstanding work. It’s not just the CGI characters, it’s the spaceship battles, the planetary landscapes, and the created world.
What more can one say? What is wrong with this movie? Very little. Sure, there are minor imperfections. Maybe nothing is perfect, but damn this comes really close.
I give Guardians of the Galaxy 4.75 sadly lacking element guns out of 5.
I don’t really see that it closely resembled the Abnett Lanning comics, other than in the broadest since of having the same character names. The characterizations and situations are very different.
As an adaptation, I do not expect the movie to replicate the comic exactly on film. What I would desire, and what I received, was a movie that had the spirit and adhered to the concept of the comic. Consider Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Very, very different products, but adhering to the same core concepts and spirit. I wanted a film that “closely resembled the Abnett and Lanning comic,” and that’s what I got.