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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Marvel’s latest rockets to strong start


    Courtesy of Marvel Studios
    “Guardians of the Galaxy” is off to an impressive start since being released.

    As of this article, Marvel has accomplished the previously unthinkable. This past weekend, “Guardians of the Galaxy” opened to $94 million, which is only $1 million dollars less than “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and noticeably higher than the $86 million of “Thor: The Dark World.”

    Dwell on that for just a moment. Marvel’s C-team, bargain bin characters now have just as much legitimacy as Marvel’s A-listers in its cinematic universe. Marvel sunk $170 million into a film about a ragtag group of comic book misfits that only came into existence in the past decade. Everyone reading this is older than this current iteration of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” What very well could have been Marvel’s Waterloo has resulted in Marvel’s, well, whatever Napoleon Bonaparte’s greatest victory was.

    Enough about figures and how improbable this whole thing is; How is the movie itself? As it turns out, it’s pretty darn good and funny.
    Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who has dubbed himself StarLord (yeah, he gave himself his own nickname), is a planet-trottin’, treasure-huntin’ human scoundrel that’s discovered a mysterious, and very valuable, orb. He listens to ‘80s mixtapes, which provide the movie with its retro-fresh soundtrack. Unfortunately, bad-guy Ronan (Lee Pace) wants the orb, too. He sends green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the orb. The movie constantly says that she has been developed into a weapon, designed to fight, yet she never gets a fight worthy enough to show off her supposed prowess. It’s a little disappointing.

    Gamora tracks Quill down, and their fight is interrupted by two of the craziest characters you’re likely to see this year: Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a genetically modified raccoon, and his partner, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), which is some kind of sentient, bipedal plant monster that can only repeat, “I am Groot.” Rocket and Groot are just as enterprising as Quill, and they want the bounty that’s on his head.

    The four get thrown in a high security prison where they meet Drax (Dave Bautista), a brute of a man who has red scars all over his body like ceremonial tattoos. The five begrudgingly band together to break out of prison and, through selfish reasons that inevitably turn into selfless reasons, decide to take down Ronan.
    I’ve never really been all too impressed with the rogue’s gallery of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For those unaware, the “Iron Man,” “Captain America,” “Thor,” “Hulk” and “The Avengers” movies fall under the MCU. Marvel actually does not own the film rights to the Spider-Man or X-Men franchises, though they, of course, come from the Marvel comic books.

    “Guardians of the Galaxy” didn’t really do anything to change my stance on this. Ronan and Nebula (Karen Gillan, playing Gamora’s ill-tempered sister) are the main baddies, with Thanos (Josh Brolin) looming in the background for some future film. Ronan looks like a blue Darth Maul and is about as threatening as that sounds. He’s unmemorable, and not even memorably so.
    Though the likes of Captain America and Iron Man have their own unique brand of humor, Marvel movies still fall under the categories of “drama” rather than “comedy.”

    I’m not sure if the same can be said for this movie, which throws irreverent jokes left, right and center. The comedy is tongue-in-cheek and self-referential, not afraid to poke fun at not only itself, but also dramatic superhero movies in general.
    When you have as diverse a cast of characters as these five in the same room, a large chunk of the comedy comes from their differences, the push and pull between them. Drax interprets everything literally (there could have been a couple less easy jokes about his misinterpretations), Groot repeats the same three words, Rocket has the shortest fuse of them all, accompanied with a penchant for swearing, and Quill is trying to keep the whole group from ripping each other’s throats out. The dysfunctional group dynamic is like “The Avengers” on a colorful Pixy Stix sugar high.
    Of course, this is not only due to the writing, but also the cast. Pratt, Saldana, Cooper and Diesel instill their characters with idiosyncrasies and personality, but not enough to necessarily make them caricatures. There were times, though, when I thought Bautista’s Drax was just a little too against the grain, a little too on the nose.

    With humor aplenty, a zany cast of characters and a remarkably fitting soundtrack filled with ‘80s pop hits, “Guardians of the Galaxy” warrants a solid and entertaining “B” for Marvel’s C-team.



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