Guardians of the Galaxy Overhyped?

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About two months ago, finding a fan of the comic book series Guardians of the Galaxy, let alone finding someone who’s heard of it, was like finding a World War I veteran. There were about three of them.

So it came as sort of a surprise when the movie came out, for three reasons:

1. Practically no one has heard of it, so who would fund it (the budget was $170 million, about the average cost of a Transformers movie);

2. Critical reception was incredibly positive, with fans and critics both loving it and many saying it’s one of the best movies of the year, and

3. It’s dominated the box office for six weeks and is this year’s highest grossing movie (so far).

Not bad for an obscure comic book movie. So what’s so good about it?

Let’s start with the story. The plot goes like this, our main man Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) gets abducted by aliens in 1988, gets raised by them, and spends his time scavenging the Universe for artifacts he can sell. He stumbles across a small metal orb and decides to take it. Yondu (Michael Rooker) discovers this theft and orders a bounty on him. This causes two different groups of bounty hunters to chase after him, Rocket and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel respectively), and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). The four all cross paths and get arrested, and while in jail they meet Drax (Dave Bautista). The five of them all decide to team together since they are all against the same enemy, Ronan (Lee Pace), who is also after the orb.

So what’s this orb that everyone wants? Why is it so important? Does it matter? Frankly, I didn’t care. It’s a McGuffin, something in a movie whose sole purpose is to start up the plot and move it forward. Frankly, it’s surprising that they offer any explanation at all, since it doesn’t matter.

But aside from the plot, whether or not the movie works depends on the characters. How they interact, what their backstories are, how likable they are. As for interaction and chemistry, it works some of the time. It’s fun to hear them argue and bicker. But to be honest, a lot of these interactions felt really forced. And while I’m talking about the characters, I’ll be honest and just say it; I didn’t particularly like them. I know everyone loves Groot and Rocket, but to me, they came off too exaggerated. Groot was way too simple and Rocket was way too hot headed. Peter felt pretty generic, and Gamora and Drax were just there.

Overall, I was actually let down by the movie. After hearing so much hype and good things from it, I expected it to be better than it really was. Watching it, I just kept thinking, “Where’s this movie everyone loves?”. Sure it wasn’t horrible. It had some funny lines and interactions, and there was a goofy vibe to it that didn’t take itself too seriously. But was it the great summer movie everyone said it was? No. It was just another forgettable big budget summer popcorn flick. Oh well.

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