The film starts on a very emotional note, a young boy unable to cope with his mother’s impending death struck a chord with me as someone who has lost their mother and have my own issues surrounding that, it didn’t help that the very next scene was set on a planet called Morag, my mother’s name. So, all the tears.
But it quickly moves to present day and the boy has grown up. I loved the lack of backstory involved here. In the earlier scene with his mother,
Peter Quill has a black eye, when his mother asks him why he’s been ‘fighting with those boys again’ he replies “they squished a frog and killed it for no reason.” Cut to the present day Peter aka Starlord and he’s gleefully killing small space creatures whilst dancing to Go All the Way by Raspberries.
The lack of backstory/flashbacks etc was a great move, we don’t need it.
I was not expecting to fall head over heels in love with a talking tree. Never before have three simple words meant so much. I am Groot! I’m not sure how involved Vin Diesel was on set and if he did any motion capture, so I’m really not sure how much credit to give him, clearly the people who worked on his character worked bloody hard and it paid off by Groot becoming a fan favourite.
I couldn’t help but think of King Kong and Frankenstein when I first saw Groot, the talking tree. The misunderstood (somewhat) gentle giant and then came a scene where Groot gives a little girl a flower which I took as a nod to Frankenstein and his monster. Groot is Rocket Racoon’s best bud and their relationship is a joy to watch.
Rocket is…intense and a lot of the films comedy comes from his total lack of people skills.
There is mention of Rocket being the result genetic experiments and there’s a brief moment when you see Rocket without his clothes on and his back is scarred and has what looks like mechanical pieces in his flesh. Animal testing sprang to mind. Rocket is a technical expert and quick to anger, he gets into an argument with Drax at one point after a few too many ‘blue liquids’ and tries his best to explain why he thinks he’s so angry and it’s another touching moment. Rocket is able to say what most people wouldn’t and it’s this bluntness that makes him such a great character.
My only gripe with the film comes in the form of Gamora. Undeniably a badass, raised and trained by Thanos she is frequently referred to as ‘a weapon’ however she needs rescuing twice in the film and in one of those situations she could have easily saved herself. It also bothered me that Drax called her whore right at the end of the film, despite it being a callback to an earlier moment, it seemed out of place and unnecessary. Of all the main characters I felt Gamora was a little lacking. I read a post on The Mary Sue regarding Gamora and the lack of merchandise featuring her image, which I think ties in here. Of all the main characters I feel the least connection with Gamora, I feel like all the good stuff was shared out between the other 4 characters and left little for her.
Characters aside what struck me was that while everything from characters to planets were completely new to me, everything had a feel of the familiar so you’re not overwhelmed. You can accept everything from the get go and that’s no mean feat. This was also apparent in the climactic scenes towards the end of the film. There’s nothing more annoying than being bombarded with flashing images of war, explosions everywhere, fire, bullets, spacecraft – it can become a mess to watch but in Guardians, you see tactics, explosions are given room to breathe and everything feels natural.
I also want to give kudos to Karen Gillan who I didn’t recognise until someone on Twitter pointed it out. She was fantastic as Nebula, the first truly evil female villain so far?
Female villains tend to be the sidekick and so far of all the ‘female sidekick villains’ she is the only one to be truly evil. There was no sign of a conscience or the idea that she had started off as a ‘good’ person which is what happens to just about every female comic book villain. The men get to be pure evil, no change of heart towards the end of the film no sad origin tale, just evil and I’d like to see a female villain in the same vein but who knows perhaps Nebula will return in the next GOTG film.