As the tenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy has become an absolute phenomenon. Moviegoers, including myself, are flocking to theatres for repeat viewings of the intergalactic adventure. People cannot seem to get enough of James Gunn’s wacky and wild ride, and it’s not hard to see why.
Join us as we give you 10 reasons why we just can’t stop talking about Guardians of the Galaxy and why it’s caught on with the general public in such a big way.
10) It’s A New Film Series
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe pumping out films as fast as Chris Pratt’s surging stardom, there’s a feeling that’s starting to hook onto the fanbase: a feeling of slight fatigue. How many more movies can Marvel make before the entire universe collapses under itself? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ll be lining up to see Steve Rogers throw his shield for the umpteenth time in Captain America 14: The Winterest Soldier.
Hence why Guardians of the Galaxy has proven to be so popular. It’s an unfamiliar series in a familiar universe. It’s quite the breath of fresh air, but not so strange as to avoid. People welcome change, but only if they have a warm blanket to shield themselves.
To the average viewer, the very concept of the Guardians is foreign as they haven’t – yet – become quite the juggernaut that other Marvel heroes have become. A talking raccoon? A plant thing? A green whore (quoted from Drax)? This group of ragtag misfits could not possibly be more awkward, and though it may deter a few, it intrigues most.
These are new characters to explore, new lands to conquer, and new feels to be had with the ever-looming suspicion that a familiar character will waddle in for a cameo. After the galaxy has been saved, the promise that our new quirky friends will return instantly puts this film on a much larger scale.Previous Next
9) It’s Still Important To The Existing Universe
We knew in the grand scheme of things that an infinity stone would honor us with its presence in this film, but we weren’t quite expecting an explanation of what these mysterious stones actually are (yes, I know it’s inked into comic history). The notion that these small sought after objects contain universes amongst them followed by a purple servant explosion spectacle showed us just how powerful they are when “normal” people deal with them.
Starting with Captain America: The First Avenger, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been slowly assembling these stones for – spoiler alert! – an eventual battle with the admirer of death himself, Thanos.
But most interesting is that we know of the whereabouts of two infinity stones in just one movie, knowledge that hasn’t been given to us yet. The Aether is presumably still in Knowhere with The Collector, while the Orb is now in the protection of the Nova Corps. With the assumption that all the stones will make an appearance again, Knowhere and the Nova Corps are now targets for Thanos, thereby increasing the significance of the Guardians’ presence in the overall universe.
Whether or not their second venture into space will tie in with the Thanos arc is yet to be disclosed – or even decided for that matter – but if Marvel is wise, they’d find a way, as I doubt the Guardians will join The Avengers in the final fight against Thanos. But then again, Drax and Gamora do have a bone to pick.
No, Drax, you’re not actually picking a bone…Previous Next
8) A Face Full Of Color
Sure, The Avengers had every color of the rainbow in their repertoire, but they were all very stark colors that we’re used to seeing on our superheroes. Our Guardian friends, however, are all wearing the gaudiest, clashiest colors possible. But like a piece of modern art, or one of Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, it comes together in a controlled chaos that makes it, well, artistically modern and current. Don’t believe me? Head on over to the nearest museum of modern art and get back to me later.
The color scheme is composed of mostly rusted scarlets and purples that give off a vintage dream-like quality, which becomes futuristic when scattered with the neon greens and yellows; very atypical of a Marvel film. Every scene vibrates with color, especially amongst the emptiness of the moonage daydream space. Like a master at work, when ships fly or trees grow, splashes of color brighten up the dark palette that we’re so used to seeing in typical Marvel films.Previous Next
7) Thankfully, It’s Not Twilight
Nowadays, any superhero “male-oriented” film that has any taint of a love story is immediately labeled too “Twilight-y.” One such undeserving victim is The Amazing Spider-Man, which actually made the romantic plot somewhat real – no unrealistic and creepily abusive relationships present. Romantic ploys should not be dismissed at the mere sight of them, but for an ensemble film, a bit of love might translate to a lot of rust.
Thankfully, there is no romantic subplot – yet – in Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a bit of fooling around and falling in with Quill and Gamora, but Gamora quickly retracts it as she refuses to be one of Quill’s “waifs,” a smart and intentional decision as it gets the possible leading man and lady romance out of the way and blasts it to pieces.
Director and writer James Gunn continues to avoid any mention of romance as the second half of the film couldn’t be more friendship heavy. In doing so, the attention isn’t completely one-sided, as we now care for the group as a whole.Previous Next
6) The Insane Amount Of Self-Awareness
Not only is Guardians of the Galaxy aware of what romance could do to this band of misfits, it’s so self-aware in its humor and cheesy antics that it teases at breaking the fourth wall, a trend that has exploded in popularity due to our lovely maniac Deadpool. While other comedic films might rely on their surprise cheap jokes, this film relies on the knowledge that the humor is indeed silly.
Peter Quill’s obsession over novelty items from our world is an interesting breaking of the fourth wall, as he’s not directly doing so (he’s from our world and could easily be sitting in the theater laughing at Drax’s literal mind). He’s aware himself of just how unaware the rest of the Guardians are of the viewer’s gaze. He has an agency that very few Marvel characters have.
One of the most hilarious moments followed what seemed like a touch into the “taking itself too seriously” realm of films. When the group was talking about what friendship means to them and standing up one by one bathed in heroic light, Rocket thankfully brought it back to its self-awareness and commented on how ridiculous they looked standing up together like a “bunch of jackasses.”Previous Next
5) We Care About Each Character
This one is obvious, just like many of the points on this list (I’m trying to be self-aware.) While The Avengers was fun, I felt like each character didn’t bring the baggage that created them from their origin films (the exception being the Black Widow). With Guardians of the Galaxy, it takes as little as a few seconds to connect with a single character, thanks to the superb writing and acting.
For example, Bradley Cooper’s excellent voice acting brings Rocket to life when he drops his smart-ass demeanor and lets his insecurities of his very being splat on the floor. His drunk plea of pity in a matter of seconds achieved what very little films do in a whole two hours.
Each of the Guardians had their own personal motivations for their journey, all of which stemmed from a concern that us everyday people have ourselves: money. They weren’t inherently heroes, and didn’t attempt to stop a grenade from exploding on their fellow compatriots. They’re reluctant heroes at best, which make them all the more tangible.Previous Next
4) The Nostalgic Soundtrack
As I sit here listening to the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 on repeat-peat-peat-peat-peat, I can’t help but bust out my own awesome Peter Quill moves complete with squirming lizard as a mic. It’s become quite a problem as I’m…hooked on a feeling (send help). Many a film has used popular songs that have been played into oblivion as part of their soundtrack, but seldom is one brave enough to make a compilation of them, and a rarity is it that the music becomes diagetic – music that the characters can hear as well. We all can’t help but to live vicariously through Star Lord as he dances and swoons through these booming tracks, even in the face of Ronan.
Film soundtracks are usually more effective when they’re incorporated into the actual film instead of merely being plugged into certain parts, but the most successful ones stem from the protagonist’s own sense of connection to the music – see The Bodyguard and Frozen. In Guardians of the Galaxy, Quill’s relationship with his mother, his only memory of home, is manifested into his mixtape (a point, which is further validated by the Awesome Mix Vol. 2).
As these mixtapes spur a sense of nostalgia and “the feels” within Quill, we can’t help but to draw from his emotions and create our own nostalgia with these lively tracks of the not-so-distant past – many of which our very own parents listened to as well.Previous Next
3) Groot’s Innocence
You didn’t think I’d forget about the standout character, did you? After the film, I mentally prepared myself to hear everyone around me scream, “I am Groot!” every second of every day, but you know what? I don’t mind it at all. The taciturn giant character is always popular, but what separates this “plant thing” from the rest is his fragility and innocence. He represents raw good, much like an undiscovered spring in the deepest part of a cave.
Groot isn’t hungry for blood, or even a trained warrior; he just wants somebody to love and somebody to love him. Sure, he can take out a dozen solders by impaling them with one arm, but he does it for the sake of friendship – as morbid as that sounds. He would much rather be growing flowers for children and lighting dark places with glowing buds. Watching his colossal figure in these moments of vulnerability is beautiful to our hearts and frightening to our eyes, as they drown in tears from his eventual sacrifice.
We are Groot, indeed.Previous Next
2) Chris Pratt
Being coined as the male Jennifer Lawrence in terms of stardom and obscene amount of likability, Chris Pratt is certainly the current leading man of Hollywood. Gone are the days of the popular elegant, refined celebrity. Nowadays, being personable with a penchant for improvisation – see Pratt’s answer for favorite pizza topping – and being fit for memes is the path to having millions of people crush on you.
It also helps that Pratt went through an extreme physical transformation for the role of Peter Quill, a feat that I’m sure inspired other men and women to hit the gym day in and day out to be their own Star-Lord. Most importantly though, he actually looks and acts exactly like the Star-Lord they were trying to make. I’m not sure they could have cast a better actor, and the filmmakers knew that as well after casting him only seconds into his audition.Previous Next
1) It’s Not A Superhero Movie
Tying everything together with praise from all angles, this is something I’ve slightly commented on in previous pages. Guardians of the Galaxy is not a superhero film, it’s not trying to be a superhero film, and it never was a superhero film. It’s still a mainstream blockbuster, but more in the vein of your classic space opera – see The Fifth Element and Star Trek. So not only is this film a new series, it’s a brand new genre for the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is partially the reason why it’s garnering so much attention and being lauded as one of the better Marvel films.
As I said earlier, none of the Guardians have an inherent will to save or to be heroic. They’re all actually pretty evil inside. Sure, Star-Lord “finds some heroism” in himself, but that’s quickly dissolved by his awareness of how ridiculous it sounds from an egotistical rogue. The only reason they go on their mission to guard the galaxy is because they want to live, just like all of us. Guardians of the Galaxy thrives on riding the trend of what’s current and by showing us just how fantastical our normal lives can be.Previous