Watching Guardians of the Galaxy was one of those unfortunate circumstances where you hear so much hype beforehand that you inevitably end up disappointed. Although it is not without its merits, overall the output is disappointing.
The story is not particularly original: a band of misfits who don’t get along and then come together over a common goal. Bound together by the theme of friendship, I actually like this story-line, even if it is familiar. But its similarity to one of Marvel Studio’s predecessors, The Avengers, with clashing personalities and witty repartee – makes it dubious and turns these films into nothing more than branded products – distancing them from the sphere of entertainment, and even further from the realm of art.
That’s not to say it is devoid of either: there is plenty of action to go around, and I enjoyed the ass-kickings Gamora gave; but it ultimately saturates the story and debilitates the character dynamics. It’s also not without humour, but it didn’t do more than pull my mouth into a vague smile, and the imitation of the scene from the The Avengers, where The Hulk smashes Loki around, asking us to laugh at the exact same thing we saw two years ago, is just lame. It is further let down by a flimsy script making its most mundane character, Peter Quill, the protagonist.
None of this is helped by predominately mediocre performances. The leads are so uninspired, I can’t even create a metaphor to fit their mediocrity. And the bane of so many scripts, the tiresome romantic subplot, finds its way into this film in the same nauseating way it does into so many others, dripping with inane dialogue and sickeningly, soulful gazes.
Its saving grace is the relationship between Rocket Raccoon and the tree-like Groot, brought to life in a fine vocal performance by Bradley Cooper as the former. Vin Diesel’s Groot is also fantastic, and incredibly endearing, but in terms of performance, it’s not exactly the greatest challenge. Fair enough, Diesel flexed a muscle or two during motion-capture; but it’s nothing to rival Andy Serkis’ work, and the credit ought to go to the more over-looked designers working behind the scenes.
The soundtrack speaks to the current trend of vintage, as 80s music blasts out of an audio cassette walkman, and although the music is awesome, it does not always serve the tone of the film, with the exception of the excellent use of Hooked on a Feeling.
There are many fantastic sci-fi elements in the script that are brushed over in favour of action and sentiment, which is a great pity – exacerbated by the disturbing realisation that, yet again, non-human characters are more interesting and sympathetic. Rather get yourself a large popcorn, plenty of sweets and an upsized coke and prepare for a frivolous frolic through the galaxy.
Originally published on Amazing Picture Box