I had only a vague notion that the Guardians of the Galaxy existed, and that was only because Todd McFarlane’s Angela came to town. I loved Angela back in her Spawn days, but apparently didn’t love her enough that her Guardians appearance stayed high on my radar.
But the movie trailer, what with its amusing anecdotes and catchy tunes made it impossible to ignore the Guardians any longer. So in preparation for the film, I reviewed the first volume of the current version of the Guardians by Brian Michael Bendis, which turned out to be horrible. Thankfully, I’ve since learned that bad books/comics are gold for the right writer/director, and that was definitely the case here.
The comic went through some uninspired origin stories, a convoluted conspiracy plot involving Star-Lord’s space daddy, a meaningless attack against Earth, and a lackluster Iron Man tag along appearance. In bright contrast, the movie defined the word pithy with an opening sequence that hit right in the feels, instantly establishing Peter Quill’s character and motivations. And through a little something called a mix tape, featuring favourite songs compiled by Quill’s dying mother, a bouncy soundtrack went from simply something to groove to, to an example of the profound power of music. For this alone am I glad that we decided to take our daughters (aged 8 and 6) to see the film in the theatre. Because my husband and I are children of the ’80s, a time when the mix tape meant everything. To be able to see and share that (along with several other ’80s cultural references) was golden.
Not that the mix tape glory was our deciding factor in taking the kids to see the movie. We let our children watch a lot of movies, games and shows that some might deem inappropriate for their age, but we know our kids and we always watch and discuss such media with them. We figure that the kids are going to learn these things anyway, so we’d rather they learn it from us than in the schoolyard. Normally we vet the material first, but Marvel has proven itself over and over again in the recent years with family-worthy films. Guardians didn’t let us down (although the previews prior to the feature presentation could have been much better). Oh there was definitely violence and a few naughty words, but it’s nothing our kids haven’t heard or seen before. The cruder comments and innuendo went right over their heads, but I look forward to the day when they watch such things again as young adults and realize what was actually being said. It’s like a rite of passage.
Everything else in the movie worked so well, from pacing to special effects. Nothing was embellished. There was just the right amount of exposition. Just the right amount of explosions and fight sequences. And, particularly since I’d read the origin comic, I appreciated the much more organic introduction of the characters and their histories, and how they ultimately come together to form the Guardians.
Hands down, the favourite character for all of us was Groot. The girls love The Iron Giant, and Vin Diesel is pretty much reprising his role here, this time as a walking tree. This movie has so much to love already, but Groot brings the heart and soul, all with three simple words that carry so much weight: I Am Groot–which pretty much sums up my feels for Guardians of the Galaxy.
I Am Groot.