#1: So many metaphor jokes and hyperboles I could die of happiness.
Guardians of the Galaxy’s major strength is that it makes you laugh out loud. There’s something hilarious and zany in almost every scene. They were not afraid to be ridiculous. Occasionally it tries too hard but most of the time it nails joke after joke. James Gunn and Nicole Perlman (writers) let go of trying to make their characters cool–they wanted them funny.
It’s way harder to write comedy than drama. You can spend all day writing an angry character, it is quite harder to write a clever one.Each character had some funny quirks. Drax took everything literally, to my great amusement. Quill and Drax’s metaphor jokes made me laugh so hard my sides hurt.
#2: Surprised by wonder.
When I went in I expected it to be funny, to have great FX, to have a coherent plot and cool action. I didn’t expect it to be beautiful. GoG created a world, then stopped to look around and appreciate it. They took the time to develop some imagery that was laced with wonder and sweetness. They usually involve Groot.
#3: The Antagonists
The moment each villain was introduced I did an under-the-breath fangirl squee. Wait, that’s a lie. When they showed Ronan I gasped and gripped Eden’s hand and loud-whispered, “He’s awesome!”. Ronan could just stand there and look amazing–Nebula’s eyes were like a galaxy–Yondu’s personality quirks and softness for Quill made him instantly interesting, The Collector was just as weird and creepy as he should be, and Thanos…well, he was worth the wait.
Note: in the original comics Yondu Udonta was a Guardian of the Galaxy. He was a blue-skinned “noble savage” from Centauri-IV, the last of his kind.
From the whistling arrow (BEST!) to magnetic booby traps, to the ship Milano (named after Peter Quill’s childhood crush), to the infinity stone, to dogs in astronaut suits, to the Xandarian barrier–this movie has cool toys.
#5: Character arcs
You know in some action movies they introduce a team, and the only difference between the characters are that they specialize in different weapons?
THE MARTIAL ARTIST. THE MARKSMAN. THE MUSCLE. THE TECH DUDE. THE THIEF. GUY WITH BIG GUN.
Yeah, they’re all the same.
GoG is not like that. Each person is unique and flawed, bringing their prejudices and history with them. It messes things up, embarrasses them, and they have to deal with it. They don’t band together because they’re a team, they do it because they need friends. “We’re all losers,” Peter Quill says. Rocket growls.
“I mean,” Quill continues. “We’ve all lost something.”
It’s awesome to see how much they find.
It’s a cross between Indiana Jones and Star Wars. Great action, with creative (and often funny) weapons and setting. Super well paced. You will be amazed when you finally see it. I don’t know when was the last time I witnessed something like that!
#7: Unique Yet Familiar
GoG kept a really strict action-adventure structure. Intro to protag, inciting an incident, option to back out, stakes deepen, three victorious actions, faces antagonist and loses, all hell falls on head, darkest moment, faces antagonist and wins … just like all action movies are supposed to go. So as I watched I felt safe knowing what was going to happen next, it was familiar, in a good way, like my favorite sweater. The plot was simple.
But things within the structure were unique–the band of misfits, the epic backstories, the humor, the settings… all of that which made it into a film that flew by. I never once thought about when it’d be done or was pulled out of the world because of a plot-hole, something that has been quite rare lately. But both The Winter Soldier and GoG had very well developed, simple plots that let the creators do a lot within the constraints of a familiar structure.
#8: No homeland
I love that the Guardians weren’t protecting Xander because it was their homeland. They were protecting it because they were compassionate and knew it was right. The 12 percent of a planned scene really heightened each character’s arc.
Come for Rocket…stay for Groot. Ents in space! What more could you ask for? “I AM GROOT.”
BONUS #10: ALL THE 80’S REFERENCES AND MUSIC YOU COULD EVER ASK FOR!
You will be amused by all the things they actually thought off when they were making this move. It is unbelievable! It made me happy, it made me laugh, it made me think of the stuff I forgot long ago but was actually interesting and clever. You wouldn’t believe what they did and made!