Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel adds some new characters and a different tone to the scene. The film stars Chris Pratt (famous for Parks and Recreation [which I’ve only seen commercials for], he’s also Own Grady in the newer Jurassic World movies) as Peter Quill, Zoe Saldana (she’s Neytiri in Avatar, Uhura in the alternate universe Star Trek movies, and was in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movies) as Gamora, Lee Pace (Thranduil in the Hobbit movies [we’ll get to Marvel casting Lord of the Rings and Hobbit actors later]) as Ronan, and Karen Gillan (Amy Pond in Doctor Who) as Nebula. Vin Diesel (he’s part of the Fast and Furious franchise, though I thought he was funny in The Pacifier) voices Groot and Bradley Cooper (he’s been in a lot of big movies in recent years; he was Face in the 2010 A-Team movie) voices Rocket. Glenn Close (she voiced Kala in Tarzan and played the Vice President in Air Force One as well as Cruella de Vil in the live action Dalmatians movies) appears as Nova Prime. I recognize John Reilly as Corpsman Dey, Sean Gunn (he was oddball Kirk in Gilmore Girls and would stand in on set as Rocket, and he’s also director James Gunn’s younger brother) as Kraglin, and Djimon Hounsou (he voices Drago in How to Train Your Dragon 2) as Korath.
We do start on Earth in 1988, unfortunately, in a hospital. Young Peter is there for his mother; he’s called in one last time, the rest of the family surrounding her. She has one last gift for her son and also mentions his father, calling him an angel. When she passes, Peter runs. And gets taken by an alien ship. Twenty-six years later, Peter is grown up and dances his way to steal a mysterious orb. He’s caught, and refers to himself as Star-Lord, a legendary outlaw. He manages to escape, then his boss calls him. (And Yandu may not be fully honest with the guy, because he claims that he saved him, but actually he was hired to deliver the child.) Peter just wants to deliver the orb and get paid.
But trouble is brewing in the galaxy; a race known as the Kree have made peace with Xandar, but Ronan is a more traditional Kree and wants to destroy Xandar. It was his men who confronted Peter about the orb; they want it as well. Ronan is to deliver the orb to Thanos (he starts becoming a big and visible player) in return for Thanos destroyed Xandar. Ronan has two daughters of Thanos in his company, Gamora and Nebula. Gamora volunteers to go to Xandar to get the orb.
On Xandar, we meet Rocket and Groot, who are bounty hunters and want to capture Peter, since Yandu put a price on his head. When Peter goes to the Broker to sell the orb, once Peter mentions Ronan, the Broker wants nothing to do with him. Gamora is waiting for him outside and tries to get the orb. It soon becomes a three-way fight when Rocket and Groot join in. They are all arrested by Nova Corps and sent to the Kyln prison (and they helpfully run down the characters so we know a bit about them). Many inside the prison want Gamora dead for her connection to Ronan and Thanos and Rocket admits to Peter that the guards won’t help; they’re only there to keep people from escaping. And Rocket is keeping an eye on Peter because he still wants his pay day. In actuality, Gamora plans to betray Ronan and she has another buyer in mind for the orb, who will pay more. When Peter interrupts some guys killing Gamora, she offers to lead them to the buyer if he, Rocket, and Groot get her out of prison. Drax is another prisoner in the Kyln, who has serious beef with Ronan. Peter has to stop him from killing Gamora, pointing out that Drax really wants to kill Ronan and Gamora will be helpful in the meantime. They have to improvise, but they make it out, with the addition of Drax. (First, Peter has to make sure he gets his tape player back [I appreciate that Marvel brought fun music back to their movies]).
Ronan is called before Thanos, who does not care about the politics of the Kree or Xandar. All Thanos wants, is the orb. Yandu pays a visit to the Broker and we see the Collector again (still creepy). Gamora’s buyer is on Knowhere, the severed head of a celestial being which has become a home to outlaws. She reveals to Peter that Thanos is not her true father; he destroyed her true family and tortured and turned her in a weapon for him. She wants out. Peter shares the “legend of Footloose and the hero, Kevin Bacon.” [He’s lucky he’s good with tech and actually has a good heart or this guy would be too stupid.] However, it gets him an almost-kiss with Gamora, until Rocket and Drax get in a fight. They try to settle down, for the deal, when Gamora is called before the Collector. He explains that inside the orb is one of the six Infinity Stones. And Gamora realizes what Thanos’ plan is. One of the Collector’s servants grabs the purple stone, destroying part of the building and herself (which was better than living as the Collector’s slave). Gamora gets the orb and now they have to try to get off Knowhere.
But Drax is drunk and calls Ronan so he gets his showdown. Ronan beats him fairly easily and Nebula goes after her sister. Peter goes after Gamora, claiming they should take the Infinity Stone to Nova Corps for safe keeping. When Rocket asks him “What did the galaxy ever do for you? Why would you want to save it?” Peter comes back with “Because I’m one of the idiots who lives in it!” And someone has finally pointed that out! Peter’s also trying to get away from Yandu, who has also arrived. Nebula manages to shoot down Gamora and take the orb, leaving her sister to float in space. Peter leaves his pod and gives her his mask, so she’ll live. He had also sent a message for Yandu to come and get him, so they’re rescued quickly, but Yandu’s crew still beats him up, as an example. Peter does manage to convince Yandu not to kill him (still in exchange for the orb). Groot rescues Drax, and insists to Rocket that they save Peter and Gamora, since they’re friends.
And Ronan plans to turn on Thanos, now that he has absorbed the Infinity Stone into his war hammer. Nebula will gladly help kill Thanos (no one likes this guy).
Peter’s got twelve percent of a plan [call back to Avengers, when Tony and Pepper were having twelve percent of a moment] and asks his new friends for help. It will likely result in them dying, but they’ll do it (Rocket takes some convincing). They know that Ronan wants to destroy Xandar, so Peter sends a message. They then plan to punch a hole in Ronan’s ship, get inside, and destroy him with some contraption that Rocket has put together (that racoon likes gun). Nova Crops helps and Yandu and his crew also help. We see Yandu whistle-arrow take out a whole bunch of Kree. Gamora and Nebula face off again, and Gamora manages to get the upper hand. Rocket and the Ravagers protect the city. Yet, Ronan is still standing after the blast. They do manage to get his ship to crash (Groot protects everyone, which makes his burst into a thousand pieces when they land, much to Rocket’s sorrow), and Peter declares a dance-off with Ronan…who is very confused.
It’s actually a diversion. They hit his war hammer, which releases the stone. Peter grabs it. Gamora then grabs his hand, and Drax grabs his arm. They destroy Ronan and manage to still be standing afterwards. Gamora puts the stone into a new orb, which they have to hand over to Yandu, with the warning not to open. Again, Kraglin makes a comment about how it was good that they didn’t deliver Peter to his father, like they were hired to. Except, Peter switched the orb; Yandu’s has a troll in it. Peter delivers the real Infinity Stone to Nova Corps, who also point out that Peter is only half from Earth; his father was something else and that may explain why he was able to hold the Infinity Stone and not blow up.
We catch some glimpses of happy endings. Groot has been re-potted and is growing again. Peter gets a new ship and everyone agrees to stay [and Gamora’s dress is reminiscent of Starfleet uniforms]. Drax wants to kill Thanos, since Ronan is gone. And Peter finally opens his mom’s last present, with a letter that called him Star-Lord. He has a new tape to play (and Groot enjoys dancing to Jackson 5’s I Want You Back).
I’m not a big fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy, but I can appreciate the change in tone. It’s funnier and I do appreciate the music. The characters act more like humans, being honest when things are dumb. They’re honest that they’re not the most morally upright people, but they do recognize what is the right thing to do; as in saving thousands of innocent lives and that is actually more important than money. As Dey quotes Peter, they may be a-holes, but they’re not dicks (which, way to go for Marvel and Disney for letting the language slide).
I just, tend to prefer my heroes to be a little more, classically heroic. And the humor in this movie is not quite my brand of humor. But I can stand this better than some other films [like re-watching Thor: Love and Thunder recently and they just made Thor so incredibly stupid. He was not always that stupid; this is far better in comparison (and doesn’t have screaming goats for no good reason)].
This also happens to be my 200th post, which is a little mind-boggling. When I first had the idea to do this blog, I didn’t have a notion of how much it would encompass. I’m a little in awe of how much I’ve done, but also aware of how much more I want to do (we haven’t even hit Lord of the Rings yet, which has had a huge impact on me). This “exercise” also shows me that this is something I enjoy doing; I enjoying watching movies and talking about them and sharing little tidbits that I find out. And when my brain will focus, analyzing story or character aspects. So, thanks for coming along for the ride!
Up Next: Avengers: Age of Ultron