Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga Chaka. I never thought I would enjoy those chants. In 2014, the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases its 10th installment: Guardians of the Galaxy. I’ve wasn’t a die-hard comic book lover and I’ve never heard those set of words in my entire life until its trailer was featured as a preview when I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier that year. That was a quick preview and didn’t realize that it was part of the MCU. Sadly, I never got the urge to watch this gem on a silver screen. I had the DVD a little over a year since its cinematic release and since then held a spot on my top 5 MCU movies.
The thing about this movie is that it feels so detached from the universe the MCU has established over the years. After the Asgardians and the realms in Thor, I thought that was already an extensive universe that the MCU is capable of but, fortunately, I was wrong. MCU can handle aliens and cosmic worlds. These elements are delivered to the audience carefully that it felt organic and natural. We opened in a simple emotional scene and the film, as well as its audience, went with the flow into outer space. Based on the trailers, I was convinced that this would be an action comedy. This time, I was right but not completely. I thought about Lethal Weapon level of action comedy but this is Laugh-Out-Loud funny. The humor was all out. Most of the time, when humor was all out, I tend to think about it negatively since comedy often disregards film quality and logic. Guardians of the Galaxy did it perfectly. Every joke works. Every quip makes sense and everything is in the right timing. Hands down to James Gunn who is gifted, that’s the right term; gifted to come up with this art.
One of the things that the MCU is great at is casting and its characters. They value that no matter how perfect scripts, dialogues, and stories are; these will never work if the characters aren’t on point. They gave us the perfect Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor. These are crucial characters that the universe relies on. MCU had multiple films to play with these characters and sell them to the audience. James Gunn and the movie had one chance to sell five lead characters and a couple of minor ones to the audience. The future of these characters’ franchise is at risk. Star Lord, branded as a Han Solo type of character and the leader of the group; Gamora, a green skinned blade wielding alien as his love interest; Drax the Destroyer, a semi-retired WWE wrestler who recently gets a lot of boos for some reason in body paint; Rocket Raccoon, a talking raccoon with Groot, a mono-syllabic tree voiced by Vin Diesel who only had a single line repeated over and over all throughout the movie, as a companion. I mean, it’s not easy to love these characters in one look since the characters are written to have a hard time with each other, too but it’s not our problem. I surely had a great time with these characters.
As an MCU film, it didn’t escape the typical dilemma about its antagonists. Thanos might’ve showed up here for a couple more seconds than his previous appearances but the whole team is up against Ronan the Accuser who was played by Lee Pace. Honestly, I only knew him from the Hobbit trilogy aside from this one but I think he’s great. Ronan is not the worst MCU villain because it’s Whiplash from Iron Man 2 but he just had dull character moments but I had no issues with it since they are overall entertaining and doesn’t even hurt the movie’s perfection for a little bit. It also had all sorts of Easter eggs and character references which is essential in an MCU film. The movie is basically about expanding on the universe. We are hinted on Adam Warlock, Howard the Duck, and so much more.
The plot of the movie can be considered simple and formulaic on paper but that’s not how we deal with this, right? This is a movie, we watch it. We had visuals and scenes, and action set pieces. This way, James Gunn told us the story through our eyes, not through dialogues. That’s the problem with most movies, especially the lazy ones. That’s not all; James Gunn managed to tell the story in a very unique and fresh way. Never did retro tracks become a big deal in movies until this one. Awesome Mix Vol. 1, the movie’s Original Soundtrack, is not just a set of songs randomly played throughout the movie and credits. It is a part of the story, part of the characters. It helped deliver the pitch perfect tone of every scene and emotion.
This movie made me realize that cinema is not just about visuals but also about what you hear and what you feel and experience while watching it. This is what made this film the definitive MCU film to date.
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