So, the hubby and I watched Guardians of the Galaxy last night—mainly because so many of our friends said it was great, with a sugary coating of awesome-sauce on top. Normally, we’re not big fans of comic book movies, but there have been some we’ve liked.
This would not be one of them.
I didn’t even make it through the entire movie before I got bored and decided that playing some Candy Crush would be more entertaining. Hubby made it through all of it, but it got a one-shrug rating from him. The best he could say of it was, “It was mildly entertaining.”
Problems I had with it:
I had absolutely no idea who the bad guy was. There seemed to be two bad guys: Bad Guy A and Bad Guy B. Bad Guy B was working for Bad Guy A—I think—but I never established which person on the screen was A and which was B. Or if they were the same species. Or why they were working together in the first place. Or even what made them Badass #1 and #2 in the galaxy. I mean, everyone said they were afraid of at least one of them, but I didn’t see much that made them fearful (of course, that could be because the movie was so damn dark, I could barely see anything on the screen at all).
One of these bad buys wanted to wipe out an entire planet because of some long-standing feud, but I’m not sure which one. (Or maybe it was both of them.) And when one of them eventually acquires Magical Item 1 that blew up a human-looking girl, but which doesn’t blow him up, he appears to become Badass #1. Maybe. I didn’t last long enough to see if they had a showdown for the Badass of the Galaxy Championship Belt.
And one of them had two daughters—who looked nothing alike. We find out that green daughter was actually forcibly made part of the family and had to do daddy’s dirty work. And, in fact, her daddy lent her out to the other one to help steal Magical Item 1. But I was never clear if she was the “daughter” of Bad Guy A or B, and whether she was working for A or B or both or neither. Were they both her enemies? I don’t know. And the blue girl identified as her “sister”—was she the actual child of the bad buy, or another orphan pressed into this Greek tragedy of a family? I have no idea.
So green girl has this long rap sheet of killing people for her “father.” But, when she tells Good Guy that her father (and maybe other Bad Guy) sent her to get Magical Item 1, but she’s going to double-cross both of them (despite the fact that they are Badass #1 and #2 and everyone else is afraid of them), he instantly believes her and decides that he, too, needs to get in on challenging Badass #1 and #2. Because… Green Bitch.
Yes, I know Captain Kirk established the Rule of Green Bitches, but are we even in the same galaxy? Maybe the Rule doesn’t apply to Green Bitches in different galaxies. And certainly we’re in a different time period; Kirk operates several hundred years into the future. Maybe Green Bitches have not yet established themselves as the harmless vixens that they will later become.
In short, there’s no reason to trust this particular Green Bitch. But Good Guy does immediately.
How does he manage to stay alive as a petty thief and smuggler if he’s trusting random Green Bitches at the drop of a hat—especially if it also means taking on Badass #1 and #2?
Not only that, but he immediately falls in love with her. And not the kind of “love” that he’s felt for all the other colorful floozies he’s had from one end of the galaxy to the other (really, is that the best we can do for aliens? Different-colored humanoids?)—no, we’re talking True Love™.
The problem with that is that I don’t see any reason why he should fall in love with her. She doesn’t seem to be any different than the pink girl (or was she orange?) that he had earlier. He doesn’t even spend any time waxing eloquent on her ability to beat up a lot of people—including him—and kick her leg over her head. I can see how such abilities would be appealing to a man like him, but apparently he doesn’t, because he never spends any time talking about them—not even an open-mouth, bug-eyed stare, coupled with a little drool of longing.
No, he just decides to save her—multiple times—for no particular reason. He doesn’t even seem to be motivated by greed (which is a plausible reason to do it to start with; True Love™ can develop over the course of the movie).
From the set up at the beginning of the movie, I was expecting him to be an anti-hero—a thief who is really a good guy deep down, but who needs something (or someone) to motivate him to choose his good side over his bad. But that would involve character development, and the writers gave that idea the middle finger.
Why make interesting characters when you can just have a lot of CGI stuff and a Green Bitch that can kick her leg up so high, she hits the guy behind her in the face? That sells tickets!
The same thing’s true for the rest of the team members. So the raccoon and the tree (Groot—I got his name, at least) are bounty hunters and they try to hunt down Good Guy. Apparently bounty hunting in Peaceful City gets you put in jail. Or maybe they had outstanding warrants; I don’t know. Regardless, everyone ends up in jail together (they don’t even believe in sex segregation at this particular jail; Green Bitch goes in with everyone else). Even before the raccoon and Groot can work out a profitable deal with Good Guy, they’re trying to help him survive the mean world of father rapers, mother stabbers, litterbugs, and other nasty criminal types who create a public nuisance.
Shouldn’t they at least be mad that he caused him so much trouble? He was supposed to be an easy meal ticket, but instead they ended up in the slammer with him. They should have hard feelings about that—at least until their greed overcomes their dislike.
But no, they’re instant partners. And even the addition of Green Bitch and Pointless Blue Guy to the team barely elicit a raised eyebrow.
Sure, we’ve always been a two-beast bounty-hunting operation, but what the hell? Let’s add on a Good Guy who can’t grow a real beard, a Green Bitch who was formerly Badass #3 in the galaxy and belongs to/has been working for Badasses #1 and #2, and a Pointless Blue Guy.
As Dr. Evil says about not even watching during overly-elaborate and easily-escapable executions, “I’ll just assume it went according to plan.” Rocket the Raccoon is Dr. Evil: he’ll team up with some retched scum and villainy and just assume it will go according to plan. They’ll never double-cross him or anything—despite the fact that they have death sentences in twelve star systems. They’re, like, totally trustworthy.
This movie would have worked a LOT better if it did what it appeared to do in trailers, which is make fun of sci-fi hero movies. It desperately tries to do that—what with the oddly-placed 60’s and 70’s music (played on a magical cassette tape that never wears out and breaks!) and awkward attempts at humor by Good Guy—but overall, it takes itself seriously, which means those funny bits thrown in at random seem stilted and out of place.
It either needs to be serious or funny; it can’t do both successfully.
Of course, the movie might make a lot of sense to people who have followed the comics. But as a movie it fails because it can’t be understood without reading the source material first. I watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hunger Games, and Divergent before reading the books and they all made sense. Movies should be capable of standing alone. This one isn’t.
Maybe, in the end, Green Bitch betrayed all of them. Or maybe the raccoon took the money and ran. That would be entertaining—and in keeping with these people who are supposedly thieves and bounty hunters and assassins. But from the way things were going more than halfway through the movie, that didn’t even look like an outside possibility. And with boring, unmotivated (and sometimes pointless) characters, there was nothing to look forward to but a typical fantasy plot: misfits form a team, beat Bad Guys A and B, and recover Magical Item 1.