Now this is a movie I did not expect to love so much. Before this, the Guardians were a C-list comedy team of sorts. They weren’t even on the same scale as the X-Men or Avengers. I mean when you tell people you’re making a movie with a walking tree and a talking raccoon it turns a few heads. However despite all of that, Guardians was a huge success. Since it’s release it has always managed to stay in my top 5 MCU movies. Not only is it an comedic adventure with a god tier soundtrack, but it’s a very emotional story at the same time.
Director James Gunn has always been very open about his movie. He’s very active on Twitter and tells us all what he feels these movies are about. The way he intends us to see the movie and the way I do are actually identical. Guardians is a story of people who are already broken in their own right, learning to find a family. They won’t exactly be a stable one yet, but its a theme that continues into the second movie where they learn to work as a family. Each character is presented the right amount of backstory and personality so we are able to love them within a single movie.
The Avengers built up a multitude of individual characters over the course of a few years. Guardians introduces them one by one in the same movie. Peter Quill is our main character. He’s from Earth and easily one of the most fun characters to watch on screen. When he was younger he lost his mum to cancer and then was immediately kidnapped by aliens. Since then he’s just been cruising around the galaxy trying to stay alive. He has a lot going on, but he’s not the most hard done by when it comes to this squad.
Gamora is our leading lady. Funnily enough she’s a daughter of Thanos, crazy how we’re building him up more now. Because she’s his daughter she has quite a set of skills that make her very useful. When we first meet her we believe she’s some sort of cool space assassin who will be one of our antagonists. Until we realise she’s torn up inside. Thanos enslaved her home world and took Gamora with him to raise and abuse to the point she’d do it for him. All she wants is to get away from that. There’s a scene in the prison where everyone is threatening her and she looks so terrified. She’s generally very wholesome as well, smiling at Kevin Bacon stories and enjoying music.
Drax the Destroyer sounds like a scary man. Yet he is one of the most damaged out of this cast. He continues to make me depressed whenever he reminds us of why he fights. If you thought Peter had it bad with his mum, Drax had his whole family personally killed by Ronan. All under the authority of Thanos. He’s a very funny character when he wants to be, this mainly comes from how clueless he is about everything. Its actually quite heartbreaking the way he is constantly seeking this revenge. He eventually gets to the point where he can control himself, but there’s a scene in Vol. 2 that shows how internalised all his problems are.
Rocket and Groot are the ones people love and don’t always get to know them from the first movie. Rocket is a raccoon which is quite funny to think about one talking and shooting stuff. While there’s no explicit description of his back story until the second movie we learn so much just from observation here. In the prison there’s a quick scene where he is putting a shirt on and we see some sort of robo skeleton attached to his back. He looks so uncomfortable to have it out in the open and in time we learn this is is why he is the way he is. Everything about Rocket is about just shooting his way out, because at the end of the day he doesn’t care if he dies.
Groot ties directly into Rockets personality, they work together but Groot is almost like a father figure to Rocket. Groot will always do his best to protect his friend despite being a tree with a limited vocabulary. Rocket feels like he has to stay around to be with Groot and as long as they’re together they can get on fine. This is why Groot’s death later in the movie is an important moment for Rocket especially. Groot comes back as a baby and Rocket realises he has to be the protector now. The roles have reversed and this is his reason to live.
As a team it sounds like the most insane roster ever. It very much is as well, the movie knows this. This isn’t the Avengers where they’ll put everything aside to save the day. The Guardians have very conflicting personalities and it effects their relationship all the time. By the end of the movie they are barely functional as a team, they’ve just gone through an experience together. The relationship takes a long time to strengthen and it would take the second movie to have them finally come together as a family.
Beyond the characters and story, Guardians has the best soundtrack and visuals to yet grace the MCU. By allowing our characters to explore regions of space we’ve got a multitude of colours on screen. It also makes for some very intense shots and effects. The fact that Rocket looks as real as he does is incredible. But my god the music in this is incredible. Peter is from the 80’s so he has a cassette from his mother with him. As they fly around they’ll be accompanied by some Jackson 5 and Blue Swede. Beyond these classic tracks, the Guardians have a distinct theme that sticks across movies. The only other musical theme to do this was the Avengers score.
In theory this movie should have failed. None of the characters we are iconic as their counterparts and it would not be connected to any of the characters we’d seen so far. While it would do some great Infinity War build up with the Power Stone and the explanation of their origins. It didn’t contain any familiar faces or environments like The Winter Solider just had earlier in the year. Despite everything sounding like it was against this movie, it turned out to be my favourite at the time. I’m very upset I missed out on cinemas, watching it later in the year made me realise how amazing this movie is and that different was very well good.
I’ll always have a lot of appreciation to this movie, while I would go onto like the second film more, this one remains a classic. Guardians is easily the most re-watchable movie in the MCU that you could show off to a range of people. But alas we must now head off to phase 2’s huge team up movie. Let’s see how our Earth buddies are doing in Avengers: Age of Ultron.