Guardians of the Galaxy ★★★★

At the time of release, Guardians of the Galaxy was widely regarded not only as Marvel’s biggest gamble but also one of their biggest successes. And yeah, it’s a really good movie. But is it their best? Well... almost.

From the one-note characterization of Ronan to the Phantom Menace-esque politics of Xandar, large swaths of this screenplay are just a mess. Add in the flat lighting and somehow already horribly dated CGI accompanying Ronan and his attack on the aforementioned planet and you have some pretty big flaws. And yet, that's not what anyone remembers when thinking about this movie. Do you know why? Cause the rest of this is just that freaking good.

The cast is insane, the comedy near flawless (I would personally rank the ending dance-off among the funniest, most subversive moments to ever grace the silver screen), and - although I feel we've already begun to take it for granted - the idea of taking a sci-fi movie and setting it to a 70s/80s folk and pop soundtrack is a brilliant one. This decision is especially powerful in the case of Guardians because the music is diegetic. It means something to these characters and thus it means something to us.

I think that's what Guardians gets the most right, when you get right down to it. Sure, the movie's an action epic. But, at its heart, it's about these characters - about Peter Quill's relationship with his departed mother and his search for the family he never had. And I think that's a very powerful thing.

4 Stars

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