Some humble suggestions for improving Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy movie posterFinally saw Guardians of the Galaxy. Frankly I can’t believe how much fun the movie ended up being, given that the overarching story was so sadly uninspired (that’s a compliment, by the way). So below I have collected some musings and criticisms.

Please remember:

  1. I am not a comic book reader. I could not care less about any movie’s fidelity to its comic book source material.
  2. I actually had a great time watching Guardians of the Galaxy. If I didn’t I wouldn’t still be thinking about it.
  3. My observations are probably riddled with spoilers, if that sort of thing bothers you.

That said, here are my curmudgeonly observations, in no particular order:

  • As mentioned above, I couldn’t have cared less about the main story arc. Some evil guy and some even more powerful evil guy want to conquer or maybe destroy the universe because… well… because. That’s what Evil Dudes do. I would have found Benicio Del Toro’s character a way more compelling villain. Kind of like Buffalo Bill in space. Too weird for the kiddies? I dunno. I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as a little kid and in that movie The Child Catcher is pretty much John Wayne Gacy. Maybe it’s a generational thing.
  • At least The Evil Dudes had some personality. The Nova Corps were a total snooze-fest (with the exception of John C. Reilly, perhaps). No disrespect to Glenn Close. She had nothing to work with. Literally nothing. I was kind of hoping the baddies would destroy this pristine world just so we might be spared revisiting it in future installments.
  • Consequently, the “climactic” battle had no real tension. But I’ll readily admit to being extremely prejudiced against action set pieces these days. I’ve seen waaaay too many and 99% of the time we (the audience) know exactly how things will end from the outset.
  • Why couldn’t the movie have focused on the conflict with the Ravagers? Those guys were a blast to watch.
  • In fact, I’d rather watch a series of movies about all these characters going on crazy unrelated (or tangentially related) adventures in space. Kind of like a golden age sci-if serial, but with more talented performers and much higher production values. Why is everything so damn overwritten these days?

This is what frustrates me about a lot of the comic book movies. They give the most interesting elements the least screen time while favoring well-worn action set pieces and the minutiae of the source material.

This probably has a lot to do with the fact that there are children to wow and thus toys to be sold. Or that some dude/dude at Macquerie sold a bunch of high-yield debt to fund the things so taking a risk with the projected cash flow by pissing off the true fans is a total non-starter. Or maybe I’m just a balding curmudgeon and not at all the intended audience and therefore will just never get it.

I still see oodles of untapped potential.

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