tobacco Knights presents
Installment 10: Guardians of the Galaxy
2014 Directed by James Gunn
Every once in a great while, I’m completely wrong about something.
I’ll admit, it’s a rare thing. But like Hailey’s Comet, or the changing of the Popes, or Scorsese getting an Oscar, it will eventually happen if enough time passes. I remember the first time I saw the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy. I don’t remember what movie I was there at the theater to see, but I distinctly remember thinking that, based on this terrible preview for what looked like an entourage of Chuck E. Cheese rejects, Guardians would be the biggest flop of all time. I mean if the 2-minute snippet was that embarrassingly awful, what was two whole hours going to be like? I know superhero movies are all the rage, but this was an obvious knee-jerk cash-in on this misunderstood fad by trying to be as zaney and outlandish as possible, right? And it doesn’t even have the cred of the MCU franchise that previous stinkers like The Incredible Hulk had to fall back on, you know?
Like I said, I’m a bit off from time to time. And, perhaps because it is indeed such a rare thing, it can take some time for me to realize and own up to my mis-judgements. Upon its release, Guardians was an immediate hit. All the reviews, from both media and trusted friends, were that it was great. People were returning to the theaters in droves, and not just to see it again, but to hear the music again. The soundtrack for Guardians was just as popular as the movie itself. All I could think of when hearing all this was the goofy trailer I had seen, and the only song used in it was clearly ripped off from Reservoir Dogs. But the overwhelming raves continued to come from those who had seen the movie, and I eventually decided I’d give it a go.
But busy schedules and higher priorities prevented me from making it to the theater in time to see it, even though its success garnered it a prolonged run. It wasn’t until several months later that I’ve finally got to sit down and watch the thing in its entirety. By now I’ve heard over and over how great it is, and have watched Chris Pratt’s popularity soar. And of course, I also know by now that yes, it is in fact a part of the MCU franchise, and these characters have been around for years. Well, maybe that at least explains some its success, right….?
Wrong again. In actuality, whether on its own, or as part of the entire MCU series, it’s the best of all of these movies. Period. It was the most fun to watch, was the easiest to follow, had the best ensemble cast of characters and actors who played them, and, yes, had the best music (“Hooked on a Feeling” still belongs to Reservoir Dogs though – sorry). I can see what all the hype was about, and why everyone loves Chris Pratt. He was great, as was the rest of the group. This movie had all the potential to be totally corny and a forgotten embarrassment by the time of its DVD release, but nope. It defied all the assumptions (mine at least) and is generally agreed upon as the best of the bunch. It also achieved this without leaning on the mainstay characters or reputation of the MCU. All you really had to tie it the rest of the series is the Thanos connection and the infinity stones. Which certainly do, and I’m sure will come more into play and draw these characters in more closely to the world of Cap and Iron Man in coming installments, but for now it was nice to take a break from all that.
The One Thing: The best thing about Guardians, and what separates it the most from the rest of the MCU movies, is the feeling. Sure it has its own look, its own set of characters, its own storyline that barely intersects with the rest of the series. But it is the mood of the film, and the mood it puts its audience in that truly sets it apart. It’s funny without being stupid, it’s whimsical without being corny, it’s sentimental without being pretentious, and it’s feel-good without being sappy.
There’s a sort of irony at work. The closest comparison I can make that had the same type of effect was Joss Whedon’s Firefly series. The rogues gallery of characters thrown together to face the challenges at hand, including the challenges of dealing with each other, and eventually becoming a family that overcomes the odds. The aforementioned irony being that Whedon, while at the helm of The Avengers, didn’t have much to do with Guardians. Yet if you were to take the Pepsi challenge and watch all the MCU movies without knowing who directed what, then choose which one Joss did…..
Of course, I suppose you could make the argument that no one unexpectedly dies in Guardians, a staple of Whedon’s work that he presumably corners the market on (although Reservoir Dogs would have something to say about that as well).
So I’m glad to hear there’s a sequel planned for 2017. Hopefully there will be Guardians involvement before then, and they will be able to keep their unique flare amongst the overbearing Tony Starks and Nick Furys of the world. Perhaps Coulson can mediate. If Joss doesn’t kill him again….
Just Blowing Smoke: They’re getting harder and harder to find, but if you can get your hands on a Tatuaje Black Label, consider yourself lucky and smoke it immediately. Don’t even wait for that “special occasion”, there’s too many things that could go wrong in the meantime. Just find a quiet spot, and light it up. They’re small, which I usually don’t prefer, but these have all the taste of a larger ring gage, even if they unfortunately don’t last as long. These were apparently a limited edition that are no longer made, but I tend to find them every now and then online and, with a little coercion, in the private back rooms of some finer cigar shops.
To read The Nerdlings review of Guardians of the Galaxy click here.