Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Writer: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Based on: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning‘s comic
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Peter Serafinowicz, Sean Gunn, Stan Lee, [and – see if you can find them: Emmett Scanlan, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Josh Brolin, Seth Green, Lloyd Kaufman]
When Peter (Chris Pratt) was a little child, he was abducted by aliens. Now he is a smuggler, always looking for the next thing he can steal and sell. But his latest acquisition is also sought after by Ronan (Lee Pace) aka The Destroyer – which does not bode well for Peter. Ronan sends assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) after Peter and at the same time bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) try to collect the price on Peter’s head. In the ensuing confusion they are all arrested, which in turn forces them to work together – first for the money, then to keep Ronan from realizing his destructive plans.
I was really looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy. The trailer looked good. The first reviews were very promising. The cast was great. I was counting down the days to its ridiculously late Austrian release. And then finally it was time to see the film and… it was a mess. A sexist, boring mess.
Guardians does have its moments, no doubt. Some of the jokes were very funny (especially when they weren’t written for, presumably, a twelve-year-old boy – which was frighteningly rare). Some of the cast is really good (good grief, what happened to Karen Gillan or Lee Pace though? Did they read the script and decided that acting wasn’t really necessary for that dreck? Or Glenn Close, giving the most forgettable performance ever). Some of the scenes are well done. The special effects are wonderful. But the biggest part of the film just did not work for me.
For one, there was the undercooked plot that only made a very limited amount of sense and had huge gaping holes. Two, the pacing was all over the place. Especially the showdown dragged on and on and everytime the film gained momentum, there was an entirely displaced scene that slowed everything down again but looked cool (like the lights Groot sends out towards the end of the film).
But worst of all was the casual sexism that was everywhere in this film – from Peter not remembering his date’s name (because that’s what hunks do, don’t you know, have one night stands with ditzy girls and forget not only their names but that they’re there at all) to the endless pans over Zoe Saldana’s ass. From Drax (Dave Bautista) calling Gamora a whore (even though he can only speak in literal concepts) to the Collector’s (Benicio del Toro) slaves, tied up insubmissive poses and push-up bras. From the general lack of understanding of the female characters (particularly Nebula [Karen Gillan]) to the end where Gamora helps Peter save the universe by basically becoming his mother to him (Freud sends his regards). Ugh.
With all that going on, one almost barely notices that the only two persons of color in the film who actually looked like persons of color (and not, for example, green or like a giant tree) [Benicio Del Toro and Djimon Hounsou] were morally ambiguous at best.
I probably would be more forgiving with the film, if I’d had fun despite all those things. But, especially in the last third, I kept looking at my watch. I was bored. I wanted it to end. And I was frankly flabbergasted by what I had just seen when it finally did end. I just keep wondering where all those good reviews came from.