Redeeming the Comic Book Movie Genre One Witty Wisecrack at a Time

Guardians of the Galaxy — from

Let me start with a little confession here: I am a die hard comic book geek. Not in the sense that I know who wrote or drew anything in particular when it comes to the actual comic books themselves, but because when I was a kid if the main character had a secret identity or wore a cape then I was all over it. I couldn’t get enough. I’m gay, so muscly men with bulging tights didn’t hurt one bit either. The comics have evolved since then, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe nary a cape (except Thor) nor a secret identity (nor a bulge) can be found and yet I am more enamored than ever. I must be evolving too; because the superhero movie is by far, hands down, my favorite movie genre…ever. But because the first twenty years of this genre was undervalued and therefore underwhelmed us, much like an unwanted stepchild, the genre is certainly acting out now! We’ve come along way from the likes of 1997’s Batman & Robin (which is terrible even if you’re stoned) to 2012’s game-changing Marvel’s The Avengers (which is amazing even if you’re sober). The Avengers broke new ground by establishing a cohesive and shared movie universe connecting several separate multi-million dollar movie franchises together, making piles of cash for themselves and making the dreams of many comic book geeks like myself come true. So I toked up heavy on my Shatter Tank (cannabis vape pen) and geared up for what proved to be a riotously good time indeed. With James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy it looks like Marvel Studios has done it again.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. While overall it didn’t tug as hard at my emotions as I would like every movie to do, it did manage to tug at them a little. As my high began to fade the swirling blend of action, comedy and romance began to crescendo, making this a super hero movie I’d see twice. Okay, you got me, I already have. ***SPOILERS AHEAD*** It’s an off-beat choice for a superhero movie, taking place fully in space with only one earthling among them and plenty of odd-ball alien races. My favorite moments are some of the most casually delivered lines. For example, in the film’s opening act we are treated to Chris Pratt’s likable would-be outlaw Star Lord as he dances to a soundtrack of golden oldies from a walkman he still has (the one remnant of his home planet of Earth) as he makes his way across alien terrain, picks the lock on some ancient tomb, and loots the place. When he is confronted and barely escapes with his life he flies off in his spacecraft nearly totaling it. He sighs, now finally safe. Suddenly a girl appears from down below, evidently a one night stand he had on-board. He struggles to remember her name in light of his narrow escape, then in true insensitive-but-adorable style he says his first of many great lines: “I’m gonna be honest with you, I forgot you were here.” Or when Groot the talking alien tree continues to repeat his one known english phrase “I am Groot,” Rocket, the genetically and robotically enhanced talking raccoon explains that’s the only phrase Groot can say. Just as you begin to roll your eyes thinking to yourself that is going to get old really fast Star Lord says “that’s gonna wear thin,” predicting our responses and then surprising us. In the end Star Lord is wrong, Groot doesn’t wear thin after all, in fact none of the unusual characters or choices in the movie do. From the feel-good 1970’s soundtrack to the unique cast of characters, this crazy alien space odyssey manages to stretch out for two hours and feel like fifteen minutes; it manages to stretch the boundaries of what can be done in a superhero movie to the limits of the galaxy, making this Marvel Studios second game-changing superhero movie in two years. And with it’s unexpected musical score it stretched the buzz from my shatter tank too, because I came out of this rocking space jam flying pretty damn high.

Maybe I’m just stoned, but this turned out to be a pretty exciting afternoon at the movies. Tell me what you think in the comments section below.

MY SCORE: 4 out of 5 buds. Like I’ve said before, for five buds you’re gonna have to make me cry. This delightful interstellar romp with a stellar cast did everything but. A Damn Good Buzz!