Why I’m Not LOSING-MY-MIND Excited Over Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy left me with the same feeling of boredom that every other movie in the past few years has left me with. I’m so bored. Leaving the theatre in the past few years has been like the feeling (or lack of feeling) you get after you eat the same meal every single night. Sometimes you might add a little avocado. Sometimes you might substitute the soggy spinach for some crunchy kale. Hey, sometimes you might even sprinkle almonds or sesame seeds on top! But at the end of the night, it’s still always the same boring dinner. Not necessarily because it’s not of high quality or because it doesn’t taste good—but because you eat it every night.
I want an unpredictable, delicious, balanced meal with many colors. I want a multiplicity of characters, plots, music, conflicts… I want a little spice. I just want something FRESH AND NEW. And I want something that god forbid doesn’t solely use female characters to propel the male lead’s interests. This shouldn’t have to be some revolutionary request—but looking around me and seeing the comic craze power forward with more force than ever, and I see people nearly shitting their pants just at the mention of the phrase, “Guardians of the Galaxy" or "Chris Pratt," I realize this really IS some revolutionary request.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching the movie, I laughed at a few parts, I rocked out to the sweet retro soundtrack, I admired the stunning visual effects, the costumes. But it was just “good enough.” I’m done with “good enough.” I’ve been there done that with “good enough.” Next please!
These are my reasons why I am not a super stoked drone totally crazy about this amazing hilarious just-okay comicbook movie Guardians of the Galaxy:
1. The plot is boring.
Boy’s mom dies. Forced to grow up early. Grows up to be gunslinger with a soft side. Accidentally creates a misfit team to find some valuable circular object that will destroy the world. They do that. They save the world. Hints at a sequel for like the last 20 minutes. I don’t think I need to elaborate more.
2. The terrible representation of female characters is predictable and disappointing.
Every single female character in the film was solely there to propel the interests of male characters in the film. Peter’s mom dies so he can become this broken yet soft gunslinger. Drax’s wife and daughter die so he can be vengeful and crazy. That slave secretary chick dies so Peter can see the power of the little orb thingy. Gamara is there not only because a man literally turned her into a weapon, but also for sexual tension between her and Peter, and so the straight male audience can get off on a sexy chick fighting like a bad-ass. And Glenn Close’s character Nova Prime is only in it for like two seconds.
This is a likely story for superhero movies. It’s all the same. It’s disappointing and boring. And for every argument like mine, there will be 10 little male trolls trying to fight me on how powerful these women are, and that I should be thankful and accept these powerful images of women on screen as role models—when in reality they are just new additions to the centuries-old collection of unrealistic and degrading images of women on screen.
3. Zoe Saldana’s beautiful black skin is never enough for Hollywood.*
Zoe Saldana is one of the most visible black actresses in mainstream Hollywood. And although other characters in the film also had unique skin colors like blue, green, and red, there is something to be said that the most famous modern black actress in Hollywood is always most successful in roles where her skin color is changed (In Avatar, Zoe is blue; In Guardians, Zoe is green). With the exception of Star Trek, audiences love Zoe the most when she is not black.
(*Zoe’s heritage can be traced to numerous places including Puerto Rice and the Dominican Republic, but she identifies as a black woman)
4. Introducing our brand new product… Chris Pratt! Limited time only! And look everyone! He’s REAL! Just like YOU!
(Okay, so this point is solely my pissy hipster opinion, but whatever.) I love Chris Pratt! Second only to Leslie Knope herself, Andy Dwyer is my favorite character on Parks and Rec. He is so naturally funny and has this charisma about him. But I found myself less attracted to him in Guardians. Maybe it was because he got all chisled and sculpted and I just want my chubby lil Andy back! But it’s official: Chris Pratt is now a product. Since Guardians, you can’t go on the internet without coming across photos and videos and statuses about him. And it’s like Jennifer Lawernce’s fame—everyone is obsessed with him for how… drum roll please… funny and “real” he seems. “He’s just like ME! A famous person?! WOW! How could a human be like ME?!”
Not to even mention the obsession everyone on the internet has with his weight loss for the role and how he has become an overnight sex symbol because he lost his chubby figure. Ugggh.
Maybe this point is heavily my territorial hipster coming out to claim that Chris Pratt was “mine first! before he was famous!” but there is something to be said about Hollywood taking a creative, unique guy and strapping him into this super predictable superhero craze. He gave the movie some color and I enjoyed watching him, but for the most part, the Chris Pratt fandom flooding my newsfeed is boring and annoying. He’s super cute and charismatic so I understand the obsession but there’s just something wrong about it. Maybe I should just be proud of him for landing a blockbuster role and just shut up.
5. The music and the comedy were different, but not different enough.
It was fun jamming out to some old school tunes. I appreciated that incorporation. But that aspect in itself isn’t even that different, because how creative is it really to play on Millenials obsessive nostalgia and add some retro rock and soul to a comicbook movie?
The jokes were funny and I was laughing out loud a few times. It was refreshing to feel genuine laughter during a superhero movie, but the movie overall still left me with the “just okay” vibe.
Both the music choices and the comedic undertones were fun and set Guardians apart from other recent movies in the genre, but they weren’t fun and creative enough to redeem the overwhelmingly predictable qualities of the film.
In conclusion, Guardians of the Galaxy was just okay. I don’t mean to shame anyone who enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed it. It entertained me for two hours with its dashes of uniqueness including music, humor, and the most adorable baby dancing tree I’ve ever seen in my life during the credits—but it did not wow me. And the fact that everyone around me seems like they are on some serious upper drugs when they talk about it (including my own boyfriend), is a little concerning. I am honestly wondering if this is some Josie and the Pussycats brainwashing shit. I think that’s the best theory for why people are completely losing their minds at this mediocre summer movie. Come to think of it… I really think I’m on to something with that.
^ (Hollywood’s private reaction after raking in the billions for yet another boring male-centric comic book movie. Photo from: Josie and the Pussycats) ^