WRITTEN BY ARSH VOHRA
Symposia : 9.3/10
Average IMDb : 7.8/10
Average Rotten Tomatoes : 88%
Previously unknown to most people apart from comic book fans, James Gunn and Kevin Fiege brought this IP into the mainstream with two spectacular films. The Guardians films are the most unique and exciting in the Marvel canon. Not only are they great comic book films but just some of the best crafted movies I’ve seen in general.
Vol. 1 is fun. A lot of fun. The narrative is relatively simple but the pacing, comedy and flow of this film is exceptional. The themes of found family, regret, loss and love are brilliantly weaved into the plot. The run time flew by and I just wanted more. The chemistry between the core five characters is astounding. Quippy one liners and cutting tension with comedy are staples of Gunn’s work, and this film delivers just that. The 80’s soundtrack was a perfect accompaniment to all of the antics they get up to. Ronan The Accuser isn’t an amazing villain but I liked him a lot more than some of the other one dimensional offerings in the MCU.
This film’s biggest accomplishment is going against the grain. At a time when movies like ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ were some of the biggest blockbusters at the box office, it seemed like superhero movies were going to embrace a more ‘grounded’ and ‘real world’ approach; this film flipped that expectation on its head. Its neon colour scheme, 80’s aesthetic and fun action sequences changed how the future of superhero movies would pan out. This science fantasy is one of the most loveable and feel-good movies, while simultaneously managing to be more real and honest than failed attempts such as ‘Man of Steel’.
Vol. 2 is not as amusing or as feel-good as the first, but it is so much better. Many fans didn’t like this instalment as much as they did the first, but vol. 2 is my favourite MCU film. It’s a character study of not one, but six different characters. It’s beautiful, funny, sorrowful and sincere. All of the themes of the first movie are back and explored in a much deeper way. This film is about parenthood, abuse and ego. Gunn breaks down all of the characters. We see the trauma behind the laughter, the deepest flaws and everything wrong about all of them. Quill is an asshole and Gunn doesn’t hide away from discussing that. Rocket is an asshole and Gunn doesn’t hide away from discussing that. Ego is an asshole and Gunn doesn’t hide away from discussing that. Yondu is an asshole and Gunn doesn’t hide away from discussing that. You get the point.
The complaint that didn’t make any sense to me is the: “WTF QUILL DIDN’T GET THE GIRL!! BULL***T. 0/10 WOULDN’T RECOMMEND”. The whole point of the movie soared over their heads because Gunn doesn’t reward Quill's toxic traits. He has come a long, long way from where we first met him but he has to be better for Gamora to give him a chance. Daughter of a mass murderer, Gamora is scarred. Additionally, she made the only person who might have cared for her, Nebula, an enemy. The complicated feelings, from Drax’s pain to Rocket’s abuse as a genetic experiment, makes every second of this film worth it. Vol. 2 has the single best villain and redemption arc in the MCU and does nearly everything correctly.
The stakes in both these films are large. The guardians are some of the only characters I care about in the entire MCU, they’re flawed and broken and there’s no excuse for it. The visuals, soundtrack and performances are stunning and I was a second away from sobbing like a baby at the end of vol. 2. I never thought I’d say that about a marvel film. I can’t wait for vol. 3 and what James Gunn is going to do considering he has brought nothing but his A game to both of these films.