REVIEW – Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Camp

GotG_01By zombie_fatigue

Many thanks to zombie_fatigue for writing up this review of Marvel’s latest exercise in mediocrity (I say sight unseen). Cheers mate.

On the surface, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a shiny lunchbox of a movie: a cosmic collage of whiz bang spaceship battles, hot ass-kicking alien chicks, and anthropomorphic sidekicks, even if its insides smell of sour milk, fruit roll-ups, and stale bologna. How appetizing you ultimately find it will depend on how much you can stomach the processed diet of your youth. I personally enjoyed it as comfort food, but not nearly as much as I would have as a kid. It’s like a Twinkie, only with a shorter shelf life.

Aside from some quirky elements (talking raccoon, Tarantino-approved playlist, etc.) “Guardians” is not as distinguishable from its Marvel predecessors as it wants you to think it is (or as some over-enthusiastic bloggers actually seem to think it is). Like previous entries, it’s colorful, sporadically entertaining, and expensive-looking. But it also suffers from the same plodding exposition that drags down some of the lesser Marvel movies, delivered via silly/convoluted dialogue that sounds like Scientology refrigerator magnet poetry to my comic book-ignorant ears. At one point, goofball hero Peter Quill (aka Starlord) refers to the object that he is pursuing as a MacGuffin (“I’m getting a Maltese Falcon/Ark of the Covenant vibe from this thing,”  he quips oh-so post-modernly), but that’s wishful thinking on co-writer/director James Gunn’s part. The sought after “infinity stone” is given plenty of narrative explanation and is pretty much the entire reason for the film’s plot. The stone may be of little importance to Gunn, but good luck trying getting that one past his corporate masters at Marvel. Too bad Gunn couldn’t get really subversive and have Quill refer to the stone as “Ovaltine.”

GotG_02Despite being hamstrung by the obligatory connect-the-dots Marvel-verse business (all things will be explained in 2042!), Gunn and company deliver a fun piece of escapist fantasy. Bradley Cooper does good voice work as the aforementioned raccoon, and Vin Diesel makes the most of his repeated three lines (“I am Groot!”) as a tree dude. Zoe Saldana injects some life into the now stock Ass-Kicking Girl with a Heart of Gold (a cliché which has replaced the Hooker with a Heart of Gold male screenwriter invention for the geek set). Dave Batista (whose natural charm but limited range makes me assume he is a pro wrestler…yup) has some good moments as the group’s muscle. Star Chris Pratt is fortunate to be supported by a more colorful ensemble, because he’s honestly no movie star. Like Sean William Scott a decade ago, Pratt’s wattage doesn’t seem quite bright enough to illuminate a big movie of this size and scope. He seems less like a heroic fanboy surrogate than an actual fanboy: kind of like the guy in the comic shop who is a little more charming and better looking than the other guys and benefits by comparison.

GotG_03In many ways, Pratt’s Everygeek persona supports “Guardians” working as narcissistic fanboy identification writ large. If “Star Wars” invited us all to be kids again, “Guardians” says it’s ok to be kids now and foreva. After all, not only does Heroguy get the girl and save the universe, he is a child of the 80s (just like YOU, coveted demographic!) and gets to act as ambassador to all things Reagan era, like sharing his awesomely arcane knowledge of “Footloose.” This isn’t fanboy wish-fulfillment. It’s validation. Children of Spielberg, your coronation has arrived. You may still be a slacker, McFly, but it looks like that misspent youth is paying off after all. In the movies, at least.

3out5stars

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

86 responses to “REVIEW – Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Camp”

  1. Judge Droid says :

    Good stuff, ZF. I’ll check this out at some stage. I really should just steer clear of Marvel movies. I just watched Craptain America 2, which the geeks slobbered over, and it was was shit.

  2. Judge Droid says :

    Conti, I didn’t get the pics you emailed through. If you want those specifically email them again as attachments and I’ll replace the ones I got off the interwebs.

  3. Continentalop says :

    BTW Just Pillow Talk, this doesn’t let you off the hook. You need to become 100% Marvel again.

    • Jarv says :

      He still owes us Ghost Rider 2. Which is also his birthday movie

    • Just Pillow Talk says :

      Fuck…that is an impossible task. I’ve fallen way behind…no Cap 2, IM 3, Thor 2, GR 2, ASM 2, this thing…then there’s the next wave coming. Ugh.

      • Jarv says :

        Thor 2 is easily the best ôf those. But still pretty shit

      • Just Pillow Talk says :

        Not exactly high praise.

      • Continentalop says :

        “Thor 2 is easily the best ôf those. But still pretty shit.”

        I think I remember this on the poster.

      • Judge Droid says :

        I just watched ASM2. You’ll be shocked to hear it’s actually good. Shitloads better than the first one.

      • Jarv says :

        The first one is garbage though.

      • Judge Droid says :

        Yes, it is. This one is much better. Jamie Foxx is totally miscast but otherwise it’s surprisingly good.

      • Just Pillow Talk says :

        I find that next to impossible to believe.

      • Judge Droid says :

        It has a few problems, sure. It’s overstuffed with plot, which is almost entirely “world building” nonsense. But what it has going for it is that it’s genuinely great whenever Spiderman is on screen. The action scenes are well staged and shot, and they feel fresh compared to the first ASM. Plus, Spiderman doesn’t remove his mask at ANY STAGE of the film, apart from the end (that I can recall). And the ending is surprisingly effective and well performed.

        I went into the film in full cynic mode (particularly after yet another Marvel shitfest), and came away pleasantly surprised.

      • Jarv says :

        Wow, I’m amazed at that. It almost runs almost contrary to practically everything else I’ve read about it.

      • Judge Droid says :

        To clarify, here are some bullet points…

        ***mild spoilers

        Good
        – All the action sequences with Spiderman. They’re fun, energetic, and you can see everything that’s going on. No shaky cam shit or the overedited sped up footage of Craptain America 2. A fair whack of slomo, but it works fairly well.
        – ESZ.
        – Andrew Garfield as Spiderman. Does the wisecracking bit pretty well. And pulls off the scene at the end.
        – The main ending. There are a few of them.
        – The fact that it feels like a comic book movie, and not the awkwardly balanced unrealistic superheroes in a realistic world of the Marvel movies.
        – It’s not repeating shit from previous Spiderman movies.
        – You can see Spiderman using a strategy, and working out how to beat the bad guy as each fight or sequence progresses. Unlike shit like CA2 which is just scene after scene of two invincible, personality free characters repeatedly punching each other in the face.

        Bad
        – Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. He’s too old.
        – Jaime Foxx. Miscast. Electro. A bit lame.
        – Muddled motivations. Electro loves Spiderman, then hates Spiderman because everyone loves him.
        – Overstuffed with plot. Unnecessary (and kind of pointless) back story with Peter’s parents.
        – Overstuffed with “world building”. Paul Giamatti is in one of the opening scene. Then disappears and reappears at the end, ready for the sequel. The Harry Osborne story is handled awkwardly, and feels rushed. The world building does two things. It makes the film too long, and takes away screen time that should be dedicated to developing the character of Peter Parker. (see next point)
        – Still no J. Jonah Jameson, even though he’s mentioned in the film. In fact, the film seems to have zero interest in Peter working as a freelance photographer and whatnot.

        Not sure about…
        – Paul Giamatti. In full on hamming it up mode. Really not in the film long enough for me to settle on whether it’s good or bad. It’s just… odd.

        So it’s not great. There are problems with it, but I enjoyed what was good about it to the point where I was forgiving it for the bad things. I’d give it 2.5 probably.

      • Just Pillow Talk says :

        2.5 is the new 4 when it comes to Marvel ratings.

        So if there is a third, is Garfield coming back? They’d have to do a Spidey rises since he’ll be so old.

      • Jarv says :

        2.5 is a fucking stunning rating by Marvel standards. I don’t think a single one of them not called Blade scrapes higher than that. Thor, maybe, and also maybe Iron Man. Other than that, 2 to Orangutan is the usual rating.

      • Judge Droid says :

        I’d give Thor, Iron Man and maybe The Avengers 2.5. There’s not another film over 1.5 though.

      • Jarv says :

        I’d give Thor 2.5, IM and The Avengers 2 and 1.5 respectively, and er….

        Wow. They really do make loads of money for total shite. See every single X-Men film.

        I’m still coming to terms with the nut stroking the first Crap film got, and that was fucking dire. I predict in about 2 years time people will be saying the same about GotG.

      • Judge Droid says :

        Crap 2 is worse than Crap 1. Try that on for size.

      • Jarv says :

        Wow. I had no interest in it at all after the first one.

      • Judge Droid says :

        It’s been lauded by geeks as some fucking spy shenanigans conspiracy thriller version of a superhero movie. Bollocks. It’s just a shit action movie with boring characters. Redford’s the most interesting character and that’s nearly all down to me wondering why the fuck Redford would appear in a movie where he spends 90% of his screen time looking out a window.

      • Jarv says :

        Ugh. You know what I want? A Crap film with him actually fighting Nazis. Like what we were promised last time that we didn’t get.

      • Judge Droid says :

        I’d give Blade a high rating. At least 3. Maybe even 3.5. It’s got some dodgy effects in it, but fuck that. It’s great fun.

        I’d probably give Blade 2 3. 2.5 at least.

        If I could remember anything at all from Blade 3, I’d give it a rating. My gut tells me that it’s complete shit and probably an OoD candidate.

      • Judge Droid says :

        I think I reviewed Blade for Jonah’s website.

      • Jarv says :

        I went 3.5 out of 4 for it here.

      • Jarv says :

        It’s a half a chang film. You can’t OoD a film with Ryan Reynolds calling Parker Posey a “cock juggling thundercunt”. It’s a confused film though, in that it basically isn’t a blade movie. Vampire Pomeranian is one of the worst ideas ever to make the screen, and the big purple plastic monster that’s allegedly Dracula is frigging woeful as well.

      • Judge Droid says :

        Dracula. Fuck. That’s right. And wasn’t he that no neck mongoloid from Prison Break?

      • Jarv says :

        Yup. That’s him. Laughably bad.

      • Judge Droid says :

        2.5 is the new 4 for pretty much all Hollywood films nowadays.

        They could’ve easily done a Spidey Rises and set the next one years later. It’d be a good idea too, I think. They could still, but they’d have to find a work around for why the Sinister Six shit they’re forcing through takes so long to get going. It essentially begins at the end of ASM2.

      • Jarv says :

        There’s a funnybook out there called Reign or something like that that is almost exactly this. It’s meant to be atrocious though.

      • Jarv says :

        Also, I think some Hollywood films pass that- all 3 Batmen I’d go to 3 for. I’d also rate Rise of the Planet of the Apes as 3+.

        Mostly, though, they’re either total meh (Oblivion etc) or total shit (WWZ etc)

      • Judge Droid says :

        There are exceptions to the rule, certainly. Both Dawn of the Apes and Generic Hollywood Title are probably worth 3 changs. But they’re definitely exceptions.

      • Jarv says :

        Kind of warm to her:

        http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/04/megan-fox-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-lashes-out-critic#start-of-comments

        She’s right. Amusingly, Dork Trek fans voted NuTrek2 as the worst in the franchise. This is a franchise with some abysmal films in it (basically almost all of them bar a few notable exceptions). I’ve seen it. It’s blah, but it’s nowhere near as bad as half of them.

      • Judge Droid says :

        Has she ever been in an good movie? I like the first Trannyformers but it’s far from a good movie. Everything I can think of her in, apart from that, has been utter shit.

      • Judge Droid says :

        NuTrek2 was shit. But it’s not worse than Generations, which is the only one I’ve seen apart from NuTrek 1 and 2. Generations was truly abysmal.

      • Jarv says :

        Not that I can think of. It doesn’t make her basic point wrong though. All these losers bitching about “childhood rape” and whatnot will be there shelling out to see the film, regardless of how shit it is. Tranny4 made over $1b for fuckssakes and has an 18% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

      • Jarv says :

        Has there ever been a movie or TV series that Geeks have fapped over that has been actually, unequivocally, great? Seriously, I can’t think of one.

      • Judge Droid says :

        It’s all subjective, but for a universally approved one you’d probably have to go Raiders or something obvious like that.

      • Jarv says :

        Aye, I should have been more specific- since the rise of the internet.

        If Geeks, particularly comicon geeks are fapping over something, I’ll probably hate it.

      • Judge Droid says :

        The Incredibles.

      • Jarv says :

        Nice. We have a winner. Brilliant shout.

        Breaking bad for a second?

      • Judge Droid says :

        I’m not convinced about BB. I’ve watched 2 seasons, and it’s decent. But it doesn’t live up to the hype so far. Possibly it gets better.

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        BB pretty much stays in the pretty good range. it’s not even close to the end all be all that the nerdlings claim it is.

      • Jarv says :

        Got all of them to watch, but I’ve heard so much wanking over it

      • Xiphos0311 says :

        its good but you need have a willing suspension of disbelief the size of Texas to get through it.

      • Jarv says :

        Yeah, guessed that. Still, we’ll see how I get on.

    • Just Pillow Talk says :

      Here’s a grand idea…just let zombie (solid review BTW) do the missing reviews, I’m sure his reviews will be much better than my sorry attempts. Win win for everyone.

  4. Xiphos0311 says :

    That review sounds like what I figured it would be especially since all the nerds creamed their jeans over it on line. Fucking nerds man, do they have the worst herd instincts ever or what?

    Can’t stand that Pratt guy he’s aptly named. Thanks for the review Zombie_Fatigue.

  5. tombando says :

    I think I will go see this today. Understand there’s another talking animal cameo in the ‘Stinger’ at the end. Boys them there Marvel guys and their inside jokes for the nerds eh? Waiting for a Werewolf by Night cameo. But anyways I am sure I will take a lookee at this. I’m on Toad’s side of things, I like these Marvel pix despite themselves.

    Frozen was okay by the way but hit all the same Disney Princess flick cliches where expected. Olaf was kinda fun.

  6. kloipy says :

    Thought this was a very fair and well written review. I, personally, loved it. Had a smile on my face the entire runtime. I know next to nothing about ‘Guardians’ other than some basic character info. So I was really surprised how much I cared about the characters by the end, and am already excited to spend more time in this universe. I liked it better than Avengers and I felt it is one of the only Marvel films thus far to handle scenes with real emotion in them. Again, I didn’t have anything riding on this film other than enjoying some of Gunn’s other work, but I really thought this was great.

  7. tombando says :

    I will have to catch Guardians soonish rather than later. I am glad it’s a good movie and that they did well w/ it. Had all the possibilities of being AWFUL in the Mystery Men/Bats IV/Death Proof realm.

  8. tombando says :

    I will have to catch Guardians soonish rather than later. I am glad it’s a good movie and that they did well w/ it. Had all the possibilities of being AWFUL in the Mystery Men/Bats IV/Death Proof realm.

  9. tombando says :

    I agree w/ the view by the way, I saw this last nite and enjoyed it for the most part, while thinking, ‘boys this is gonna look like Twiki and Wilma era Buck Rodgers 1979 within a few years’ just because. It has some real camp value ala Glenn Close and some of the ‘out there’ getups these guys wear or are put thru. But its still really a fun flick.

    • Judge Droid says :

      This funny book movie fanboy in my class saw it twice in 1 weekend. But this is a guy who didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about when I referenced Withnail and I. I asked him to name a film he didn’t like. He struggled so I started naming movies I thought he had seen that he might think were bad. The best I could get out of him was Green Lantern had some bad things in it. He throws his hands up in the air every time I say a Marvel movie is shit. He couldn’t believe it when I told him Crap 2 was a shit movie.

      This is the current target audience. Hasn’t seen shit beyond the complete garbage released post-2000. I feel sorry for him.

      • Jarv says :

        Ugh ugh ugh.

        I remember his type from my law course back in 2005. Makes you feel more stupid just from being in the same room as him.

      • Jarv says :

        I think that every time he throws his hands up in the air this should be the cue to boot him in the love nuggets. You could make a game of it. Get someone to shout out a marvel movie “IRON MAN 3” say, then the first person to kick him in the happy sick wins 10 points.

  10. tombando says :

    For what it’s worth it was a better Marvel flick than the majority of them, but as for where they go w/ the characters etc. I donno, more Thanos cameos?

  11. ThereWolf says :

    I had no idea what Galaxy Of The Guardians was until today. I’ve heard mention of it but nothing to tell me what the actual thing is.

    So thanks for that Zombie, I’ll put it on the Lovefilm list…

    • Jarv says :

      Hola Wolf,

      How’s the job situation going?

      • ThereWolf says :

        Nothing as yet. Signed up with a load of employment agencies – hopefully find something even if it’s temporary…

        How were the birthday celebrations? Sloshed perchance?

      • Jarv says :

        Very quiet. Son precluded me drinking too much.

        Had a few beers, but mostly chilled.

        I’m back in work now, busy passing probation at the moment, so hopefully something will come up for you. Good luck, man.

        On the plus side, at least you don’t have to cave in that dickhead’s dome now.

      • ThereWolf says :

        Still thinking of going back and doing that!

        Yeh, I just saw your comment on the ‘Kill’ review about a new job. Nice one. I’m jealous now…

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