MMM #205: Marvel’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Roundtable Review

Marvel Studios is enjoying yet another round of sweet box office success with director James Gunn’s GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and deservedly so. The spectacular, hilarious, visually mesmerizing, infinitely entertaining, and wonderfully heartfelt space opera has been our most anticipated film of 2014, making this our most anticipated podcast of the year. We may or may not be a bunch of a-holes, but we 100% loved this film. Please join us as we explain why.

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    Just saw it in 3D IMAX (not by choice, but time constraints) today. In baseball terms, I’d call it a triple with a close play at the base. I think I’m going to like it better on second view, when I’m not trying to mentally analyze it as I’m watching. If I have a problem, and I will concede that it would be difficult to pull this off and be relateable to American audiences, its that almost every single alien, with the exception of Groot, sounds like they are either from Tennessee or Michigan. I was dead-on right when I called it for Trailer Park Yondu. I mean, Rooker’s great, but he’s not exactly gonna vary from his persona. Its not just him, the whole race of folks on Xandar seem to be your typical next door neighbor, especially the Nova Corp.

    On the plus side, and there is too much for one post, I really think Brolin is going to nail it as Thanos, especially when he actually moves, Bautista was awesome as Drax-I know Pro Wrestling takes some acting ability, but he nailed the more subtle moments as well. For a new face, its a hell of an intro. I was also taken with Pratt as Quill, although with some reservations–he seemed to be pouring on the Jack Black take a bit much, especially at the end. And a dumb song to do it to. Why not “I believe in Miracles.” Otherwise I like his Awesome Mix. Took me back. Well, a lot to talk about. Much easier speaking it, I’m sure. Have to listen to you later. Wife’s home.

  • Andrew Custer

    Saw the film 3 times myself with more on the way. This film is amazing and I’m having a blast listening to the podcast as well. “StarLord stole your lunch money” is frickin’ classic lol. I’ll also have to check out this supposed Albert and Landmine run on Guardians with Peter Quinn, it sounds awesome haha!

    I definitely agree 100% on all the Guardians themselves. Pratt might not be leading man status yet, but he is on track to be and his whole performance as Quill was amazing, funny and emotional. When he pops in Awesome Mix Tape Vol.2 and his eyes start to well up, so did mine. He was so on point as this character and his comedic timing, both dialogue and physical, was damn near perfect. Saldana brought a lot of heart to a role that is otherwise very simple and straightforward in the comics. I love her moments of tenderness with Peter and that she is able to groove a bit at the end of the film, showing how much she now enjoys being free from bondage and in the company of a newfound family. Same sentiment for Bautista as Drax, only more so because HOLY COW did he surprise the living hell outta me. Everything from his comedic timing to the physical stuff and even the emotional moments were absolutely owned by him. The part when he sits next to Rocket and just looks at him before petting him, you can see that his heart is broken for the loss of Groot as well. Also the part where he says he will fight with Quill “and in the end, see my wife and daughter again,” was just amazing and powerful. Vin Diesel IS Groot and he did an excellent job with the voice work. I do hope that when he fully grows back in GOTG2, that he has actual dialogue like in the Annihilation Conquest: StarLord arc. Even if it is just once, I would love for him to say, “there shall be a reckoning Raccoon thing.” One minor nitpick for Groot is I really hoped that he would say “I am Groot” in a high-pitched voice when he was growing back at the end. That would have been awesome. All the minor characters were very cool as well. All the Nova Corps characters (John C Reilly, Glenn Close, etc), the Ravagers (Yondu and even Kraglin), Del Toro as The Collector, and even seeing Cosmo even though he wasn’t speaking telepathically, it was all a major geek out moment for me to see all these brilliant characters brought to life no matter how small the role.

    As far as the villains, I thought Lee Pace as Ronan was brilliant. I disagree 100% with anyone that says he is one note. He is not a Loki or a Joker, in terms of having multiple layers, but he is so awesome and imposing like they are. He is a religious fanatic is good enough for me. You see elements of his personality when he defies Thanos (“You call me BOY???!!!”) was absolutely perfect and spoke volumes of how far he is willing to go to achieve his goals. He is certainly a far better villain than Malekith was in Thor The Dark World and any of the main Iron Man villains. He was a major threat for our heroes and the fact that nothing could stop him and he would keep coming and coming really reminded me of the T1000 from Terminator 2. Unstoppable and an amazing physical presence. Bravo for Paul pointing out Javier Bardem playing a similar type of villain and nabbing an Academy Award. My only slight disappointment is that Ronan didn’t live to show us how his power and views can be used for good, but that’s okay. Nebula was great and I definitely hope to see her in the sequel. She was very cool and I loved it when she asked about killing Thanos and said she will help Ronan burn a thousand worlds. Korath was awesome and I loved the “StarLord…” “Finally…” moment between him and Quill. Finally, Thanos himself was really cool to fully see for the first time. His appearance was great and the motion capture as well as the voice were fantastic in my opinion. It will be even better when we see him as the main villain taking on the Avengers when the time comes.

    I’m totally with Sean and John on the dance off scene. I loved it and it totally worked for me. Ronan definitely seemed to be drunk on power and seeing the Xandarian citizens holding their hands to their mouth or sobbing in horror was something he was savoring in that moment. He wouldn’t have bothered with the big speech otherwise. When Peter is singing and then says, “Dance off bro… you and me,” of course that would be such a random and off-putting thing for Ronan in that moment. Just my 2 cents on that part, but I can definitely see how it doesn’t work for some people.

    The after credits scene was awesome for me, but I’ll be honest: every single screening I’ve gone to, 99% of the audience was completely baffled. There wete lot of “huh,” “who’s that,” and “what the f*ck” from the audience members. The first time I saw it I let out a “oh my God” and started laughing, so the people sitting around me all asked what that was all about and I had to explain that it was Howard the duck and why it was so awesome to them as we were all leaving the theater, which was actually pretty fun to do lol.

    Lastly, I really love the message of this film to “give a shit” and that it’s okay to make friends and treat them like family. I laughed like a fool, I was awestruck with the action and visuals, and I was fighting back tears at several moments and failed miserably. This film is has got it all and is definitely my favorite Marvel film except maybe Captain America The Winter Soldier, which is an entirely different film anyways. I can’t wait for the Q&A show… ’nuff said!

    PS- the “punch it!” for Star Wars and Friends scared the beejesus outta me and a little bit of pee came out haha.

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    It was a very good flick and I really enjoyed it. Not as much as you all did, but I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to sing a ballad to the leading man of a movie. I didn’t get as far as I would have in the podcast, so maybe you had some criticisms I missed. I’ll try to get back to it. Computer failure. The opening scene was very strong, and for those of us who have watched someone leave us by God’s favorite method of population control, it does hit you. And I remember wishing some space ship would come and take me away, too. Would have been a dream come true. However, the follow up scene was just a little too facetious IMO, with the grabbing of the lizards and using them as mikes. Its just a little too Jack Black for me. Thankfully, that wasn’t throughout the flick, until the end, of course.
    I got little nit-picks here and there. For instance, I would have liked it if Yondu actually pulled a bow out, instead of his remote control arrow. As a bowhunter, it misses the mark for me. All too easy, as they say. I also don’t think Quill as a 10-11 year old in 1988 would know much about Casablanca or some other stuff he brought up, but, again, who knows. I was his age in 78, and I watched a lot of old movies w/ my Gramps that I think were off the airwaves for the most part in the 80s. Until TCM and AMC came along. Also, I never had a well played cassette tape last longer than 3 years, maybe 5. And again, you get all the way across the galaxy and everyone sounds like rednecks and WASPs, then what’s the point of having alien races in the flick?
    Ronan-lots of people calling him a religious fanatic. Maybe in the books, but I didn’t see that here. Don’t religious fanatics invoke some form of God as a justification for their violence? I only saw a revenge driven Kree, re-fighting a thousand year war. I don’t recall him invoking anything remotely religious until he mocked Xandar’s gods. And where were the hated Skrulls?
    As far as influence, I really saw a lot of western/war movie references, and maybe that was intentional, or not. But I saw Mag 7, The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen. Those are the influences I saw in the story as a whole. All in all, it was a very good balance of spectacle and, I guess you could call it heart and soul. 5 will get you 10, the next flick takes a darker turn.

  • Robert Reineke

    Let me say, that I enjoyed the movie very much. It’s one of my favorites of the year.

    That said, I don’t buy the “it doesn’t matter that the villain is one dimensional” excuse making. Overall, I think it’s a minor flaw, but still a flaw. It basically renders his scenes, not involving action, dull exposition dumps. It renders his betrayal of Thanos meaningless. And the betrayal makes Thanos look like a poor judge of character and a poor leader. Not to mention, Ronan’s betrayal has no impact on the plot as Thanos does nothing in response, not even make a really good threat.

    Plus, it never, ever hurts to make a character interesting. It has benefits beyond simply making the character work more interesting. If we’re interested/invested in a character, it gives weight to their actions and the stakes of a film. An uninteresting villain renders his eventual defeat a fait accompli, especially when the stakes are so large, and robs the third act of some suspense. Yeah, not every villain can be The Joker, but you really don’t have to do much. One of the greatest movies ever made, IMO, is SEVEN SAMURAI and there is precisely one scene that fleshes the villains out, but it makes a lot of difference, as well as the fact that there are actual stakes as significant characters die, in tieing the two sides of the conflict together as human beings instead of cartoons.

    I also thought that Gamora and Nebula were underserved by the script. Yeah, I suppose that’s what sequels are for, but Gamora didn’t have a whole lot to do except play straight woman to the crew. I think they kind of mishandle her introduction, we don’t see her as a strong character right up front, she basically loses to Star Lord, Rocket, and Groot, and she needs to be rescued from Drax (and rescued from space later on). We also don’t see her enough prior for her betrayal of Ronan and Thanos for it to come off as anything other than expository back story rather than a weighty character moment. I don’t think it really hurts the movie much, especially because Saldana turns in a fine performance, but it’s definitely something they’ll want to work on in the next movie.

    There are some other, minor quibbles, but those are my main ones. Which shouldn’t be taken too harshly as I overall had a great time with the movie. It’s well paced, well structured, has some terrific characters, looks great, has a great soundtrack, and is very funny. Heck, the fact that they tied the climax into an actual character moment, for several characters, is something that Marvel’s had trouble with even in their best films and I regard it as progress. In many ways, it’s the Marvel movie that I can see myself rewatching most.

    • Michael Lalaian

      Ditto. I’d say this is pretty much the only thing I’ve really disagreed with the gentlemen on in this podcast (so far, still making my way through this three hour behemoth of a show!). The only Marvel villains anyone really talks about are Loki and the Mandarin, and both of those were made interesting through various ways. I don’t think every villain needs to be charming or sympathetic, but neither of those is synonymous with being multi-dimensional or having depth.

      To get a little more philosophical about it, saying that its okay for a bad guy to just be one note is basically saying its okay for bad guys not to have a sense of humanity, which I think is kind of a slippery slope. More than anyone, villains need to have a sense of humanity, otherwise its just propaganda, a punching bag to make one feel good about themselves. The truth is that with just a few subtle changes to a person’s life experience or biology, any one of us could be a villain as opposed to a hero. Ignoring this is a suspension of disbelief that not only can I not take, but that I personally don’t think is worth taking.

      As Robert pointed out, it really doesn’t take much. Just a few lines here and there would have done the job.

      • Ronan is a Kree zealot, so I don’t really see a need for him to have a sense of humanity. Thanos won’t have one and shouldn’t. This is not a slippery slope, in my view.

        Ronan has a point-of-view, conviction, and a warped sense of justice that leads him to believe he is the hero of his story. Even though he is not human, I think we’ve seen humans who share those qualities with Ronan. I respect those who disagree, but I feel Ronan was written and performed exactly as he needed to be in this story.

      • Michael Lalaian

        I respect your opinion as well, but I guess what I’m not understanding is why zealotry and humanity are mutually exclusive. I abhor zealotry, and any kind of dogma really, as much as anyone. However, I never lose sight of the fact that no one is born a zealot, which to me is also one of the tragic things about them. Fanatics, terrorists, even socio- or -psychopaths, as much as I want them locked away where they can’t harm anyone else, are ultimately tragic figures because you know they *could have* not been that way. By extension, Villains serve as a reminder that all of us could not be the way were are now, which is, in my opinion, one of their most important narrative functions.

        With a character like Ronan, it almost seems like he was brought into existence for the first time when he emerged from that black goop on the ship. Sure, he talks about his father and grandfather and Kree justice, but the audience isn’t given context as to what any of that is or why its important. In a way, that makes Ronan more of a cartoon than Groot or Rocket ever would have been. Perhaps humanity was too vague a word for me to use, but what I really meant by that was me, as an audience member, getting the feeling that the writers treated a character more like a person than merely a plot device. And I just didn’t get that sense with Ronan.

        Completely unrelated, will there be a Q&A show too?!

      • Andrew Custer

        Michael, you are right. They don’t need to be mutually exclusive, but they don’t need to be mutually inclusive either and in the case of Ronan, it is the latter. Now this is me reading into things, but it seems that he was indeed born a zealot and even if he had any humanity or sympathy, his father or religious sect would have burnt it out of him wholly and completely. I don’t believe he is one note or a mere plot device based on all the reasons I listed before. I can totally see how some won’t see it that way in the face of practically every other character in the movie getting their back story or at least a greater sense of who they are. Compared with the Guardians, a few of the Ravagers and Nova Corp, Ronan would seem less fleshed out by comparison. Now let’s compare him against The Collector. Would you say Benicio Del Toro played it one note or that he is a mere plot device? I’d say that would be a better comparison than anything else. Even if I were to concede that Ronan is just a one note villain, he did a hell of a job being one. Far more than Malekith, Whiplash, Abomination, or any others that aren’t Loki lol. Just my thoughts though.

        Sean mentioned that they will do a Q&A as the next show. Can’t wait! 😀

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        I thought The Collector was one-note, but that is what fanatical collectors generally are. I also thought Del Toro wasn’t given that much to do, and I wish they had given him at least one scene of brutality for his “slave” to justify what she did. Somebody telling you to use a little elbow grease or get thrown in a box isn’t something most people are willing to kill themselves over. Seemed overkill to me. I understood him to be very cold toward others, with his eyes on the prize, but not exactly bloodthirsty.

        As far as the other villains in the Marvel Repertoire, outside of Malekith, who sucketh, (but so did the whole movie IMO), Whiplash at least had some character quirks provided by the self-destroying Mickey Rourke, Iron Monger was better without the suit. Tim Roth had a jealousy complex as the Abomination, and a compulsion to remain a strong warrior as he aged, to the point of becoming a monster. That’s not one note to me. Madarin was interesting because he was a fake, a fraud. Bucky bores me, but one I haven’t seen mentioned is the Red Skull. German, mystic, scientist, sadist, more evil than the Nazis. Took joy in the suffering of others with the arrogance of a monumental stature. Lets hear it for the boy.

      • Andrew Custer

        Oh I didn’t mention Red Skull because I think he is a highly underrated villain and hope to see him again in the MCU. Well all your points on the various villains is taken but for me Ronan is just as legitimate. Agree to disagree and you’re certainly not alone on the opinion. I think it just depends on folks’ tastes in movie villains that makes it work or fail for them.

        I 100% agree that The Collector’s character was one note but Del Toro brought such a presence with so I am looking forward to seeing him again. The slave thing wasn’t just about using elbow grease only because when she turned to look at the last assistant, it was one of her race and it was very unsettling how the former assistant looked hooked up to whatever that stuff was in her cage.

        Definitely in agreement on Malekith. I got nothing out of him and to be honest, Thor The Dark World is my least favorite Marvel Studios film even more than Iron Man 2.

      • Robert Reineke

        Yeah, The Collector didn’t show any depth. But, he was really only in the movie to supply exposition and be funny. He had basically one scene.

        I also think the choices that Benecio made were unexpected. The easy way to play The Collector was as Simpsons Comic Book Guy. Benecio went way into left field with Space Liberace.

      • stock

        I agree with you re: Ronan. My problem was with the label of religious zealot, since he didn’t seem to have any religious convictions. As a villain, I do think he could have been explained better, but I think his real fault, and the reason he’s unfavorably compared is that he has no real connection to our heroes. Outside Gamora, and Drax, both of whom he doesn’t care about, he doesn’t really have any scene where he sees who he’s up against. It diminishes his stake in the story, IMO. Plus, I view him as just a conduit to Thanos, who’s being set as the main bad guy in future MCU flicks. Re: Collector, Del Toro brings his patented oddness, but for somebody to blow themselves up, I’d have had some abject cruelty and abuse to give it some purpose. But it’s Marvel, so the perception doesn’t always match the reality. It was a scene to show the power of the stone, the reason didn’t matter.

      • Andrew Custer

        Good points stock. There absolutely could have been more added to Ronan to help flesh out his frame of mind and why his goals are what they are. I would never say that adding that kind of stuff would be a bad thing, but I will suggest that giving him more of a stake in the story would have messed with the pacing of the movie and getting to know the actual Guardians themselves. You never know though and I think it becomes a damned if you do/damned if you don’t kind of thing.

        Definitely on point with Del Toro and for the same reasons as I stated above, he was in the movie and added just enough to keep things going.

      • Michael Lalaian

        That’s what I get for commenting before I finish the show!

        As for the Collector being one note or not, that’s a good point. I know I don’t think so, but I think that’s because of the idiosyncrasies he displays as well as passion for collecting. Humanity is granted in different ways. I don’t think the ways in which Collector was given a sense of humanity is necessarily the same way you’d do it for someone like Ronan.

      • Andrew Custer

        Exactly right Michael. I feel Del Toro only serves a certain element of the plot but he brings a lot of gravity to the role. In that same vein, I feel the same way about Ronan. He brings a certain piece to the table but his presence is so amazing, that I was loving his turn as the villain.

        I know I keep using this part for my argument but I just really really loved the “you call me BOY???!!!” moment in the film. I was sitting in my seat thinking “damn Son… it’s on now!” I just got a charge out of Lee Pace in the role.

    • I’m going to stand on the arguments we made on the show for Ronan being one-dimensional and Thanos’ reaction to Ronan’s betrayal as strengths for each character. I’ll just add that Thanos can only be a poor judge of character if he feels the need to actually judge character, which he most likely does not. Thanos thinks of Ronan as a “boy” whom he can easily squash, so it’s doubtful Thanos was overly concerned with how trustworthy Ronan was. If Thanos, as arrogant as he is, believes he can immediately destroy Ronan if needed, how worried would he really be about any potential betrayal?

      As for Gamora, you’re going to have to watch the movie again. Rocket and Groot may be the last ones standing on Xandar, but Gamora has Quill beat in one-on-one combat before they show up. She literally disarms Groot. She comes back from being launched across the courtyard with Quill’s rocket booster, of which Rocket takes note. She had a terrific showing in that sequence and came across as a more than capable combatant.

      Remember that before Drax had Gamora by the throat, she actually had blades to the throats of Drax and the other prisoner. She got the upper hand and let it go to try and gain trust. It didn’t work, but this was not really a matter of Gamora being unable to protect herself and in need of rescue. She saved herself first, then got an assist from Quill after intentionally letting her guard down.

      I don’t mind how her betrayal was handled in this film. It shouldn’t really mean all that much for her to betray Ronan given that she was only on loan to him. It is the betrayal of her father that means more and should be explored further as Thanos becomes more central to the plot in the next film.

      Outside of Quill, every Guardian’s backstory was expository. I’d argue you kind of need that in a film like this and add that at least Gamora got a little more of her backstory explained relative to her teammates, save for one.

      • Robert Reineke

        If Ronan can stand up to Thanos, and be defeated by the GotG, how particularly worried should we be about Thanos? People say that Thanos is an interesting, formidable villain, but sitting in a chair and being betrayed are really all we’ve seen of him to date. I don’t consider any of this unfixable, all you need is one good movie with Thanos at the center, and it could be Avengers 3, but I doubt anyone thinks Thanos has made a particularly strong impression to date.(It will help when he finally gets out of his chair and does something.)

        I’d be interested in Ronan as a zealot if his zealotry was related to anything. “Ancient Kree traditions” tell me precisely nothing. One of the things I think Star Trek has done well is relate what Vulcan/Klingon traditions are in easy to understand terms. Vulcans are dictated by logic. Klingons, besides originally being a stand in for the Russians, are driven by a warrior sense of honor which is relatable as if they were samurai, Spartans, or Vikings. I understand the need for shorthand and exposition, and I really appreciate the brisk pace of GotG, but, there’s good exposition and bad exposition and they really just needed a little good exposition to make Ronan interesting. As it is, he wants to be a genocidal maniac “because tradition”. Even real world terrorists have more pragmatic goals and motivations.

        In any event, even with a difference of opinion as to whether or not Ronan is one dimensional, interesting or not, etc., I don’t accept that “a one dimensional villain is okay” defense for a sentient character. Give them a little humanity, a little relatability, and/or an interesting philosophy and you go a long ways to making all your scenes worthwhile but also adding weight and suspense to the film. One of the reasons that we’re satisfied with Loki not being killed off, is because he’s interesting. That opens doors and adds suspense. There wasn’t a moment I believed that Ronan would succeed or survive the film.

        re: Gamora
        Rocket and Groot are the last ones standing. Which is my point. Particularly, since I don’t know that we’re supposed to accept anyone, other than Gamora and Drax, as particularly great warriors. I’d call the Drax/Gamora confrontation a stand off, which Peter defuses.

        I think the roundtable is generally on board that she comes off as the least interesting of the GotG in this film, and I’m offering my insights as to why. I think there’s potential to shore up her character, unlike say Jar Jar Binks. There’s no reason that they can’t open the next film with a Gamora centric action scene, for instance, and focus a good chunk on her arc. Obviously, Chris Pratt is going to be one of the central characters, but he perhaps doesn’t have to carry as much of the load next time and that could benefit Gamora.

        I will agree that the there was a lot of exposition used to fill in all the characters, save for perhaps Quill. That’s kind of the limits of a brisk action ensemble piece like this. Generally it worked, although every once in a while it came off as clunky.

      • stock

        Thanos made a strong impression just being there, IMO, Robert. And I agree with Sean in the conclusion that he wasn’t particularly worried about Ronan. He’s above it all, and when he gets the Gauntlet, watch out.

      • texvor

        Come on Star trek had several tv shows and 12 movies to flesh most of their characters out. The Klingons and the vulcuns were rather one note until they were fleshed out in some of the movies and the klingons were fleshed out in the next generation. Prior to that they were one note villians. That took nearly30 years for them to do all that.
        To me Thanos was made more menacing having Ronan there. Rohan shouts and violently attacks one of his aides and Thanos doesn’t seem concerned. That says a lot about the character and indicates how powerful he is as well.
        And lets not forget Thanos will more likely have the infinity guantlet by the end of phase 3 which will make him a greater threat. So ronan’s defeat isn’t a big deal and bears no reflection on Thanos’s abilities.
        As for Rohan i thought his character and the Kree says alot about society and how they tolerate or deal with patriotic zealots. Because when you think about it Ronan is doing all this for the Kree and the fact they didn’t even condemn his actions would indicate that they suppport him which of course is all a zealot needs to keep doing what they doing especially if its a zealot with dangerous abilities. Why because its not doing them any harm unless it got to a situation where their intrests would i think the Kree would speak out against him..

      • Robert Reineke

        And in every episode of Star Trek featuring Klingons or Vulcans, Star Trek takes the effort to tell us what Klingons and Vulcans stand for. You can’t really miss that Klingons are stand ins for the Russians in the original series and yet the main Klingons still have individual goals and personalities. And, heck, pretty much every episode has Spock standing up for logic. When Star Trek VI used the Klingons, it explained who they were as well. You didn’t need to see a single episode to understand their motivations.

        Heck, Ronan is taking the Darth Vader role here, yet Vader is more fleshed out in Star Wars. We see his “Jedi mysticism” contrasted with the science based beliefs of the Death Star officers, for instance. Obi Wan gives us some insight to The Force, the light and dark sides, so we know what motivates him.

        It doesn’t take much. I knew nothing of The Force before Star Wars and nothing of Kree Traditions before GotG. After GotG, I still know nothing of Kree Traditions. Now, it’s very possible that it’s a conscious choice by James Gunn and Marvel and that some of that fleshing out ended up on the cutting room floor, but for me I felt that the Ronan scenes were there merely to move the plot along without much of anything else of interest.

      • texvor

        Nonsense. That isn’t even defined in star trek at all. All we know of them is that they are the opposite of the federation..THAT’S IT. Period. There is no individual charater plots or motives with any of the Klingon characters that appear in the original series and even some of the earlier films.

        We all know Thanos wanted to conquer Earth. Why? Because it was referred to at the mid credits of Avengers. What we don’t know is why or the importance of the stones. That’s all to come…just like an actual comic book. People say that they are comic book fans yet get frustrated when its not spelled out to them or not revealed all at once.

        And yes the scene of Thanos not doing thing to me was a character trait but a subtle one. I compare it to Palpatine myself. When Palpatine enters the room after being nominated Challencor he plays the humble and modest act that he was doing before. But what he does next reveals his character and Padme seems to act negative towards him. He sits down and says he will be chancellor in an over confident grin. Completly contradicting his act a few minutes before. And that’s when padme decides to leave and take the action forherself. The point is that in the next films we see this over confidence part of the character of Palpatine show in the following films to the point when it becomes his eventual downfall.

        Thanos has always been characterised as patient but also as a bit of a lunatic. The fact in the film he has a raving lunatic as Ronan serving him actually shows a lot of what he may be like as well as him not doing anything about it. Remember in the comics, Thanos is a god..niot some alien with great power. Sitting their in confidence in his chair shows how powerful he really is.Much like how Darkseid is often portrayed with his hands behind his back and not doing much..until forced too. Again Ronan shows more about Thanos character than the film showed. Because loking at the people who have served Thanos they have either been zealots or extremisits or on the verge of insanity. Its obvious in the Avengers that the Other is another zealot or devout follower and Loki is someone whose insecurities have driven him with hatred and insanity that he takes insane actions to prove a point to his brother. That to me is three zealots now that have served Thanos directly or indirectly.

      • Robert Reineke

        I’ll disagree, and say that the Klingon antagonists of Errand of Mercy, The Trouble With Tribbles, and Day of the Dove only have the fact that they’re working for the goals of the Klingon empire in common. And you didn’t need to be a professor of semiotics to get that the Klingons were a stand-in for the Soviets in the 60s series, which gives a lot of context to understanding them. There’s no context to understanding what “ancient Kree traditions” are and what Ronan is trying to uphold.

        As for Thanos, it would help if he was actually fearsome enough that people weren’t constantly failing or betraying him with no consequence. Loki failed him, no consequence. Ronan and Gamora betrayed him, no consequence. Nebula joined in with Ronan right away, no consequence. In contrast to Palpatine, Thanos commands no loyalty, either through fear or inspiration. None of that is unfixable, but if you’re unfamiliar with Thanos from the comics, you’re only being told that he’s a big deal to date, rather than being shown it.

        But, as I said, I expect that will change once Thanos gets out of his chair and does something.

      • Andrew Custer

        Robert, I have just one more thing I wanted to add about Thanos.
        I actually love that Loki, Gamora, and Ronan (maybe even more) betray Thanos and there are no immediate repercussions or even threats of repercussions. That’s how Thanos views things. I know I made this analogy before, but for Thanos, all these people are all his pawns and he is playing galactic chess. Does that make for compelling displays of badassery from the character? Absolutely not. Like you said though, he will get off that chair and when he does, I think most will look back on scenes like this and be more appreciative of his more calculating nature.

      • texvor

        And that’s when we will see some consequences. Loki is posing as Odin and Asgard has one of the stones so i wouldn’t be suprised to see asgard get taken out along with Odin. Whatever will happen Avengers 3 will more likely be the book end and not the start. So i think we should start seeing consequences being seen in all the films of phase 3.

      • texvor

        All you got from those episodes is the Klingons being very clearly one note villains. Nothing about who they were and what they were as characters.You knew they were the opposite to the federation but that was all. Also comparing various tv episodes to one movie where they only just introduced the characters is also a bit silly.

        But from what we see as the Kree and the fact they did nothing is kinda telling even if you aren’t clear about what they stand for yet. I suppose Marvel is expecting people to know this stuff.

        And again people need to use their brains. Movies don’t need to SPELL it out for you when subtly is also present.

        As for consequences…they all have had consequences. Why does Thanos need to punish them when they all were punished by the protagonists in one way or another? I don’t think we need to see consequences being paid even if Thanos was that type of charactr..which he isn’t in many cases.

      • Robert Reineke

        I’d argue that GotG didn’t just introduce the characters. There’s decades of comics to draw from. If Ronan is interesting and nuanced in the comics, the movie misrepresented that.

        We’ll agree to disagree about the Klingon villains in Star Trek. Yeah, none are great, but at least one is played for comedy, one is shown as being a tyrant, and one is shown as being ultimately reasonable. And all of them are shown as standing for something concrete and relatable, the Soviets. Something that pays off brilliantly in Star Trek VI. Nobody could have foreseen Star Trek VI in the 1960s, but by loosely tying the conception of the Klingons into something concrete and relatable they were able to take advantage of it later.

        The film Ronan is ultimately generic and disposable. Yeah, maybe the Kree can be made interesting in the future, but so far they’ve just had a cameo. I think GotG has benefited by not having to set much up for other films, but other films, that haven’t been made yet, shouldn’t be used to prop up this film.

      • texvor

        The reason is that Marvel doesn’t just see any of their films as one movie. We will probably see more of that when the characters appear down the line…just like we saw with Star trek. Ronan may be one note but he made at least an impact which is something a marvel villian hasn’t done in a while in these type of films. Thanos is just the slow build before the boiler goes off.

    • Andrew Custer

      Robert, I actually thought that Ronan wasn’t one dimensional myself. Certainly not three dimensional either, maybe two? His actions did have weight in the film. One example for me would be when he arrives at the Kyln as has the prisoners and guards slaughtered. I liked a few of the prisoners (the guy with one leg and the guy who lost his favorite knife) so I was sad to see them go. It definitely wasn’t earth shattering, but it spoke volumes of Ronan’s belief system that everything not abiding to ancient Kree law needs to go. The scene when Ronan is contacting Thanos and decides to keep the Infinity Gem for himself really worked for me because of his intensity (“you call me boy??!!”) and his desire to become more powerful than Thanos himself. It actually makes Thanos more menacing for me knowing that Ronan realizes that he would have to wield an Infinity Gem just to take on Thanos, who isn’t equipped with one presumably. Thanos doing nothing in response actually worked for me because why would he care that Ronan is going to use the gem to destroy Xander. He would let him do that and then come to him with the intent to kill him and then Thanos turns the tables, kills Ronan, and gets the gem for himself. Thanos isn’t the type to act rashly for the most part and always uses his resources and assets as pawns to achieve his goals. To me, he is simply playing a game of chess and decides to wait his opponent out.

  • texvor

    My opinion. This to me..sorry to say it…Marvel’s and James Gunn version of the Wizard of OZ. Its at least using the same template… Its the contast of the beginning of the movie to the rest of the film. The earth scenes is more harsh and more real. But once he is in space everything has vibrant colour. And the reality is that the hero is still a child living out a fantasy be it his fantasy of what he remembers about earth.
    Obviously its not portrayed like a dream as in the original Wizard of OZ but if any film has captured the contrast and finding out who you really are and what you can do like that original film classic..GotG has definatly done that in spades.

    • Robert Reineke

      I think the Wizard of Oz comparison is a good one. And the fact that there’s no return to normality speaks to the sense of wide eyed wonder that the film embodies.

  • Robert Reineke

    One of the things I really liked is that they showed restraint and didn’t include Star Wars jokes. Even their nod to Indiana Jones wasn’t explicitly underlined. There are many, many filmmakers that wouldn’t have been able to resist that low hanging fruit, but by denying themselves an easy crutch I think they made the whole film better, funnier, and more character driven.

    Also, I think GotG is the early frontrunner for a Best Makeup Oscar.

    • texvor

      Yes i agree. To be fair we have seen Marvel get a collective pool of talent and let them make their mark in the Marvel universe. If anything the DC side needs to copy this model which i’m sure they will. A head guy who is goiing to take their cinema verse in a particular direction but also letting various talents to do their thing for whatever characters they will use for the films.

      Which makes the whole Edgar Wright situation more baffling. If they let James Gunn do his own thing for GotG a property not many knew than what makes Ant Man different when that too is a character no one knows. And GotG ties in with Thanos who is a main character for phase 3. I wonder if Marvel has backed themselves into a flop on this one.

      Its no coincidence that the most successful marvel studio films have been the ones where the directors have been allowed to follow their vision. Iron Man, Iron Man 3, Avengers, Cap TWS and now GotG. As opposed to when Marvel heavily interferes like IM2 and THOR THE DARK WORLD.

      • Robert Reineke

        Yeah, and even THE INCREDIBLE HULK shows some heavy handed favoring of action over character moments. Clearly, Marvel isn’t a haven for auteurs to be granted absolute freedom, but movies where they’ve been light on the reins have certainly benefited. While, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that TIH, IM2, and THOR: TDW are my least favorites. Frankly, I flat out don’t like THOR: TDW.

        I think all of them lose sight of the story that they’re supposedly telling.

      • texvor

        Yes..TDW is uneven in my humble opinion…I thought THOR was weak but its better crafted than TDW is. I also thought the original warriors three in that film had better chemistry to the version we saw in that sequel. I really hope they get Thor right because its coasting along at the moment because of that actor’s portrayal of Loki.

  • Andy Bentley

    This is why I trust the “gentleman” as far as I can throw them. I loved this movie, yet I’m an objective enough of a fan to concede that the villains were the weakest part of the movie. Very few if any stories are flawless. You can love comic book movies. Love them to the point where you believe they’re the “modern myths” of America. But be objective enough to concede that they aren’t flawless.

  • Naes1984

    I saw it by myself and loved it. I took my parents to it; they loved it. This might be my favorite movie of the year and I liked it better than Captain America: TWS.

    Let me try to justify the dance-off. Peter needs to buy his friends a few seconds. He could try appealing to Ronan’s better nature (“This isn’t like you. This isn’t what your ancestors would want. Blah, Blah, Blah.”) This obviously wouldn’t work against a person like Ronan who is so filled with hate for the Nova Empire. He could have attempted to hustle him like he did with Yondu and appeal to pecuniary gain. Once again, Ronan doesn’t seem to care about money or deals or anything like that. He could try physically attacking him which Ronan could brush off like a fly. So Quill just does the craziest thing he can think of to buy his friends a few seconds. Would Ronan act so befuddled? I don’t know. Peter did step on his glorious moment while literally everyone else was cowering in fear. I imagine if the scene went on for 5 more seconds Ronan would have vaporized him. This craziness is fairly consistent with the comics, for example when he shows up at Prison 42 in the Negative Zone completely naked (except for a strategically placed helmet) to negotiate with the prisoners in issue #8 of the 2008 run.

    As far a Ronan being a one dimensional character, I’m not sure what else could have been done. I think if they really went into the history of the Kree and galactic conflicts, people would have complained about it bogging the movie down. Perhaps they could have shown him doing more evil/badass things but is that interesting? He can’t have a sense of humor. He can’t do the “they killed my wife and child” since Drax already has that. Part of the point is that he doesn’t have a good motivation; even his own society is uninterested in his crusade. They could have explored him being rejected or feeling like a relic even among the Kree; that could have brought some additional dimension to him. They could have maybe made him more clever or crafty but since everyone is already scared of him, he doesn’t need to be subtle. I would put him ahead of Malakith, Whiplash, Red Skull, Abomination, and Justin Hammer. Those are one dimensional characters too. I think he’s a fairly par-for-the-course mustache-twirler for Marvel Studios which is fine with me. He obviously doesn’t rise to the level of Loki but Loki is a uniquely charismatic bad guy at Marvel and he plays off a fairly uncharismatic hero.

    • Robert Reineke

      I hear that Ronan is actually an interesting character in the comics with a specific point of view. To me, that’s not taking advantage of the source material, and probably hundreds of little bits of characterization. Take a bit or two that’s short and relevant and use that to your advantage.

      In the film, they basically stopped at “zealot” as far as characterization. I think stopping there, whether in the script or on the cutting room floor, is the issue. Zealot isn’t a one size fits all category. There are religious zealots, political zealots, and racial zealots. Zealotry can be found in someone who follows a code of belief to the extreme. If you want to show Ronan as a religious zealot, you can change a set to be a chapel to comment on his character, for instance, without changing the substance of a scene.

      But, I think I’ve whipped this dead horse enough. Especially since you’d think I didn’t like the film, which is far from the case, if you only concentrated on my posts regarding Ronan.

  • pud333

    Just came back from the theatre, saw it in 2D. (I hate 3D). Some quick observations:

    – I didn’t know much about Guardians until I heard Bendis was writing the Marvel Now stuff. I love his All New X-Men, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I liked it, I thought it was good, but not great. That’s how I feel about this movie overall.

    The good:

    – Groot and Rocket were awesome. I really loved the sequence where the gang all fight each other the first time they see each other.
    – I was surprised at how small the movie was. That’s not to say it is bad, but I was expecting a space epic/opera, but instead I got quite a personal movie in space. In a way, it was surprising and good.
    – You have to admire a movie like this that spends millions on an opening sequence and has a character dance and lip synch through the title card.
    – I like the end battle a lot. I like the teamup with the Nova Corp and the Ravagers. I remember sitting through the end sequence thinking, “Now why the heck wasn’t Green Lantern like this?!?!”
    – Peter Quill was great and I bought into his pain. I bought into everyone’s pain except Gamora. More on her later.
    – Overall, I give the movie a solid B.

    The bad:

    – The humour, while fun, was too much. There were times when it took me completely out of the movie.
    – I was surprised at how small the movie was. While it was good in the heartfelt moments, I wanted an epic and I didn’t really get it. Still, it’s not a big knock against the movie; I’m just being picky.
    – Gamora was terrible. The actress that is. I thought they could have done a better job with casting. I never really liked that actress in any movie she’s ever been in. She brought nothing unique to the character. Frankly, any decent 20 something actress could have done that part.
    – Glenn Close’s acting was sorely wasted on a figurehead role. When a person like Glenn Close is hired, I expect more than just a paperthin character. They probably could have saved money and just hired a no-name to do that role.
    – Once again, Marvel produces a one dimensional moustache twirling villain. I found him neither menacing or intriguing. Thus the overall dread in the movie was lacking. There is no meat to any of these villains except Loki, and that’s due to the strength of the acting and less so on the writing. Thanos looks like another bore. I hope he’s written better later.

    Like I said before, good, but not great. And that seems to be the running theme with me and Marvel films. I haven’t seen Captain America 2 yet (kept meaning to but for some reason never got around to it) so I can’t comment on it, but I rate the movies from the Amazing: Avengers. To the good: GoTG, IM. To the passable: Thor 1+2 and The Hulk. To the terrible: IM2, Captain America 1st Avenger. To the “I have wasted 2 hrs of my life”: IM3.

    I like all the humour and colourfulness of these movies overall, but I find I need something more. It’s not enough to sustain me as a fan. I’ll definitely recommend this movie, but I probably won’t watch it again until it hits Netflix. I’ll watch Cap 2 once I can rent it.