Guardians of the Galaxy is a phenomenon.
Released just under two weeks ago in the USA, it has already taken in approximately $175 million domestically, with similar success overseas, it has taken everything we thought we knew about Marvel’s unarguably successful superhero films, all of which march to a reasonably similar formula, and turned it delightfully and chaotically on its head.
Defined by a stellar soundtrack full to bursting with classic ’70s tracks from the likes of Blue Swede, 10cc and Rupert Holmes, a mischievous sense of humour that parodies the superhero genre even as it pays homage to it (think of it as The Princess Bride of our time), gobsmackingly imaginative special effects and world-building, and a rip-roaringly fun performances by Christ Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper and even Glenn Close to name but a few, Guardians of the Galaxy is proof positive that you can enjoy your blockbuster thrills and spills without leaving your brain at the door.
It is a glorious giddy cosmic ride through a galaxy populated by megalomaniacal giant purple bad guys (Thanos, who we previously glimpsed in The Avengers), religious nutcases bend on genocidal revenge (Ronan the Accuser), a giant floating severed alien head being mined for its brain matter, and an advanced, beautifully laid-out civilisation (Nova Empire) that everyone who’s ever longed to live amongst the stars would want to call home.
In fact so much happens in the film that it is highly possible that many things were missed if you weren’t paying attention.
And so popular has this film become, one which appeals to a whole host of demographics, much like Star Wars and Avatar before it, that it is popping up literally everywhere on the internet, spawning clever fan art, homages to Chris Pratt who plays Peter Quill aka Star Lord and another of the Guardians Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), mash-ups with iconic comic strip Calvin and Hobbes, versions of its trailer in LEGO, and discussions on everything from its ending and post-credits scene to the costumes (awesome article by @mikeryan) to the music and everything inbetween.
So much has poured forth in fact that keeping up with it is becoming almost a full time, which is why I thought it a good idea to bring as much of it together as possible so the full scale of this most recent of pop culture phenomenons can be fully appreciated.
CHRIS PRATT IS THE KING OF THE INTERNET RIGHT NOW
Previously best known as the goofy Andy Dwyer on NBC’s long-running sitcom Parks and Recreation, all around nice guy and man destined to be a star, Chris Pratt has made the transition to buff, charming leading man looks ridiculously easy.
It doesn’t hurt of course that he is able to combine an everyone-loves-him fun-loving personality with knee-weakening good looks, a winning combination that will be on show again when Jurassic World, in which his charisma will no doubt once again be on full display, opens world wide in June 2015 and in the seventh and final season of Parks and Recreation, which debuts later this year.
His rapping skills put on full impressive display on The Whoolywood Shuffle radio show on SiriusXM Shade 45 where he flawlessly performed Eminem’s verse from “Forget About Dre” (video 1 directly below) and then had it set to music by YouTube user Treytech (video 2 via Laughing Squid) …
His status as a renaissance man who can braid womens’ hair, during an interview no less, rightly celebrated …
and his hosting skills brought to the fore as he leads everyone on a tour of the Milano (named after Pratt’s childhood crush Alyssa Milano), the bad ass, funky-as-hell spaceship his character flies in Guardians of the Galaxy (source: Mashable)…
Let’s face it, Chris Pratt can do wrong and should be in everything … Hollywood please see to it asap …
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY AND CALVIN and HOBBES ARE SOULMATES
One of the most charming and touching aspects of Guardians of the Galaxy is the friendship that exists between wise-crackin’, oneliner-quipping Rocket the Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and one-phrase-only, simultaneously sweet and tough Groot (Vin Diesel), who pretty much steal the hearts of everyone who watches the film.
The devoted bond between the two reminded of another wonderful relationship in pop culture-dom, but it wasn’t until I happened across a post on The Mary Sue, featuring a tweet by @saladinahmed which in turn featured the art of the immensely talented Adi Fitri who has absolutely, positively nailed the gorgeous dynamic between two of the Guardian of the Galaxy‘s most emotionally-affecting characters.
And I adored, just adored, the inspired text that accompanied the post on The Mary Sue, with kudos due to Dan Van Winkle for the impressive plays on favourite examples from the Calvin and Hobbes lexicon:
“Homicidal Psycho Jungle Foliage? The Days Are Just Packed (With A-Holes)? It’s a Magical Galaxy? That’s it, everybody. Pack it in and go back to bed. You cannot compete with this, so we might as well all just take the rest of the day off. This Guardians of the Galaxy/Calvin and Hobbes mashup fanart by Adi Fitri is the most perfect, life-affirming thing you will see on the Internet today. Truly, we are Groot.”
GROOT IS THE BEATING HEART OF GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
He may only ever say three words out loud (Rocket understands exactly what he means each time Groot opens his mouth) – “I am Groot” – but never have three words been invested with so much emotion, meaning and raw “humanity” as when this unassuming but fiercely loyal and immensely strong character does his thing.
As a result, while you love each and every one of these highly unorthodox Guardians, it is Groot that steals your heart, makes you laugh and induces “awwws” a thousand times over, as well occupying one of the most heartrending parts of the film.
In honour of his centrality to the attractiveness of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Vulture have rightly decided that Groot should be in every movie that has ever been and will be, and they created the posters to prove it.
Here’s one to give you some idea of their genius …
And a number of artists, from Etsy and beyond, have been inspired to create their own Groot-honouring art (source: Blastr):
GAMORA IS THE QUEEN OF THE GUARDIANS
Feisty and hotheaded, with a multitude of daddy issues to contend with, Gamora is a Zehoberi warrior who can more than look after herself, does not need a man to complete her – something which Peter Quill, self-considered ladies man extraordinaire, finds more than a little perplexing, and is integral to the success of the Guardians.
Dan Roth of Blastr has argued, and argued convincingly, that Gamora is the most important character in Guardians of the Galaxy, finishes off his piece with this call to Hollywood to fashion more characters in her kickass image:
“Is Gamora a perfect representation for all women everywhere? No. But that does not negate all the great and honorable things she does represent. It does not negate that she kicks a lot of ass, does what’s right, doesn’t have a problem with recognizing when a dumb guy still kinda cute, and can rock a cute skirt.
In short — Gamora is awesome and there ought to be more female characters like her in movies. Get on it, Hollywood.”
DRAX THE DESTROYER IS JUST A BIG OLD SOFTY … WELL, EVENTUALLY
Granted he starst off the movie as a billion kilograms (or so it seems as you take in this imposing wall of muscle of a man) of glowing blue skin and brilliant red tattoos but he is soon revealed as a man who is simply hurting over the death of his wife and child at the hands of Ronan the Accuser.
At heart, both he and the man who plays him ex-wrestlyer Dave Bautista, are honourable, lovely guys, with Bautista acquitting him with a great deal of warmth and fun in this interview for Moviefone (along with Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana):
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY IS AWESOME!
You may not have known you wanted the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy rendered in LEGO but trust me you do. It is, like everything else to do with LEGO, AWESOME.
And last but not least, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn, has penned a heartfelt note that he posted on his Facebook page, thanking everyone involved in the film for bringing it to life but also making it clear that it is much more than just a film for him:
“Thanks to all of you who saw (and are seeing) Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend, from the bottom of my heart. The Guardians are a group of oddballs, outcasts, and geeks. The movie is for anyone who ever felt cast aside, left out, or different. It’s for all of us who don’t belong. This movie belongs to you. And, today, I think we’re doing okay.”
You can read the full transcript of Gunn’s heartfelt, grateful and beautifully written post at Science Fiction.
Oh and while you’re waiting for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (due out in 2017), which James Gunn is already hard at work on, Film School Rejects have selected 13 films you should check out to keep you in a Guardians of the Galaxy frame of mind.