DISCLAIMER: I tried not to have any spoilers. However, read at your own risk.
Thanks to a generous friend, I was able to attend an advanced showing of Guardians of the Galaxy. It was the 3D version in one of those premium theaters with highly touted sound and projection quality. Guardians of the Galaxy was the last must see film I had lined up this summer, and I was afraid I was going to miss it due to my continuing lack of funds. So, thanks for the ticket Hudson.
Now that the sappy shit’s out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks. I went into this movie with fairly high expectations. The trailers had done good job of presenting the feel of the film with their excellent comedy. I was worried that all the best parts may have been used for the trailer, but luckily that was not a problem. Oddly the scene that the trailer was based on was not quite as good in the film. But the film had the entire theater laughing regularly enough that I didn’t feel gypped. While I enjoyed the comedy in the film immensely, I am slightly worried that it will not stand up well to subsequent viewings. It feels like it might have been a little heavy handed. But hey, I was laughing and that’s the point right?
Besides comedy, the trailers implied that there might maybe be some kind of action. Since they named the talking raccoon Rocket, there were really only two ways this action could go down violence or racing. Despite Vin Diesel’s involvement, there were no drag races…not even any drifting. That leaves us with violence. I’m of two minds about the action sequences in Guardians of the Galaxy. Actually… while writing this and reviewing the fight scenes in my head I find that is not actually true. At first I was going to say that there were no great set pieces, but then I realized that the set were never supposed to be the ones leading up to the climax of the film. Instead, they were the ones that open the film. The fight scenes that establish who these characters are and how they interact were excellent. They stand out and are spectacular and a whole mess of fun. The fights at the end of the film were fine, but they did not maintain the pure joy of the earlier ones. So, these fights I’ve been talking about were not the only action in the film. There were also several really good dogfights. And they looked freaking fantastic in 3D.
This brings me to my next talking point, THE THIRD DIMENSION! (Now in convenient 2D packaging) Unlike The Winter Soldier I have not had the opportunity to see GotG in both 2D and 3D versions. (Cut me some slack, it hasn’t even officially released yet.) Therefore, I can’t directly compare the two. However, I will say this the third dimension felt good on this movie. There was a sequence early on in the film that reminded me of Captain Eo without the creepy muppets…or the creepy Michael Jackson, and the 3D helped make it work. As I just mentioned, the dogfights looked phenomenal in the 3D. Oddly enough, this film had more than a few scenes were something lunged towards the foreground which I traditionally hate. Even though one of those did make me jump, I noticed something. The 3D was mostly being used to give depth of field, and when the characters leaped toward the camera they were going from the middle ground to the foreground. Not actually popping of the screen, at least most of the time. It’s the reaching out at the audience that always made 3D feel like a gimmick. I am really starting to come around to the post-Avatar world, where 3D is used to give film depth and character instead of gimmicky schlock.
So, what else is there to say… the violence in the film seemed a little extreme for a Disney backed comic book film especially one advertised as so lighthearted, but it simply made generous use of the range of content covered in a PG-13 rating. Oddly enough, I can’t tell you to wait at the end for the standard Marvel post-credit scene, because I waited until the projector cut off and didn’t see one. However, since this was an advanced showing, it is possible that they cut that to try to hold back spoilers until it releases proper. If I was you, I’d wait to be sure. All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy has action and comedy in spades, and you should really consider seeing it in 3D. This film had a lot of heart, and really reminds you that comics were once called funny-books for a reason.