Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy!
This movie is awesome. Now, I'm a big adherent to the maxim of "It's okay to like problematic things" because, being a geeky woman who specializes in Gothic and 18th-century British Literature, from a 21st-century and personal perspective, nearly everything is problematic. It's not a question of "if," but "how much" and whether whatever it is exceeds its problematic content by enough for me to put it aside. There were some problematic issues in GotG, I can't lie. Every now and then, I'd be going along and totally into it, and then there'd be some oddly wrong note that made me stop and go "What did you just say?" and then things would move on and it wouldn't be repeated, for the most part. But the fact that they were random and fairly rare rather than constant is a big thing, and I'm willing to forgive it a lot for that.
Things GotG did right:
Attitude: Yes, there's an "everyone grows up just a little" character arc for everyone. Yes, it's juvenile at times. But overall, there's a glorious straightforward genuineness about the camp and the space and the costumes and the everything that hasn't been seen in movies in some time, especially not genre movies. I had to love it for that.
Music: I really hate a lot of 70s music, but it was perfect and diagetic and really, really nifty despite my initial impressions.
Visuals: Everything that was supposed to be bright was glorious and four-color, and everything that was supposed to be dark and brooding was exactly that. Totally on point, all the way.
Acting: My lord, everyone was just on their game, and willing to be subtle with the funny as they played it completely straight. Expertly cast and executed. I was happily surprised.
Writing: I've seen people complain that it's a simplistic plot, or that Marvel's loving their MacGuffins a bit too much. To which I say... well, have you read comics? I think the writing was spot on for what the movie wanted to be, and that's all I ask from it.
And now, let's talk about Gamora.
She's not the only woman in the movie, but she's the only one we really care about (well, some of us might care about Nebula. And some of us might care briefly about the Collector's slave, but neither of them get a ton of screen time -- and no one cares about Glenn Close's character, regardless of the quality of her representation of good-guy-authority). I am not sure I love Gamora more than Black Widow (the only other comparable character in the Marvel movies thus far). Then again, Black Widow's been in a number of movies, and this is Gamora's first outing. I certainly like her portrayal far more in this than I did BW's in Iron Man 2.
The film passes the Bechdel test, if only barely, but that's really neither here nor there. We've got a strong, smart, independent woman who ends up joining because it suits her plans, not because of an existing relationship with the male lead (and hints at that relationship place it far more on his end than hers, and aren't automatically reciprocated, and don't end with them in bed). She finds family, which is what she wanted even if she didn't know it. Her parents were killed, but everyone's got family issues in this group -- and rape wasn't a part of her backstory. She kicks a lot of butt, and does so pretty much on her own at least part of the time. She is a bad ass in her own right, and although I would have liked her to get a bit more screentime overall, this was not a full ensemble piece and she seems to have gotten about as much as everyone else did. She did get damseled, which irks me, and the whole issue of her in the bounty hunters when she should have been able to take any number of them is... troubling. Also Drax's description of her as a whore -- totally uncalled for given the rest of the script and plot, and just completely out of nowhere. But overall... I'm willing to take the small victory that we know Drax is wrong and, as an audience, we react to it.
In regards to my sensory stuff, I found myself almost overwhelmed by low-frequency noises a couple of times, but in both cases it ended before my reactions got really bad. That was it, though -- and for a movie set in space, that's awesome.
tl;dr: I really enjoyed this movie, and I'm absolutely going to purchase it when it comes out on DVD (or maybe a bit after, so the price can drop, because grad school). It's well worth going to, and it was a ton of fun to see.