Guardians of the Comedic Comic Book Movie

It feels like I might be the only one out there these days, but I don’t like comic book movies. I don’t even much care for comics. As a kid I was more into books. The comics I do remember having were mostly Disney-related, Ducktales I think (a woo hoo). They were okay I suppose, but the budding snob in little me wrote it off as kid’s stuff.

As I grew older, I never got into super hero movies, with one exception. I loved Batman, namely the old episodes of the Burt Ward and Adam West show that would run on cable late at night.  It was at this point in my life that I discovered two words I would learn to love: camp and kitsch. The on-screen “Ka-Blams!” and “Pows!” were great. The movie, which assembled all of the villains of Gotham on a submarine (yes, a submarine), was the most outrageously campy thing I’d ever seen and I loved every minute of it, especially the Bat Shark Repellent.

It took me a while to get into the Tim Burton Batmans, but by the time Joel Schumacher got his hands on the franchise for Batman Forever, I had caught up to the Batman curve, and, even though most people hated it, my friends and I loved it. After all, Chris O’Donnell. But in addition to our crush du jour, the movie, which is best remembered for the villains The Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two Face (Tommy Lee Jones) than Batman (Val Kilmer…yeah…).

Here’s where I’m going to lose you though. I would watch Batman Forever a hundred times over if offered the option between it and any of the Christopher Nolan movies, which I universally detest. They are just so damned serious.  Kids, he is a guy dressed up like a flying rodent. His peers include Bartok, Batty Koda, and Dracula. He’s not Hamlet. So why are we making these movies that are just so serious? Same goes for Daredevil, Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, X-Men, Thor, and the pensive Ang Lee-directed Incredible Hulk.

I just can’t take the severity. The fun of comic books to me has always been the camp and the irreverence, which is why The Avengers is just about the only super hero movie I’d abided by in the past five years—until Guardians of the Galaxy came around.  I had written off the move based on the trailer, telling my friends, “I just don’t think I can get behind a raccoon with a machine gun.”

I was wrong though. I fully support the machine gun, the raccoon, the talking tree, and every other absurd part of this movie. I don’t even care that the ending (mild spoiler alert) basically amounts to the Guardians linking arms and doing the Care Bear Stare.  Because this movie was what all the other comic book movies weren’t—It was a ton of fun.

Rather than blame the raccoon, he was really a great example of why this movie worked. The movie kind of openly acknowledges the story is stupid and doesn’t really matter. From the awesome title shot with a dancing Chris Pratt, you understand this is just supposed to be a romp that you don’t think too hard about.  In fact, if you start to think through some of the logic points, you’ll start getting annoyed cause some of them don’t make a ton of sense.

The only part of the movie that was a drag? All the stuff with Thanos, the villain of the next Avengers movie. Yes, the Marvel universe needs to keep raking in the millions, but this trans-film storytelling is effing obnoxious, especially if you are doing everything in your power to avoid it. 

So, if you’re on the fence about Guardians of the Galaxy, I encourage you to jump on over. As someone who hates comic book movies, and, as a result, hates most of the big blockbusters these days, I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised, I was genuinely giddy that finally these comic book movies are getting fun again.

Here’s hoping they keep it up…

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