Thursday, September 4, 2014

Galaxy, Prepare to Be Guarded

     In a summer filled with blockbusters that bloomed with explosions and were peopled by characters that failed to burst from the second dimension, who would have expected the most enjoyable film of the summer to be . . . a blockbuster?
     Guardians of the Galaxy must be Marvel's most sheerly delightful movie to date and that comes down to something rather unexpected: the prominence of authorial voice.  Few of the previous Marvel outings, no matter how enjoyable they were, were particularly notable for the power of a single filmmaker's vision behind them (maybe Sam Raimi's Spider-Man and Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger would be exceptions).  Even The Avengers, which had one of our great pop storytellers behind it, was still clearly powered by a certain degree of corporate synergy.  But from it's subversive penchant to undercut heroic stereotypes and imagery, to its quick-witted dialog (delivered by some truly charming performers), to its soundtrack, everything about James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy felt like it was spun from a singular vision.  And so, from the most unlikely of places, do we witness the power of the artist.  Kudos must also go to Marvel for putting a very obscure property into the hands of a relatively untested filmmaker.
     A quick honorable mention must also go to Lucy, which is an action movie devoted as wholeheartedly to ideas as to thrills, featuring as unlikely (and lovely) a climax as you are ever likely to see in such a film. 

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