15 November 2014 | bob the moo
Generally funny and entertaining, helping it get over the occasional more serious hump
A lot of articles have been written about just how many comic-book hero movies there are in the market and planned for the coming years; they talk about viewer fatigue and market saturation and other such terms. They perhaps have a point but it is hard to really pay it much mind when the genre produces films which are fun and entertaining. With its massive success and the fact that it comes with association to already successful franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy perhaps looks like an easy film, but I do wonder how much people were taking a risk when they greenlit a sci-fi film based on an pretty much unknown comic book series, with a lot of things that could potentially have been really silly; seeing Howard the Duck in here is also a reminder of how something that is quite cool in theory can fail to connect to the audience.
What makes it work though is that it is really light fun, easy to get lost in because you are laughing or smiling for the majority of it. It is at its best when the main characters are allowed to do their thing, with the best laughs coming from the banter between them (who would have thought that wrestler Bautista would have such great comic timing). The silliness is kept at bay by how tightly funny it is; it is sharp, daft, cool and engaging. The actors do well, with Pratt being charming fun, Saldana being more than just a figure, Cooper having a lot of presence with his voice, Bautista getting lots of laughs with his straight delivery, while Vin Diesel (who must have wondering if they were making fun of him with this casting) produces one of the most lovable characters with only a few lines of dialogue.
While the cast have good timing, it should also be said that the film does too – for example cutting away briefly during an action sequence for one line to get a good laugh. The film unfortunately is not quite as strong when it has more serious or narrative driven moments. The opening of the film is a good example of this, but it is just as relevant during more intense moments or serious 'franchise' moments, because it still needs to be a film. The mix just about works, and the laughs, fun and cool silliness carry it across moments where it has none of this.
It is not a work of art, and it is not as remarkable or brilliant as some would have you believe, but it is still very entertaining. In a genre filled with action-packed but overly serious films, or films that are just silly in a bad way, it is quite refreshing to be able to watch such a film, laugh all the way through it and come out having enjoyed it a lot for how well it balances, judges and delivers the humor consistently.