The MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE Knockout: Round 1 THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

Home Top Ad

Post Top Ad


Not a bunch of A-Holes.

It's time for the second match-up in Round 1 of our great Marvel Cinematic Universe movie knock-out. But first, a brief recap of the rules.

Each of the initial articles in Round 1 will focus on one character or team, like Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man or The Avengers, and we will look at all their solo Marvel Cinematic Universe films, with only the best release moving onto the next stage. Characters with only one solo movie outing, like Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange, get a pass through this round, but we won't go easy on them in Round 2 as they will be immediately pitted against each other, and if they don't match up to their opponent they're out of the running.

In the first bout we eliminated Iron Man 2 and 3, leaving the original 2008 offering, the debut movie in the MCU, to go forward to Round 2. Today it's the turn of the Guardians of the Galaxy. So far we've had two cinematic offerings from the alien superhero team, and, despite popular opinion favouring the original release as the superior volume, I believe it's a much tougher contest between the two as to decide which one them is the best.

Released in 2014 the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, retrospectively and from here on out referred to as Vol. 1, was quite a gamble for Marvel. Certainly the biggest dice they had rolled at the time. For one thing, the comic wasn't exactly that well known. The team had originally appeared in the funny pages back in 1969, and although they'd had a revamp in recent years and were gaining a small, dedicated following, you'd be hard pushed to find anyone outside of hard-core comic nerds who would know the names Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket and Groot.

Secondly, although Peter Quill/Star-Lord hails from Earth and is half-human, and Earth is briefly featured in the opening scenes of Vol 1, unlike every other Marvel film to date the action takes place entirely on alien planets. Sure, The Avengers had seen off an alien invasion and we'd had two Thor films, at that time, so had visited other planets like Asgard, but the threat was always, ultimately to the Planet Earth. Grounding all the superhero characters, even if one of them was, quite literally, a God! Would the wider audience connect with a talking tree and a foul -mouthed racoon?

Thirdly, Chris Pratt. It really wasn't that long ago when Pratt, now one of Hollywood's highest paid actors, was only really known for playing supporting characters, including immature, slob-like Andy Dwyer on the television series Parks and Recreation. Yes, he'd lost weight to portray fit characters in films such as Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty but no-one really saw him as leading man material, and he himself had given up ambitions to play the lead role in action films after humbling auditions for Star Trek and Avatar.

Lastly, behind the camera would be James Gunn. Now this wasn't exactly the biggest gamble because even though he'd only actually directed two low budget features before they were both brilliant genre films (2006's Slither and Super in 2010). Yet here he was with a budget of $230million, over than 100 times more than his previous film had cost to make. Surely the financial department must've been a little bit nervous?

OK, so it was announced that Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel would be in it. But they were only providing voices for CGI characters. Really, only Zoe Saldana, having already enjoyed success with Avatar and Star Trek (Sorry Chris), had any previous, proven form on the big-budget, big screen.

Guardians of the Galaxy had a lot going against it (and I haven't even mentioned untested wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista) but Marvel, having a knack at this point of connecting just the right director with just the right cast to create something quite amazing, hit the jackpot once again. Well, twice again so far. With a third coming up in a year or two.

But which of the two movies to date is the better and will move on to Round 2 of our MCU Knockout?

Both Vol 1 and Vol 2 are excellent. Both would easily feature in my top 10 Marvel Cinematic Universe releases. They are both funny, thrilling and full of heart. And the music. Oh! The music. What inspired choices throughout both volumes.

The popular vote seems to go to Vol 1. With aggregate reviews giving it 8.1 on IMDB, whereas Vol 2 scores 7.7. But that's not a huge difference really, is it? Yes, the spark of novelty that was so fresh in Vol 1 is missing from the sequel, but what replaces it is a sense of comfort, like being reunited with old friends. The cast, on screen, had fantastic charisma from the word go, but in the sequel they've settled into their roles so much more and can expand them with ease.

Story wise, the first is probably the stronger script, with the sense of danger and impending doom from Ronan the Destroyer being palpable throughout the third act. They really do earn their moniker of Guardians of the Galaxy with this story. Plus it's an important film for the MCU as a whole, thanks to the Infinity Stones and the children of Thanos. The sequel is focused more on family based scenarios, notably, the reconciliation of once-estranged sisters, Gamora and Nebula's, and Star-Lord's encounter with his father - the ambitious celestial being David Hasselhoff Ego.

From the words above alone you'd probably think I'd go for the first volume, right? But no, I actually, personally, prefer the second. 

Vol. 2 is a magnificent sequel, a perfect balance of action, story, character development and first class CGI. It's one of the few releases where you don't feel hard done by from paying out the extra to see it in 3D, because that adds a whole new depth (literally) to the film.

Vol 2 just draws you in right from the opening sequence, the battle over the title credits expertly sets the scene for everything that is to come. All the main characters are represented here perfectly. If you hadn't seen the first film this will tell you everything you need to know about the Guardians.

Mainly, it's just a damn entertaining film. One that'll make you laugh hard whilst having you on the edge of your seat throughout, leaving you happy and fulfilled. This is why it is my choice of the two and why it joins the first Iron Man film in Round 2 of our Marvel Cinematic Universe knockout.

Next time, it's Ant-Man.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad