I don’t read comics.
I wish I did, but the sheer amount of any singular property I’d be interested in getting into is overwhelming. I don’t know where to start, so I don’t. Why should I, when a movie will eventually come along to tell me the story?
So when I heard that my boo Chris Pratt, whose praises I sing every week in my Parks and Rec recaps, was cast as some hero named Star Lord in some Marvel movie called Guardians of the Galaxy, I was 1 part confused and 3 parts totally delighted anyway. Thor knows what I’m talking about.
Now it’s August 2014 and my iPhone lock screen is Groot fan-art. Awesome Mix #1 has replaced all other gym playlists for the time being. I’m sourcing burgundy jackets and old-school Walkmans for cosplay reasons. And Guardians can boast a record-breaking $94 million+ opening weekend, made up mostly of people like me: people who have little to no familiarity with the source material, but saw a machine-gun-wielding raccoon in the trailer and thought, “I can work with this.”
We may have failed on electing a Song of the Summer (I refuse to accept “Fancy”), but everything about Guardians screams escapism and swagger and color and fun. Can our Song of the Summer be a movie? Or at the very least, Blue Swede’s “Hooked On A Feeling”?
And now that song will be running through your head for the next three days, minimum. Consider it a soundtrack to this post, a comprehensive list of all the times we overreacted during Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Interstellar Trailer
Come and get your Oscar nomination, Chris Nolan.
It wasn’t all a cruel trick! Chris Pratt is IN this movie. And he’s DANCING.
Guardians opens with a Star Wars-esque teaser. We see a masked traveler wandering a mysterious landscape and we wonder what or who he’s looking for until he puts on some headphones, presses play, and oh my god, who cares what he’s trying to find, he’s dancing. And not only do we get to enjoy Chris Pratt gettin’ it to Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” over the opening credits, but we also get what kind of movie this is. Sure, Guardians has a plot. But it’s almost besides the point.
Burt Macklin, is that you?
The only thing better than the way Chris Pratt looks after training for six months to be a Marvel hero is the way he refusing to fetishize that lifestyle. The man wants to eat and lay around and be disgusting, just like the rest of us. And we love him no matter where he is on the Andy Dwyer to Star Lord spectrum. Still, let’s give his misery some meaning and appreciate this version while we’ve got it.
Karen Gillan is a total badass.
Kazza famously shaved her luxurious ginger locks for this part, and I would wager that it helped her find this character. Nebula is a villain of few words, but plenty of action. Despite essentially serving as the muscle for her adoptive father, she’s nobody’s errand girl. (Also, she’s alive! See you in the sequel, you terrifying, gorgeous blue lady.) And knowing how bubbly and gangly she is in real life, we appreciated Karen’s commitment to Nebula’s no-nonsense brand of doing what she had to do. Bitches get stuff done.
Everything is Groot and everything hurts.
A Groot bot tweeted at me yesterday and I almost started to cry. I’m that invested.
We don’t get much history on Groot when he’s introduced, so it’s a pleasure (and a constant feels assault) to have his character unfold throughout the movie. (I’m using male pronouns because he’s played by Vin Diesel, thought I don’t know if Groot is even gendered.) This isn’t a team of superheroes, just beings who have learned or trained or, in Gamora’s case, been trained against their will. But Groot is magical. He can create light. He can create life. And he won’t stop giving until there’s nothing left. Don’t look at me.
Of course there’s fan art of Groot as the Giving Tree and I’ll take that book for real now please.
You want Groot on your team, even if he’s not the brightest. While the rest of the Guardians have to learn the friendship thing the hard way, Groot has it living in himself the whole time. Rocket thinks they’re pal-ing around the galaxy because they can make more units together. But what would a groot even need money for? (Is his race called groots? Is he the smurf of the Marvel universe?) Groot is with Rocket because he loves him; Rocket is his friend. He gets it, even if no one else does. Also, if I see any Rocket/Groot fic anywhere, I’m taking you all down.
Look at that face! I’m in awe of the creative team that gave this GIANT TREE such an empathetic presence. He’s the heart of this whole enterprise. He is Groot. We are Groot. Or at least we should try to be.
Oh Christ, there he is again! My life is split up into two sections: before Dancing Baby Groot and after Dancing Baby Groot. That scene was a formative moment. And judging from the happy tears that were a-flowing in my row at the AMC 84 Street 6, I’m not alone. DANCING BABY GROOT.
BRB, sobbing over a genetically engineered talking raccoon and his best friend, a giant tree.
I was straining the entire movie to hear Bradley Cooper in Bradley Cooper’s Rocket. I got nothin’.
The Marvel universe has given us many a relatable cinematic hero over the last several years, but mostly of the human persuasion. We don’t even need The Hulk to make us feel things because we’ve got Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, Guardians is like, “Here, come experience an existential crisis through a CGI raccoon.”
You can enjoy Rocket on a surface level; he’s caustic and irreverent and super duper cute. But you can also unpack him, if you like. Think about it. He hangs out with an almost language-less creature because he doesn’t want anyone reflecting him back to himself. Yet Groot still manages to get inside him. (Seriously, I’m warning you again about the fic.) As if Groot’s sacrifice wasn’t heartbreaking enough, we get Rocket’s reaction to it, when he realizes that all attempts to shut emotion out have failed. You cried too, admit it.
Hey there, Merle!
Michael Rooker sounded so Merle Dixon in this part, I half expected him to call Peter “baby brother” instead of “boy.”
HOW IS THIS LEE PACE?
Between The Hobbit and this movie, Lee Pace is all about that chameleon thing. He’s a tall, handsome dude who has always chosen interesting work. Think of all the shitty Handsome Guy roles he must have sidestepped after Pushing Daisies.
Anyway, his Ronan was totes scary, especially since I couldn’t remember who was under all that blue and black paint. The scene where he’s ceremonially dressed was one of my favorites, aesthetically. Though overall, his finest moment may have been his perplexed reaction to Peter’s last ditch distraction efforts. More on that later.
Finally, someone who understands the concept of metaphor even less than Augustus Waters.
Dave Bautista is a wrestler by trade, not an actor. But man, did he ever kill the delivery on Drax’s totally straight-forward material. He’s the perfect foil for a quippy bunch who are way too used to speaking in sassy comebacks.
Zoe Saldana, our sci-fi franchise queen.
Zoe Saldana never met a hot, lady alien she didn’t like and she just defended her Crossroads co-star Britney Spears in the press, so she gets the Head Over Feels seal of approval.
The greatest legend of our times.
I haven’t felt this emotionally connected to a group of jackasses since the series 7 Doctor Who cast went to San Diego Comic Con.
The Guardians are like an interstellar Breakfast Club, and who among us hasn’t fallen for a group of lovable misfits?
HE’S DANCING AGAIN.
Peter Quill is a hero who will best the enemy by approximating some of Michael Jackson’s best moves and that’s why Chris Pratt was such an inspired choice to play him. He’s the smart-ass leading man we need and deserve. He can look like a boss flying a spaceship one moment and gleefully yell “They got my dick message!” the next. He can make a Jackson Pollack/blacklight/jizz joke without it feeling creepy. (I laughed so hard at that, I actually had to force myself to stop.) And now all of a sudden Vulture is posting his yearbook pictures and my entire newsfeed is him braiding hair and rapping old Eminem tracks and I’m like, I’VE BEEN TELLING YOU GUYS THIS FOR YEARS.
That’s Seth Green in the post-credits scene as motherfucking Howard the Duck and one guy in my theater got so jazzed about it that he screamed.
In conclusion, Andy Dwyer is a big, fat movie star.
Next stop: Jurassic World.
What did you think of Guardians, readers? Were you as a-flail as we were? Let us know in the comments and stay Groot.