Guardians of the Galaxy, a game-changer for fantasy-genre movies

The heroes of Guardians of the Galaxy hit a point around the beginning of the third act where they realize while they are lazy, selfish people, they have the ability to come together and achieve something greater than themselves.

From a studio that has also become both lazy and selfish when it comes to story and energy, Marvel finally allows itself to be weird and embrace what has to be unlike any other blockbuster this year.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie steeped in nostalgia, but unlike the other movies that have dominated the summer in the past few years, it is a movie that uses that nostalgia to create new memories with a movie that exerts originality and energy and could be the leading precedent for future nostalgia in Hollywood.

Led by up-and-coming star Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy follows the group of criminals as they come together to try to save the galaxy from destruction at the hands of Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). The eclectic team includes Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper).

Writer/director James Gunn builds the film in his own vision with a weirdness that seems unusual for a Marvel movie. Once you are thrust into this intergalactic world, there is never a need to explain why you’re there or why things are the way they are. Reminiscent of the original Star Wars trilogy, Guardians of the Galaxy asks you to ask the world that they live in, and when you do that, you enter something new and bizarre, but also a lot of fun.

Pratt emits young Harrison Ford vibes as the lead, but it is the smallest member Rocket Raccoon that is the Han Solo of this film. What separates Guardians from the rest is that it understands what it is and never steers away from it. Much like the classic Star Wars films, it allows the characters to grow while still progressing the story along.

If there is a downside to the film, and there is, it has to be with yet another cliche and boring score. Tyler Bates dives into some creativity, but the score never grows outside of what Marvel has been churning out since day one. Lucky for it, in this case, the soundtrack is the best of the year so far and the 80s nostalgic vibe molds the oddball, instant classic vibe the film is going for.

Guardians of the Galaxy is something different in Hollywood. Instead of trying to milk our nostalgia by just showing us what we want and leaving it at that, it tries to create new moments that we will be nostalgic about years from now. It is fantastic to see a Star Wars-like movie that has the energy of the original trilogy, and makes us forget, for a minute, that the prequels happened.

Nostalgia drives Hollywood, but movies like Guardians of the Galaxy are changing the game and saying that the present offers just as much fantastic entertainment.


Zach Dennis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he studied Journalism/Electronic Media and Cinema Studies.