I was really on the fence about writing the words "The Best Marvel Movie So Far". I think most people would disagree with me. The Winter Soldier was such a better movie, they'd say. Many other people would ask what a Marvel Movie was. But I believe there are more than a handful of people out there who believe as I do:
Guardians of the Galaxy was a brilliant movie for Marvel to make, and the beginning of many more movies to come. Now, I can't tell you that Marvel has more movies planned (although they do have another Guardians movie scheduled for 2017). I can tell you what worked really well in this movie, and why they'd be crazy not to expand on the Marvel Cosmic Universe.
Oh, and in case you were wondering...
THE SUPERHERO COMEDY
All superhero movies explore humor to a degree. There's always something that's used to break the tension, however somber the subject. Even the somber tone of The Dark Knight had "Wanna see a magic trick?" And even though it had a much light mood, what would Iron Man be without Dummy?
In Guardians, we're introduced to an entirely new level of comedy, something I don't think has really been explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's sort of a goof-ball sort of comedy because, let's face it, space is silly. Aliens and distant worlds and races...that's all...silly...right? What works really well in Guardians is it makes fun of itself. It eases us into this brand new Marvel world, using humor to make the transition, and it does so seamlessly. By the end, the heroes stand fully revealed and loved, and the journey getting there is so much more enjoyable.
THE NON-ORIGIN STORY
The origin story has been the basis of comic book movies for a long time now. I can't tell you where it began, but Batman Begins and Spider-Man stand out in my mind. But I remember a little known movie called Batman (The Tim Burton version) that told a non-origin story. In fact, the real origin story in that movie was for the villain; the hero was already established.
Guardians of the Galaxy tells us the story in a similar way. The heroes, though we don't realize it at the time, are already active and moving around. Star-Lord, Rocket, Drax, Gamora, and even Groot all have origin stories to tell, but they've been pushed to the side. We hear a little about each of their individual stories, but for the most part, the origin takes a back seat. Why? Because the characters themselves are exactly what they need to be. We don't need to know their origins to see them as heroes. Their actions speak for them.
THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE
Not only has the MCU grown in size with Guardians of the Galaxy, it's grown in scope. Guardians introduced something many of us diehard fans knew was coming, the Infinity Stones. They've been hinted at in other Marvel movies, and verified by producers and directors, but never officially named. The Tesseract, the Aether, even perhaps, Loki's staff from The Avengers, all are potential or official Infinity Stones.
Now, with Guardians, they're out there and they're real. The softest Marvel movie fan will soon know the power of the Infinity Stones. For people who don't know, in the comics, there are six Infinity Stones, each holding focused powers, but when combined into the Infinity Gauntlet, allows the wearer to possess power over the entire universe. One of the most notable uses of the Infinity Gauntlet came from Thanos (another Guardians characters) when he used it to wipe out half of the universe's sentient life.
Will we get to see this happen? It certainly appears that Marvel is building to a confrontation between its big players and Thanos, using the Infinity Stones as the lure.
There's not a lot more I can say about Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a great movie, telling the story of a bunch of losers trying to not be total dicks. It's also an awesome piece to the greater movie Marvel is trying to tell.
Video Games, Comics, Movies, and Books. I'll talk about it all, and I'll tell you why it's so awesome!