I Am Groot

Guardians of the Galaxy – While I’ve never been someone who followed comics, there have been some pretty good comic-based movies released recently, and I tend to be on the hunt for more. When I found this one featured a raccoon and a tree in space, I was pretty much sold on it. It took me a while to get around to seeing it, but I’m glad I was able to watch it in a theater. As far as the source material goes, the title was originally used for a comic series in the 1960s, but has more recently been revived with a new set of heroes, and it’s the later incarnation on which the movie is based. The members were all previously existing Marvel characters who presumably showed promise, but who just weren’t making it on their own. Groot was actually originally an alien invader who had a vocabulary of more than just three words, but was retconned into being a noble sentient tree from Planet X.

Rocket Raccoon, named after the Beatles song “Rocky Raccoon” and called that in his first appearance, is a bad-ass, wisecracking, genetically modified raccoon.

The leader of the team is Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord (at least to himself), whose first name makes me wonder why there would be two Marvel heroes called Peter. The very beginning of the movie shows him watching his mother die of cancer. The feel-good film of the summer, ladies and gentlemen! On the same day, he’s abducted by alien thieves under the leadership of Yondu Udonta, who based on his voice is presumably from Space Louisiana.

Twenty-six years later, Quill is seen on a planet said to be uninhabited despite the fact that several animals seem to be native to it, trying to retrieve a mystical orb for money. The villains of the film, the genocidal maniac Ronan and the god-like being Thanos, desire the orb for its power.

Gamora, a green-skinned adoptive daughter of Thanos who deflects, also wants the orb; and Rocket and Groot are seeking Quill for the price on his head.

When all four of them are thrown into prison, they form an alliance that’s uneasy at first, but gradually grows into a genuine friendship. Also joining the team is a huge, vengeful, heavily tattooed guy named Kratos…er, I mean, Drax the Destroyer.

What follows is an adventure full of action, humor, and sympathetic characterizations. Most of the Guardians are self-centered jerks at first, but they come to learn what’s truly important in life, only in a way that’s much less sappy than I just made it sound. Most of the characters also bring their own sorts of humor, most of Drax’s coming from the fact that he doesn’t understand the concept of metaphor. Considering this, I thought they missed a beat when Quill was giving his pep talk and said that it was their chance to “give a shit,” with no confused response from Drax. One thing I did wonder was why the galaxy seems to be populated almost entirely by humanoids. It’s not like they were severely limited by the effects budget like with early Star Trek. The characters came from comics, where the artists could draw literally anything; and the way Rocket and Groot were rendered made it clear that they could make realistic inhuman characters. Maybe it just comes back to the common idea that humans can better identify with characters who are mostly human themselves.

Apparently they were considering not even putting Rocket in the movie, and I’m hoping that the film’s success will mean more non-human heroes in the future. There were several aliens who were mostly distinguished from Earth people by having blue skin, yet they presumably weren’t all the same species. If the movie is sticking with what Wikipedia says about the characters, Ronan and Kruath are Kree from the Large Magellanic Cloud, Yondu a Centaurian, and Nebula a Luphomoid. To sum it up, you don’t have to be from the galaxy to enjoy this film.

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6 Responses to I Am Groot

  1. Joe says:

    This was a great movie that deserves all the box-office and acclaim it’s been getting! Very much looking forward to it’s blu-ray release and sequels. Rocket and Groot=best comic duo in years!

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