The new Marvel Studios movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, was released on August 1.  My wife and I have now watched the movie three times.  According to my iTunes counter, I have listened to the soundtrack about 35 times through fully.  However, that number is way low because I would restart a song with a few seconds left which does not affect the counter.  My estimate is closer to 60 times.  The soundtrack has risen atop the Billboard charts over the past few weeks and for good reason!  The music really navigates the film.  Who knows, maybe we will have a Album review soon!

I was very much looking forward to this movie because of the allusions to Star Wars and Serenity.  In fact, this was probably the movie I was most looking forward to during the summer.  I had super high expectations for this movie.  It exceeded my expectations.

After the first viewing, my wife and I were definitely against having our daughter watch this movie.  After the second viewing we were still a little wary, but after talking to a couple of other parents, we decided to take her.  She loved it.

Why were we originally against taking our daughter to this movie?  Well, the language is abundant.  We still teach her to use her words carefully, and the attitude of the movie goes against that – not just in the “bad” words, but also in that it is very self-serving. When Peter Quill is trying to impress Gamora who gives him a compliment, he responds, “I would never say that about myself.  Others say it all the time.”  Rocket is a very blunt character who says pretty horrible things. Funny, but horrible. At this point, the only phrase my daughter has repeated is “I Am Groot!” So far, so good.

Read the plot analysis on one of the other blogs. Guardians of the Galaxy may very well be the best comic book movie out there. The only other movie to come close is The Dark Knight. Avengers is great but takes a long time to move forward and relies on a group of heroes (and villain) that you already know. Guardians doesn’t expect you to know anything going in and tells a compelling story about a group of criminals who decide to do something good for once.

Guardians is only like Star Wars or Serenity as much as they are like Star Trek. Sure, there are similarities, but they are completely different. All of the Guardians are criminals, be they thieves, assassins, fountain drinkers or killers. They are not criminals because they are “rebels” or “browncoats”, they are actual felons.

Unlike Luke, Mal, and Kirk, there is no recognized leader of the Guardians until they actually take the name Guardians of the Galaxy. Star Lord eventually takes the helm, but Rocket keeps the group together more than other character up to that point.

One of the running jokes throughout the movie is that each of our anti-heroes are in it only for themselves (with Rocket and Groot the only ones who have a pre-existing friendship). Star-Lord is in it for infamy and riches while Gamora is looking for freedom and anonymity. Rocket and Groot look to pile in the dough while Drax is bloodthirsty for revenge. No one is really noble in the first 2/3 if the movie as they all do selfish things that hinder others in the “group” and the plans they have.

Finally, Guardians is a really dark movie filled with humor to protect us from how dire the movie really is. Death is always knocking on the door for certain individuals. The cost of sacrifice is shown several times over. Even supposed selflessness gets bogged down in pride.

The key line of the movie comes from Quill who finally tries to lead this mod squad by saying, “I look around at us and you know what I see?  Losers…  Usually life takes more than it gives.  And today it’s given us something.  It’s given us a chance.” This resonates with me because few of us get to choose who we work with, especially if you work for a big company. It is very possible to be annoyed with who you have to work with because they all seem to be losers.

But maybe it’s time to work together and see how our strengths intersect. Too often we compete and put our selfish desires above others. We fight, whine, and complain about how life is not fair! We need to suck it up and work toward a common goal with our current group. Sure, Dream Teams can work and when championships – that’s what stacking the deck leads to. But how many of us can win with the staff we already have?

I believe that the story Guardians of the Galaxy is trying to convey is one of choice. No matter our background and no matter our co-workers we can choose to collaborate and move forward. It’s costly when we get a chance to do something, but it is usually worth it in the end.

5 stars out of 5 stars.

Not really kid friendly, but maybe preview it first before bringing any child under 13.

My current #1 comic book movie.

Should you go see this movie in the theaters?

As Rocket says, “Oh… Yeah!”