Directed by: James Gunn. I’d better get my goggles and riot shield ready, before the inevitable onslaught of rotten vegetables comes at me from all of my friends and colleagues and seemingly everyone else on the planet with a pulse who went within 5 miles of this movie and immediately declared it “The Best Superhero Movie I’ve Ever Seen”, or “The Best Movie of 2014 Period”, or even “One of the Best Movies I’ve Ever Seen In My Life.” Here we go, are you ready?…It was just some dumb superhero movie. No more, no less. It was kind of funny, but not that funny; kind of a fresh take on the superhero thing, but not that much of a fresh take on anything. And mostly…just another dumb superhero movie.
So there’s that. I guess I’m really just officially not that into the superhero thing anymore. But that’s not even it—I’m still watching these things (as you can see), and I’m still following the dictates of my inner-14-year-old, my teenaged self who spent many years and many dollars (good Lord! so many dollars) on comic books. This golden age of superhero movies is what my 14-year-old self would have prayed and prayed for. But now that it’s here, I’m not 14, I’m 28, and my sensibilities are slightly…different (careful to not be pretentious and insinuate that my consumption of culture has progressed or matured in the normal process of growth and maturation, it’s just…different) from what they were in 1999. I mean, who am I to say that a talking cartoon raccoon flying a space ship to a soundtrack of ironic, cheesy, 70’s pop hits isn’t one of the crowning achievements of cinema as an art form, higher than both Kill Bills, both Sin City‘s, and Boondock Saints combined?
I know, I know, I’m just being an old curmudgeon, I’m dismissing it because it’s “Just a Superhero Movie.” But really, I’m just offering a bit of balance to the overwhelming reviews this thing got. And, you’ll notice from my other posts, I’m sensing a trend with these movies. I heard it about Avengers, the last X-Men movie, the last Captain America movie, and this one: that it’s actually a really great, exceptional example of the superhero genre, a real step up in the medium, a really fresh take on the form. And, like all those other ones, what I saw was just another pretty okay, less than remarkable, less than mindblowing, passable attempt at a superhero movie. In other words: lots of CGI, lots of explosions, some heavy comic-nerd shit that will play into the continuity of the other Marvel movies in its behemoth commercial enterprise, and, in this case, a few extra notches towards absurd humour and genre-inappropriate music that basically makes this a parody of a superhero movie that’s also a straight-faced example of a superhero movie. To that extent, this movie is kind of interesting as an example of how the culture is handling postmodernism these days, how much more self-referential and Robert Ray-ish it can get. I’ll file that away for later. But as a piece of diverting cinema, it was fully enjoyable, totally fine, totally normal, a few laughs, nothing amazing. In other words: just like every other one of these things. Now, if everyone’s done having a stroke, I’ll move along to my year-end list.