It’s difficult to talk about this movie without at least mentioning the way that it was crafted. With many other ensemble superhero films, audiences may be completely unfamiliar with the majority of the characters before going to see the movie, having had no reference material to understand the characters' motivations and general behavior. The Avengers, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, did a very good job at introducing you to the characters in the film before it even came out, familiarizing audiences and skipping over the need for slow exposition. Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk all had stand-alone movies before the releases of The Avengers, which fleshed-out the backstories of the characters and clued audiences in to their character traits. Though some may consider this homework, having to watch four other films before they can see this one, I feel as though it’s a clever way of making an ensemble movie with character depth without having to bog the movie down with tons of expository dialogue.
That’s not to say that The Avengers is difficult to follow if you haven’t seen other MCU movies. The plot is a fairly standard “bad guy wants a powerful thing to destroy the world” kind of deal, with a lot of flashy and fun action. But the chemistry between the superhero characters, who spend much of their time exchanging witty banter, makes much more sense and feels more organic to those who have seen the other movies in the canon. That depth is what makes a pretty standard superhero action movie feel more interesting. The characters work off of each other very well, thanks in part to the audience not having to learn about how they act before it gets to the fun stuff. Overall, The Avengers is a good superhero movie that was propelled to greatness through the excellent way that Marvel handled its build-up.
Guardians of the Galaxy
What makes Guardians such a great film is that it doesn’t really feel like a superhero movie, but more along the lines of a science-fiction comedy. The movie seems to address the biggest issue that many have had with films in the MCU, feeling tonally different than other movies made by Marvel. Guardians is a hilarious film, using its great cast to keep the jokes flying at a mile a minute. The five leads all do an excellent job with their characters, whose personalities create some of the best on-screen charisma that I’ve seen in a superhero film. My personal favorite performance comes from Dave Bautista’s Drax, whose dry and stoic nature creates amazing chemistry with the witty Quill or the crass Rocket.
My only issue with the movie is one that many other Marvel movies seem to suffer from: a poor villain. Ronan is one note and humorless, with scenes that grind to a halt in comparison to the fun energy of the rest of the movie. There isn’t a single Marvel movie with a compelling villain, many of whom have great actors playing bland characters. Guardians is no exception, but that is the film’s only issue. The rest of the movie is exciting and full of heart, capturing the essence of a great comedy within a superhero movie. The characters are wonderful, the universe that the film sets up is diverse and the action sequences are excellent. What results is one of the best superhero movies ever made, a witty and clever ride all around.