Monday, May 01, 2023

One Giant Beep Beep Honk Honk For Mankind

"Did I look cool?" That's the question on the Star-lord nee Peter Quill's lips as he suffers the consequences of another mind-boggingly stupid action toward the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. (And "mind-bogglingly stupid" comes so naturally to Chris Pratt, doesn't it?) And that question might as well be branded into this franchise's rear-end, so guiding a mantra it's proven -- looking-coolness above all else! I mean who doesn't want to see cool shit, right? Well at some point around the middle of this movie, even before Pratt uttered that line, perhaps around the ninetieth needle drop give or take, I'd found myself so sick to death of manic clawing for "cool" that I wished I'd never suffer it again.

I want you to think back upon Mad Max Fury Road for a moment -- now, we all know the Herculean effort that went into Fury Road (and if not go read our pal Kyle's book). I can in no way claim that what that film does was effortless. But that film feels effortlessly cool, anyway -- coolness just explodes out of it in every frame, and George Miller makes all of the wires invisible that somehow hold the insane contraption of it up. It's rare alchemy, real magic.

But Guardians 3 is just such a goddamned try-hard. Perhaps, we could make the argument, that this is in keeping with the rag-tag bunch of losers who the films have given these three grand adventures. Like with Star-lord's line of dialogue these people very much want to come off as cool, but they keep tripping over themselves in the trying. I personally don't think James Gunn & Co meant to go that meta -- they spent an awful lot of money to keep tripping over themselves, if so.

But there are pleasures to be had. The film's best joke comes via its best actress (that'd be Elizabeth Debicki) but that's approximately one second long. There's a hallway fight scene that calls back to that time the Avengers first fought together in New York that legitimately reaches coolness. Visually Gunn gives us some fantastic scenery and spaces -- this is (for the most part) nowhere near as dreary and eye-pokingly ugly as the last Ant-Man movie was. And I do have great affection for several of these characters by now -- I would watch ten hours of a Drax & Mantis series in a split second. Also Will Poulter proves immediately endearing and I welcome his Adam Warlock into the fold.

Best of all the horror-loving Gunn's tendencies toward the squishy and horrific are on full display, and those will always make me giddy -- this thing has some deeply disturbing imagery waiting in store to give wee ones looking for Talking Raccoon Adventure Time the sort of life-long nightmares that Watership Down or Poltergeist gave to those of us who came of age in previous ages. I always have affection for those kind of stealth nightmare-makers!

But when you manage to get the number one Radiohead fan in all the world -- that would be me -- to think to themselves, "Really -- you're going to play the entire Radiohead song? The whole thing, from start to finish?" Well then you know that you're maybe trying too hard. And that it's gotten a little exhausting to watch. These characters are exhausted, I was exhausted -- when the time for the space sabbatical comes I was all in. Just stuff me into a sleep-chamber and let us all rest already, Marvel. We all need a break.


bdog said...

I was trying to watch Guardians Part 2 last night. I think I saw it, but I never remember these Marvel/DC flicks. But I couldn't stand it. I don't know what Karen Gillan is doing with her voice in that, but I hate it. And then there was some scene with Pratt and Kurt Russell throwing a glowy blue ball of some shit back and forth and I just gave up.

Unknown said...

your manic quote to be cool and profile pic go hand and hand...

Anonymous said...

Douche chill.

Frank said...

The first GOTG opens with Peter Quill kicking small animals like they were soccer balls. And by the third film, we’re suppose to feel sorry for some more CGI generated animals who are tortured… ugh. Chris Pratt (you now… the Chris of Hollywood) is the antithesis of cool. After seeing a couple of his non-Marvel movies I got very bored with his schtick… the clueless man-child. So I’ll SKIP GOTG3 and James Gunn’s Superman too.