Sunday, August 10, 2014

Marvel's Champions of the Box Office

Marvel sends another one sailing out of the ballpark into space. I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy for the second time — a superhero team film with wit and heart, illustrating that good writers and directors can take not first-string Marvel characters, nor second-string Marvel characters but 12th-string Marvel characters and turn them into something classy and classic. 
The film’s use of classic pop music is a perfect touchstone, providing universal familiarity for the audience, ironic comment and a poignant reminder that it’s protagonist Peter Quill's only connection to his lost mother.
It’s a continual small-m marvel for me to see garish characters from an ephemeral medium, familiar to me from childhood, loom on the screen in box office blockbusters. Seeing Glenn Close as the head of Marvel’s Nova Corps gives me the sense that the Earth has somehow shifted its axis.
The movie has, among other things, a "Wizard of Oz" vibe, with an orphaned child whirled away to unearthly surroundings and then befriended by a talking animal, a sentient tree and other strange beings who join him a quest to destroy an overwhelming evil.
And I now say with confidence that I have a favorite raccoon.

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