3. Guardians of the Galaxy
Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s stab at an old-school space opera, is so delightfully strange, so wonderfully weird, that the mere fact that it exists counts as a victory. James Gunn can’t be thanked enough for all of it, from casting the Parks & Recreation guy, to making two of the main characters a talking tree & a raccoon to making Michael Rooker a blue-man alien. Then there’s the blond Benicio del Toro, the Celestial’s floating head, twin badasses Zoe Saldana and Karen Gillan, an absolutely bonkers villain by Lee Pace plus John C. Reilly and Glenn Close. There’s so much goodness stuffed into this movie.
It is occasionally bursting at the seams. In particular, the Thanos scenes are rather obviously inserted and serve little practical purpose. That the film is a mad dash for another MacGuffin of All-Powerful Glowing Light also falls into this category. But these flaws are easily overcome by the emotion of the performances and the subtly of Gunn’s writing and direction. He is a free and uninhibited storyteller.