Of all this summer’s releases, this is the one that seemed to tick all the boxes and really got my interest. I even very nearly saw it at the cinema until work etc got in the way. Marvel’s films have been getting better and better and here we were with Marvel doing a fresh new space opera. There was even a rumour a favourite duck of mine would have a cameo. What’s not to love?
Here’s the thing. On my first viewing of the Blu-ray last week, I didn’t like it. It didn’t ‘click’ somehow. To be fair it was a bad night and the stars didn’t seem to align at all. Thirty minutes into the film I was interrupted by a visitor and had to switch it off for nearly an hour, and then having resumed the film it was later further interrupted by a phone-call that necessitated another fifteen minutes of downtime. Remember than Batman line, “some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”? Well, I guess some days you just cannot get to watch a movie. Just wasn’t meant to be I guess. Added to that it was just too weird and odd ball for my wife to enjoy and the night seemed to end on a downer, another film falling victim to too much hype.
Fast-forward 24 hours and my wife is out and I give the film another go. And this time I enjoy it much more. Its not a perfect film, and I think its weaker than John Carter, a film whose failure to spawn sequels still irritates. Indeed its weird how Guardians seems to have captured the public’s imagination whilst John Carter was left buried in the box-office dirt- my preference for the latter film may be a contentious issue but I just think it was more natural and fun. Guardians clearly has the bigger ‘wow’ factor with its set-pieces/effects but there is an awful lot of cgi work and very one-dimensional characters amongst its supporting cast. The villains in particular are very weak.
There was a warmth and spirit in John Carter, and a gorgeous sweeping score- in fact I think the music may be the problem. Guardians just feels a little forced, and I think it lacks a personality of its own, mainly because the score is so very poor (the film dominated instead by its clever use of source music). I think these kind of films benefit from having hummable, whistleable tunes. It tries so hard for the spirit of 1977’s Star Wars and 1980s Empire Strikes Back but it lacks their charm, mostly because of its music. Its nothing unique to Guardians, its a fault common with so many films nowadays, its just the style of scoring so prevalent in Hollywood today. It sounds so bland and generic, no character seems to have an iconic theme or anything.
Its just that, well, Guardians seems to me to be a film easy to admire but not to love, whereas I just adore John Carter. Personal preference I guess. Its not a bad film and I really did enjoy it the second time, but… well, maybe the next one, eh? At least it will get a next one.