This is not another movie review of the new Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy. No, this is a first-person account (yes, we can call it a review) of the reactions of the theater-goers who saw the first showing of this movie on the evening of Thursday, July 31.
As any such review, or an attempt at deciphering the reactions of total strangers in a darkened theater, must by its very nature, be subjective and a matter of opinion. Having said that, let us examine what the crowd seemed to do…oh, and we will NOT release any wild spoilers into this domesticated and cultured review!
The scene outside the theater was peaceful. Half-expecting a long line, your intrepid reviewer and his faithful sidekick purchased Guardians of the Galaxy tickets several days in advance. Thus, upon arriving at our venue early, we were a bit disappointed, (but not unhappy), to see no real line-up. (Our last major line-up for a superhero flick was for the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, in 2012 Now, THAT, was a long line!)
Waltzing in to Theater #13 (yup, this is a suburban multi-plex), we settled in about a third of the way up the seating rows. At this point, the theater was about half-full. As we waited for the trailers and associated ads to begin, more people trickled in. The crowd seemed to be a mix of older and younger movie-goers. Sitting through the trailers, the crowd seemed taken with the preview of another Marvel movie, Big Hero 6 (hitting theaters on November 7, 2014), with laughter at the funny parts.
Then, after the Big Hero 6 trailer, The Guardians of the Galaxy begins. Without giving away details of the movie (because…This. Is. NOT a movie review), I can report that the audience laughed at the many comedic parts, and seemed on the edge of their seats at most of the “thrilling” parts. The opening scene with the self-described Star-Lord and his journey across the surface of the first planet we see caused obvious joy in the crowd. Laughter, and a bit of applause at his antics. This is a good sign!
Keeping one eye on the folks around me, and one eye on the screen action gave me an idea of crowd reaction (as well as eye-strain). The fans seemed sad at the sad parts, happy at the happy parts, and humored at the humorous parts (of which there were many). The multiple musical interludes (if you saw the ads and prior trailers for this movie, you probably have an idea of what I am referring to), contributed to the positive vibes in the theater. This crowd was happy with the movie!
The requisite Stan Lee cameo got some applause, and laughs, though probably the best and loudest laughs came at one of the final scenes featuring Drax and Groot. That is all I will say, other than Dave Bautista, the pro-wrestler who played Drax, has excellent comedic timing. Also, about Groot: Vin Diesel’s dialogue as Groot, finding multiple ways of saying “I am Groot,” was a hoot! The audience openly laughed and clearly enjoyed nearly every utterance of Vin Diesel’s Groot.
When the movie ended, the audience applauded. And then, as my reverent sidekick and I patiently waited for the now-mandatory after-credit scene, we were flabbergasted when people actually got up to leave! We wanted to shout “NO! Don’t Leave! Freddy Krueger and Jason are waiting for you to leave early!” Ok, wrong movie, but it was that serious! Do people not understand what seeing a Marvel movie entails? Oh well. Maybe two dozen out of the several hundred in the theater left early, leaving the rest of us to wonder what marvelous mystery awaited us in the last, final scene!
I will not, of course, reveal what happens in the final scene, other than to say that it was not what I expected at all. The audience reacted with…shall we say, surprised recognition?
The audience left the theater happy. My joyous sidekick and I both heard people speaking positively about the characters, the acting, the cool special effects and so on, as we filtered out of the dark. This was a fun movie, and the audience enjoyed it. Go see Guardians of the Galaxy, and be sure to stay until the house lights come up!