“Guardians of the Galaxy” is pretty much where action movies are these days – a combination of comedy without wit, action without drama and elaborate visuals that are nothing much to look at. That just this little is enough to take “Guardians” into the realm of “not bad” says more about the state of action than it does about the movie itself.
It deals with an effort to save “the galaxy,” but this is a notion without emotion. We are shown nothing about this particular galaxy that should make us care whether it gets saved or blown up like Vulcan in “Star Trek” (2009).
There is no burning reason to root for one set of spaceships over the other. Rather, the mere concept of “saving the galaxy” is supposed to engage the audience – for two hours.
Yes, there are jokes, but most of these are along the lines of the movie’s making fun of itself before we all notice there is nothing to take seriously. In place of wit, “Guardians”offers a sort of generalized willingness to be amusing, an atmosphere of high spirits that feels like lots of people pumping air into a tire that has a hole in it.
Everyone is clearly working, but nothing is really happening – and yet the effort is so evident that there is an impulse to reward it.