I wanted to write this gigantic full-blown review about Guardians of the Galaxy when suddenly the internet.
Everyone and their father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate went to see this movie over the weekend. The buzz won’t be dying down any time soon, but it reached its peak sometime between Friday and Saturday. If you’ve read any amount of internets you know that Guardians is an awesome flick and you don’t need me as another voice in the geek chorus screaming that you need to see it because it is the absolute definition of a great summer blockbuster.
To reinforce that point (and in case you didn’t hear it elsewhere) I’ll just say that it’s one part Indiana Jones, one part Star Wars, sprinkled with Firefly and a heavy dose of Marvel lore, tossed liberally with 80s references and served on a bed of huge important connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a large side of awesome effing soundtrack. I don’t think the recipe misses a beat and the whole thing goes down smooth and tasty.
Instead of elaborating on the movie’s very important use of a certain character who rhymes with Shmanos and the foreshadowing of a certain item that rhymes with the Shminfinity Shmauntlet and how excited that makes me for Shmavengers 3, I’d like to talk about my theater experience for this movie in particular as it was not one of my favorites.
I’d like to establish that I understand trolls. I am at least a sixth-dan blackbelt in the art of trolling. I understand the appeal of purposefully causing others frustration. In more youthful times, I used my craft for selfish reasons – causing wanton chaos and disruption whenever possible. As I grew through the ranks growing ever closer to mastery I realized how to channel my powers for the greater good and how to use trolling as a tool for vengeance and justice rather than for pure entertainment.
The decidedly lesser-experienced group of younglings sitting in the front row of my theater that night had not yet reached the stage of enlightenment that permits one to remain silent and attentive in a movie theater and so began trolling a theater full of people seeing a blockbuster movie on opening weekend.
Were it me at their age, I may have trolled, but not nearly as hard or as constant as this troupe. Every silent or near silent moment within the first five minutes of the movie was disturbed by their narration of actions and shouting of ridiculous things. There were not many profanities from what I can remember, which proved to me that this was pure trolling and not just an attempt to throw sand in the face of the theater by getting kicked out. They would be with us for the long haul, even if someone summoned the dreaded uniformed-teenager-with-a-flashlight usher to attempt to calm them down.
Knowing this, I was resigned to it. Misguided and disruptive though they were, the theater’s speakers would likely be loud enough to drown out most of their shouts (it was a large theater and they were far away from us). They were, as it turned out. Though the young trolls could be heard as a mutter below the dialogue, they were dismissed as easily as crowd noise in the actual movie. The loud space battles and constant pumping music made them almost invisible.
This would have been almost tolerable, had it not been for what happened during the opening sequence.
Just as we were getting acquainted with young Peter Quill, a man from the very back of the theater screamed a typical unkind request for the young men in the front of the theater to be quiet followed up by a racial slur.
The entire theater collectively cringed, wondering if there would be some sort of immediate retribution. There was a tangible panic from a theater full of nerds and people otherwise unprepared to defend themselves should violence erupt. Luckily, the young trolls remained seated, shouting back that they would find the man after the movie was over. This was of some relief to the crowd that likely nothing would occur while the film ran but it tainted the room. A crowd of people waiting excitedly for the hit of the summer to get through the prologue and run the title card were, because of the addition of that racial slur to the scatological request for silence, unnerved and disenchanted. Whatever true magic may have been experienced – trolls or no trolls – was gone.
This is not to mention that the racial-slur-screamer failed to recognize the commandment “do not feed the trolls”. Taking things to a racist level is the filet mignon of troll food.
While the small group was easy enough to ignore – their display of skills including a noisy lap around the ground level of the theater and the search for an imaginary bag of popcorn – it would have likely been avoided had they not been further provoked by the racist in the back.
In addition to this, we were treated to a 40-something woman behind us who had, by all accounts, never seen an action movie before as she continuously shouted out questions in a vaguely mid-western accent about the particular goings on of the plot. She audibly gasped and shouted about the welfare of the characters in particular situations, letting the entire upper-portion of the theater know that whatever happened must have really hurt that guy. She also had a laugh like a harpy’s scream which didn’t help due to the very comedic aspects of the film.
Though I cannot blame this woman for what she did – her being an obvious shut-in without cable or erstwhile Amish on some sort of mid-life Rumspringa – as she was not doing anything with malicious intent. She was simply overly excited by the combination of light and sound which caused her moronic tendencies to become inflamed. Her ignorance of theater etiquette was far less tolerable than the group of trolls in the front row.
This was the first time my wife and I attended this particular movie house. We wanted to try something different and were far outside our home turf. They charge $6 any movie, any time and have extremely fresh and delicious popcorn at a reasonable price (for a movie theater). The seats are a bit worn in as it languished empty for a while before coming under new ownership recently and there were enough commercials before the previews hit that the first trailer didn’t run until 8:25 (for an 8PM movie). I suppose this is the best way to make up for $6 tickets, though, and I didn’t mind sitting through a few ads to save a couple bucks.
My wife and I did agree to one thing as we left the theater (where no visible trolls awaited the man who shouted the racial slur, by the by) and that was that we are going to remain very selective of the movies we go to see on opening weekend as there was far too much hassle in this crowded theater for things to truly be fun. While I realize these are common problems and you’re probably saying to yourself that this happens all the time in opening weekend showings, I’m merely stating my preference. GotG was a movie I wanted to see right away because I knew the internets were exploding with references and if I waited until the week after I would probably be spoiled. Any other movie for the rest of the summer won’t, in my opinion, warrant an opening weekend buy-in and I intend to avoid this as often as I can.
In the end, I saw Guardians. Because of the mayhem during the opening, I didn’t get the experience I wanted out of a first viewing. It didn’t take away from the movie but it did greatly detract from the atmosphere. There is a certain magic that keeps me going back to the theater and this night had none of that.
However, when the most disappointing part of the movie is something that has nothing to do with the movie, that makes it a good movie.
Bidula’s Last word – 9/10. See Guardians and remember your childhood. See it in a decent theater and remember the magic of your first summer blockbuster all over again.
I may have to go see it again while it’s out there just to get the full experience.
Keep fighting the good fight.