Film Face-off: 'The Avengers' vs. 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Film Face-off: 'The Avengers' vs. 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Aug 04, 2014

Don't move. Do you feel that? There it is again. The (Marvel) universe is expanding. Who needs Earth when we've got an entire galaxy that needs guarding? This weekend Guardians of the Galaxy hit theaters, and it's a superhero movie because Marvel says so. To most it will look like a science fiction space opera borrowing from Star Wars, Galaxy Quest and of course the comics it is based on.

Here's the thing, if you look closely, you'll notice a similar pattern of a group of individuals disliking each other, but eventually realizing they need each other to accomplish a similar goal. That's right, we've been here before. In 2012 we were treated to Marvel's The Avengers.

Can you compare the films? Of course, and that's exactly what we're going to do in this week's Film Face-off with The Avengers vs. Guardians of the Galaxy. May the best team win.


The Main Men

The Avengers

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) eventually attempt to save the planet Earth.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) eventually attempt to save the planet Xandar.

Winner: The Avengers. Seeing Pratt play with a CGI raccoon, and a CGI treelike humanoid is a lot of fun. In fact, Pratt would beat Downey Jr. in a head to head. This is mainly due to the fact that we've had plenty of adventures with Iron Man, and only one taste of Star-Lord. The childlike joy that Pratt brings to every role constantly makes him seem like the kind of guy you just want to hang out with. Star-Lord's origin story, thanks to an amazing classic-rock soundtrack, keeps you attached to his journey, beyond just the group's. With Drax, you kind of feel like you could take him or leave him throughout the film, especially when he is making terrible decisions. The banter between Rocket and Groot steals moments of the film, and it's clear that Rocket is under the impression he's the lead. The Avengers is able to pull off meaningless fighting that is so much fun to watch. We're referring to the fights between Iron Man and Thor, then Thor and the Hulk. It's just so cool to finally see these guys play together. At this stage, with all of the sequels, our group of Avengers might feel a little played out, but that definitely wasn't the case when Ruffalo's Hulk was smashing his way into our hearts (finally).


The Main Woman

The Avengers

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is an assassin who now works for S.H.I.E.L.D. She attempts to rescue Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) from Loki's (Tom Hiddleston) evil clutches.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is the daughter of Thanos, and she's hated for all of the destruction her family has created. She's willing to double-cross her dad, reluctantly working with Star-Lord.

Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy. Eventually, Saldana will cover herself in all of the colors of the rainbow. Blue, and now green, have treated her well. Black Widow has two really good scenes in The Avengers. Her initial butt-kicking interrogation is great, and we'll talk about her other scene in the "Prison" category. It just doesn't really feel like she's a part of the team. Gamora has layers of betrayal, distrust and hatred. Plus, Star-Lord wants to become a better man for her. While this is close, there is one key difference between the performances of Johansson and Saldana: running. Look no further than the 1:45 mark in The Avengers. Johansson can't run. At least not like a superhero. Saldana is well on her way to eventually being inducted into the "Tom Cruise Hollywood Hustle Hall of Fame."


The Prison

The Avengers

On the Helicarrier, Loki is locked securely in a prison room that is supposedly capable of containing the Hulk.

Guardians of the Galaxy

With money and other motivations on their minds, four of our guardians get locked up in Kyln.

Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy. Isn't it great when you suddenly realize you're in a prison movie? That's the best surprise with Rise of the Planet of the Apes and it's a blast in Guardians. Heck, law enforcement actually showing up in a superhero film is absolutely refreshing. Once in prison, it's a chance for Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket and Groot to get to know each other. It is also the perfect example of Rocket actually being the brains of the group, with a good sense of humor as well. The Avengers borrowed from the trend of the evil villain choosing to get locked up. The Dark Knight and Skyfall did that before, and it felt a little played out. With that being said, it gave us the brilliant scene with Black Widow tricking Loki. Unfortunately, when Loki tricks Thor, it's just embarrassing.


The Villain(s)

The Avengers

Loki, Thor's brother, has a powerful scepter. Through a third party, Thanos says he will give Loki Earth if he helps retrieve the Tesseract.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Thanos wants Ronan (Lee Pace) to retrieve an orb. If he does, then Ronan will get to destroy Xandar. Ronan also has a scepter.

Winner: The Avengers. The character Loki improves from Thor to The Avengers. He has great confidence, even when he knows he's outmatched (in the strength department). Plus, he's slimy, and we're not just talking about his black hair. Ronan isn't interesting. He just talks about destroying things and growing more powerful. Thanos connects the two films, but that's about it, besides haven't a big head that needs to be smashed by the Hulk. Apparently, we're still not allowed to know Thanos' motivations, except destroying things. There is a wasted scene with the Collector (Benicio Del Toro), who isn't exactly evil. The most interesting bad guy is definitely the whistling-weapon yielding alien Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker).


The Final Fight

The Avengers

The Avengers work through their issues to defend New York from Loki, aliens, and really big worm aliens.

Guardians of the Galaxy

The guardians risk their lives to stop Thanos, and his minions from destroying Xandar.

Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy. First off, both films lose points for having a character die... almost. Also, a superhero movie ending with a city being rampaged and eventually saved is nothing new. In fact, we're all sick of it. With The Avengers saving New York City, the visual effects are good, and seeing the team finally work together, with some great posing, is a lot of fun. The Hulk dominates the fun of the finale though. From "That's my secret, I'm always angry," to the Hulk tossing Loki around like a rag doll, it's all about him. We don't even need the other heroes, especially not Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Guardians destroys a city that isn't on Earth. That means we can at least look at some different architecture. Plus, The Nova Corps teaming up to make a force field looks great on the big screen, and switching from character to character brings back the end of Return of the Jedi (in a good way).


OVERALL WINNER: Guardians of the Galaxy beats The Avengers, 3-2.

New is better. That must be the trap we have fallen into. After all, The Avengers is great. How can we just declare Guardians the winner? Obviously the most important thing here is that even though the paths taken are familiar in Guardians the world feels fresh. Pratt nails the role of Star-Lord and we can't wait for the crew to get in the cockpit with Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Then again, we don't have any doubt there is plenty fun left to be had with Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Avengers gave us all we could hope for with the combination of all of those familiar characters. Marvel does something even more surprising with Guardians of the Galaxy and that's create a really fun stand-alone science fiction adventure that didn't have any familiar characters.




Categories: Features, Geek, In Theaters
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