THE GUARDIANS. Avengers in Russian

The plot of “The Guardians”, full of absurdities and plot holes the size of Red Square, is as schematic as possible.

Dawid Konieczka

1 March 2024

If Americans achieve success, it’s never a surprise that Russians want to respond. More, better, faster. The phenomenon of hero-saving-the-world movies is impossible to overlook, so the creation of Guardians: The Superheroes Mission was only a matter of time. I didn’t expect any special comparisons with movies from the Marvel or DC universes, nor did I plan even a hint of mockery. I intended to turn a blind eye to the obvious desire to create a Russian response to the Avengers. I sincerely wanted to give Guardians a chance. Unfortunately, neither Sarik Andrieasian nor his film gave me a chance.

To the point: the plot, full of absurdities and plot holes the size of Red Square, is as schematic as possible. Evil August Kuratow, who gained superhuman strength and the power… to control mechanical vehicles as a result of an explosion in a laboratory, declares war on the world, planning to unleash chaos. To fight against the aforementioned madman, the Russian government sends four superheroes, victims of Kuratow’s past experiments. The team consists of: Ler, who can move stones with the power of his will; Ksenia, (supposedly) resistant to temperature changes and invisible under the influence of water; Han, super-fast and agile swordsman; and Arsus, who occasionally transforms into a Bear-Man. Elena, the female counterpart of Nick Fury, watches over the adventurers, who must confront the demonic Kuratow and take revenge on him.

The director draws heavily from the achievements of superhero cinema from across the ocean and apparently doesn’t mind it at all. There are here new-old versions of hero knee-breaking, power combining for greater effectiveness, or fear of losing oneself in one’s alter ego. However, the most significant shortcoming of Guardians remains the ridiculously fast-paced exposition. By rushing the action, Andrieasian suffers not only the presentation of a schematic plot but above all the most important element of a superhero team movie — the construction of the heroes themselves. We hardly learn anything about them, making it difficult to engage in any way. The characters are painfully one-dimensional and clichéd, and their motivations are banal. Although the director tries to deepen the psychology of the heroes in a few places, how can we believe in their dilemmas when we practically don’t know who they are? I dare to suspect that even attempts to create meaningful characters would have amounted to nothing, and as an example, let this dialogue serve:

– Even when I’m a human, there’s something beastly in me.

– That’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?

– I think so too. But being a bear, I can’t speak, only roar.

Andrieasian revels in cheap effects, with obligatory overuse of slow motion, which only elicits a smile of pity. By the way, it’s quite a paradox because theoretically, the computer-generated effects, of which there are many, should allow for spectacular visuals, but they usually just look amateurish. Especially the animated Bear-Man running with a minigun looks significantly worse than many video game trailers. I’ll mention one more thing about the appearance of the main antagonist, who, although noticeably inspired by Ivan Vanko from Iron Man 2, somewhat resembles an oversized baby after contact with a truckload of steroids. But that’s probably just my slight malice.

Dawid Konieczka

Dawid Konieczka

In the cinema, he primarily looks for creativity, ambiguity and authentic emotions, watching practically everything that falls into his hands.

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