Even transplanted to outer space locales filled with talking raccoons and Kirby krackle, these Marvel movies can’t stop presenting themselves as the same piece of filler. Big ideas and dynamic character designs as backdrop to plots which can best be described as marketing for the next installment, nearly every scene is resolved in the least interesting way possible (visually, thematically, or structurally). Former Troma writer James Gunn is able to hit-and-run with some quirky touches–including a soundtrack of oldie pop songs and a left-field semen joke–but Guardians of the Galaxy is unmistakably rote. Avengers‘ quasi-dysfunctional group dynamic (complete with Chris Pratt as off-brand Tony Stark), fight scenes which seem to have edited out 90% of the fights (such as when the film cuts away from Dave Bautista’s Drax having a disastrous showdown with genocidal bad guy Ronan the Accuser), the aforementioned dangling of plot hooks (a sibling-rivalry plot between two adopted daughters), even the walking back of “serious” consequences are all out of the Marvel playbook, and all frustratingly done before. Most egregious is Thanos–the craggy, purple space demon who briefly appeared in the credits for Avengers, to be the Marvel Movie-verse’s ultimate evil: his first appearance involved sitting in a chair and glowering; his second appearance is more of the same (though now voiced by Josh Brolin). Presumably, this is all Thanos is doing until 2018. Yawn. The rest of Guardians? Space battles yanked from an overblown Final Fantasy cutscene and a Care Bears ending where the heroes hold hands, defeating the villain with the power of friendship. This shit’s too impersonal to even be called an accountant’s impression of a movie.