Guardians of the Galaxy (Movie Review)
For a while it seemed like Marvel was just churning out movies and cashing out on the brand that they had created. Marvel had a formula and a set foundation, but most importantly they had you, the audience, at their grasp. Marvel gave us a taste of something all comic book fans had been yearning for and we were hungry for more. We were so in love with the characters that we’d pay to see any movie no matter the quality. Now, don’t get me wrong, films like Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World were all entertaining and enjoyable. But they felt more like appetizers put out to keep us satisfied until the real entrees arrived (Avengers: Age of Ultron).
One of my most frequent criticisms of Marvel was the fact that they never took any risk with their films. They had a play it safe formula that worked and made them money. Their films were entertaining, but over time they became too generic and predictable. I’m not sure what has gotten into Marvel this year, but 2014 has breathed some new life into the franchise.
James Gunn, known for his knack for comedy, gives us a superhero film unlike anything we’ve seen before. Guardians of the Galaxy is a dazzling spectacle filled with humor, wit, and stunning visuals. Led by a group of unlikely heroes; at the helm, is the most unlikely of heroes, Peter Quill aka Starlord aka Andy Dwyer aka Captain Kirk/Han Solo on LSD. Unlike The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy are made up of a group of outcast and rejects.
Our lead, Starlord, is a charismatic, foul mouthed space thief who runs into trouble when he comes across an orb that possesses infinite powers. Along his journey he gets captured and ultimately crosses paths with Gamora the assassin, Drax the destroyer, Rocket, a gun-toting genetically enhanced raccoon, and Groot the humanoid tree. At the core, these characters are the heart and soul of the film. They’re odd, goofy, and not your typical superheroes, but their emotional core is strong and their back stories are engaging. The characters are very likable and as the movie progresses you develop a strong attachment to the group and start to genuinely care for them.
Bradley Cooper does an incredible job voicing the brash and arrogant Rocket. His voice is nearly unrecognizable. He also adds a lot of depth to his character. On the surface Rocket is a foul mouthed, arrogant raccoon, but his brashness is all a cover up for his damaged emotional core. Chris Pratt absolutely shines as the lead. He does a great job carrying the weight of the film while at the same time injecting his quirky humor and sense of vulnerability. Zoe Saldana is gorgeous as usual even as a revenge driven green alien. Bautista was probably the biggest surprise in this film. I thought surely he would be the weakest link, but he certainly held his own. Groot, with his very limited dialogue and vocabulary, may go down as the fan favorite in the group. He is Rocket’s “muscle” and protector, but his character is sympathetic and easily has the biggest heart in the group.
Visually this film was a delight filled with great effects, top notch CGI, and incredible cinematography. The humor in this is a consistent hit. You definitely get a heavier dose of it, but never was there a point where I didn’t laugh. Unlike other Marvel films where the humor is hit or miss and at times feels like unnecessary filler, in Guardians of the Galaxy you can’t get enough of it. The story, at the core, is very simplistic. It’s very much what you expect from a Marvel film, but what makes up for it are the quirky, charismatic, heartfelt characters. The soundtrack is also one of the best of the year. Tyler Bates gives us an awesome dose of classic songs from the 70s that not only personifies the feel of the movie but also perfectly represents our lead’s persona.
At the time when Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced many viewed it as a huge risk. Most fans, both casual and die hards, were unfamiliar with the source material. However, it looks like the risk has paid off handsomely. Marvel’s decision to take their colossal empire into space has now opened up the Marvel universe to so many possibilities. Not only have they birthed a new franchise, but they’ve kick started phase 2 (soon to be phase 3) which will ultimately lead to a mega crossover with the star studded Avengers cast and the charismatic group of misfits in the Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s hard to say with absolute certainty over just one viewing, but I left the theater tonight feeling like I enjoyed this as much if not more than The Avengers.
Characters – 10/10
Plot – 7/10
Visuals – 9/10
Humor – 9/10
Soundtrack – 10/10
Overall – 45/50 (90 %)
- Si Le