Star Wars changed the game in the 70’s with its exploration of Space and a ragtag group of misfits, beset on saving the galaxy. There was awesome music, stunning effects, and the thought of another galaxy wowed audiences. More than that, it was just a fun time at the movies and no film has better captured the sense of wonderment in an audience. Well, Marvel has come along with a new film that, for younger audiences especially, has been able to replicate that feeling and oh what a feeling it is. You could say that I’m hooked on it…
As a young boy, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) was abducted from Earth after he tragically lost his mother. The only thing he took with him was his cassette player and the awesome 70’s mix his mother made for him. Years later, Quill would go by the name “StarLord” and would spend his time looking for junk for Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker). Upon finding an orb on an uninhabited planet, StarLord becomes the bounty for Ronan (Lee Pace), an evil Cree who’s working for an even more evil Thanos (Josh Brolin).
With a high bounty on his head, StarLord attracts the attention of Thanos’ daughter, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a green assassin bent on stopping her power-hungry father. Also hot on his trail, are Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a genetically morphed Racoon and a humanoid tree. One way or another, they end up in space prison and that’s where they meet Drax “The Destroyer” (Dave Bautista), the final member of their would-be team. They couldn’t be more different, but they believe in the preservation of their galaxy and if that means banding together to defeat Ronan, then they’re happy to team up to kick some ass (as 70’s pop fills their ears).
Guardians of the Galaxy is the funniest, most entertaining film that Marvel has released and it also features one of their best casts too. Rather than toying with the characters you already knew, Marvel took a big risk and put their faith in a story and a group of outlaws that almost nobody knows. As someone who was sort of getting sick of seeing the same characters is simply “okay” movies (looking at your Thor, Iron Man 2 & Thor: The Dark World), I was ecstatic to find myself rooting for all new characters who are just as compelling as those in The Avengers.
Chris Pratt, who has been on of the best parts of Parks & Recreation for years, really excels in this film because of his natural comedic intuition. He reads the other characters and situations well and his sarcastic wit and timing makes sure that every joke lands. Plus, he’s a fun character that doesn’t take himself all that seriously, but he still manages to kick ass. Speaking of which, Saldana does more of that here and continues her legacy of playing compelling “aliens” (Avatar, Star Trek), while also adding some more touching elements to her character. The ass-kicking continues with WWE Star Bautista, who essentially does what he knows and does so in spectacular fashion. His acting is fine, but even he knows that’s not why he’s there and he makes the most of his screen-time and even elicits a few laughs in the process.
It’s no secret that Iron Man is the most favorite character in the Marvel Universe right not, but that’s going to change after people bear witness to Rocket Racoon and Groot, two of the most strange creatures to ever find a way into your heart. Rocket, voiced by a fun Bradley Cooper, is a loud-mouthed, big gun-toting, hilarious addition to the cast. He’s the Han Solo of the gang and his unrelenting humor and lack of filter makes him such a fun presence in this film. His partner-in-crime, Groot, is the most interesting character of this bunch. Vin Diesel does a lot with facial and body expressions, while also emoting and telling you what he needs to with the singular phrase “I am Groot”. He’s the sweetest of the bunch and his reactions are pure, but he’s also not afraid to destroy people who mess with his friends.
There might not be as much action here as their was in The Avengers, but that’s not to say that there isn’t a ton of awesome action scattered among the film. Each character is proficient in his/her/its fighting style and those differences make each fight sequence unique and unexpected. The other unexpected weapon in the Guardian’s arsenal, is the comedy that runs through every aspect of this film. Chris Pratt takes point with most of the jokes, but the serious and literal nature of Bautista’s character also works very well too. Obviously, Cooper gets the most applause because he’s a sassy Racoon with a Napoleon complex, but Groot holds his own with his eccentric expressions. The soundtrack adds its own humor, as pop songs of the 70’s set the tone for many of the scenarios we see unfold in this film. There was never a dull moment in this film and I spent much of my time laughing out loud and taking comfort in the fact that I wasn’t the only one doing so.
As I mentioned earlier, Marvel took a big risk with a film that hardly anyone knew anything about. This movie is totally weird and it looks weird from the trailers, but it has the Marvel name and hopefully that’s enough to draw people to see it. This is a new universe, with all sorts of zany characters and the majority of this movie takes place in space. Pratt is the only Earthling in the film and the rest of the film is composed of different beings, some of whom are tied in with The Avengers and the Tesseract (another infinity stone). There is some major world building going on here and a convergence between two worlds will be soon, but for now we can sit back, relax, and enjoy this new universe that Guardians of the Galaxy has masterfully created for us.
Guardians of the Galaxy IS the Summer film of 2014, no doubt about it. I’ve not had such a fun and rewarding time at the theater this year, until I went and saw this film. It’s non-stop energy keeps your attention and the looseness with which it handles its story and characters works wonders. For once, we don’t get bogged down by a superhero film that takes itself super seriously and that follows most superhero conventions. Sure, there are cliches in this film and some of the plot isn’t entirely original, but that didn’t faze me in the slightest bit. It’s not that I’m willing to overlook any flaws this film has because of how different and fun it is, but I just think that I’m doing the film a disservice if I nitpick it for things that I actually could care less about at the moment. I can’t wait to go see this film again and again, hopefully enjoying it more each time. I would hope that y’all would do the same!
Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer