Hey all! Today we’ll be taking a look at Marvel’s biggest risk yet, Guardians of the Galaxy. Directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, and Bradley Cooper, it is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fiction and language.
The latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe follows Peter Quill (Pratt) after he steals a mysterious orb that puts him right in the center of a manhunt led by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). However, Quill, after being thrown in jail, makes four unexpected allies that help him combat Ronan and preserve the safety of the galaxy.
8.5 out of 10
Ever since the first time we heard the steady beat and tribal chants that prelude Blue Swede’s Hooked on a Feeling in the very first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy we were excited, for the soundtrack if nothing else. This was Marvel’s riskiest film yet, taking a bunch of “D-List superheroes” (as one article called them) and throwing them on to a slate that already features Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk and Thor: all A-list superheroes. But boy, did it pay off big time. What we received was a hilarious, action packed film that stands its ground with Marvel’s best.
I will admit that the beginning of this film did not have me. After the first five or ten minutes I was starting to wonder how this movie, which looked so awesome, could be the biggest disappointment since Iron Man 3! The first scene was pretty unexpected, as his mother dies and then he is taken by a spaceship (don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler). It was too abrupt a shift from something so sad—something that established a really tragic tone—to something as unrealistic and bizarre as being taken by aliens. It was just too much for me at first.
Additionally, the first few minutes after the beginning credits served as an adjustment period for the audience, as the dialogue was difficult to enjoy at first. It was extremely different depending on what characters you were talking about. Ronan and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) have a formal, more strict way of speaking when compared with Quill and Rocket Racoon (Cooper) who are laid back and snarky. And then of course, there’s Groot, who only knows how to say “I am Groot”. I can’t really explain it, but the contrasts made it hard to really enjoy at first, but after 15 minutes or so, I was really loving it.
Last criticism. Ronan the Accuser wasn’t incredibly exciting as a villain. He reminded me of Malekith from Thor 2, which is not a good thing considering how notoriously boring he was. Ronan was an improvement, but not by much. However, he did seem a bit threatening, especially towards the end. Even more threatening than Thanos. Which I’m not sure is what you want.
As much as I’ve talked about the bad stuff, this movie really is awesome. The characters are among the most interesting comic book movie characters I’ve seen and, even better, they mix very well together. Expect for Zoe Saldana’s character, who is kind of boring but still likeable, all the characters are unique, important, and interesting.
Rocket Raccoon and Groot steal the show. Their love-hate relationship is one of the best things about the film. Both characters are such a contrast to each other that it makes it believable that they’re a talking raccoon and (somewhat) talking tree respectively. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel nailed it.
Chris Pratt, likewise, is very good. He’s funny, heartwarming, and courageous without being annoying at all. People are talking about Chris Pratt potentially being one of the next big action stars and consider me on board. Peter Quill has become one of the best characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, largely thanks to Pratt.
The movie also features some of the best written comedy of any Marvel film. As I’ve pointed out, I didn’t love Iron Man 3, largely because I thought it forced its comedy. This, however, was so well done. The timing was absolutely spot on. Pop culture references, Groot-Raccoon moments; everything. It was a very funny movie.
What lets this movie be so successful is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It knows how silly it’s concept is and capitalizes on this. It’s a funny, action-packed adventure that proves to be one of Marvel’s finest to date.
Two years ago, Marvel Studios released what many consider to be its magnum opus: The Avengers. In fact, any future Marvel adventures seemed unneeded. So, naturally, once Marvel announced it was producing a second phase, a lot of questions were raised. The main one being what are they going to top The Avengers with? To which Marvel stood up and proudly announced that it would follow up with an exciting, epic sci-fi team: The Guardians of the Galaxy.
And, as far as I can remember, there wasn’t too warm of a reception. Don’t get me wrong, people still poured their faith into Marvel but nobody knew what to think of Guardians. They thought they could top Robert Downey Jr. with a talking raccoon? And the whole rest of the team with a bunch of no-names?
And two years later….they did. In fact, I think they surpassed the standard set by The Avengers in my opinion. Let us go over why:
The comedy: I laughed more in Guardians of the Galaxy than around 75% of the comedies I’ve seen. This film is very self-aware; it knows its dealing with a pretty ridiculous set of characters and it never takes itself too seriously. The comedic bits tied all of the film’s elements together and utilized humor in such an effective way that it sits on top of the list of funniest Marvel films.
The characters: As I said before, people weren’t too thrilled about this team of misfits. A less professional studio would labor over these new characters’ backstories and tell rather than show anything about their development. Not Marvel: it trusts in the characters’ attitudes and dialogue to tell their story and they do.
The universe: Guardians goes so far out of Marvel’s usual realm that its a wonder it belongs the same continuity. But special effects paired with original designs really made the sci-fi atmosphere. In a weird way, seeing all of these new settings reminded me of the first time I saw Tatooine or the starship Enterprise. Very original, new world that opens itself up to so many plots and characters.
Speaking of, I’m actually anxious to see the Guardians interact with the usual Marvel suspects. It seems like a bit of a challenger but I’m convinced Marvel is up to it. Considering how they were able to integrate five heroes into one movie, I’m sure they can fit two teams.
My one criticism (And it’s an incredibly small one) is that it was so good at crafting little sincere moments that they could have delved into them a little more. That’s a small complaint and, hey, there’s always the sequel, am I right? This is Marvel, so of course I am.
There you have it. All of these elements combined created such a great superhero movie that I daresay it cracks my top five superhero movies list. But I really can’t describe the fun, you’ll have to experience it yourself: see it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%