Guardians of the Galaxy Review

8/01/2014 Unknown 0 Comments

Guardians of the Galaxy opens up Marvel's cosmic universe to tell the story of a rag-tag group of misfits that unite to try to save the galaxy.  Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord (Chris Pratt) is abducted from earth at a young age and is raised amongst galactic bounty hunters.  He gets a price on his head after recovering a mysterious orb that is desired by the Mad Titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin), who sends his minions, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), Korath the Pursuer (Djimon Hounsou), and Nova (Karen Gillan) to retrieve Quill and his newly acquired orb.

Necessity brings Quill together with the giant tree, Groot (Vin Diesel), not-raccoon, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and the daughter of Thanos—Gamora (Zoe Saldana), who all together form the Guardians of the Galaxy.  Although each of the Guardians may have their own selfish motives, they need to learn to work together in order to stop Ronan and company from ravaging much of the galaxy and killing billions of people.

This movie has been a slow crawl from green light to the big screen and it has gotten ever more exciting as it approached the silver screen.  Ever since the marketing has started, everyone's been whistling songs like Hooked on a Feeling, Spirit in the Sky, and Cherry Bomb as the new trailers come out, and the movie managed to live up to most of the hype.

Guardians is a thrill ride that is hilarious when its funny, somber when it's serious, and hardcore when it's epic.  There's a little there for everyone and it all goes down smoothly.  The script is very smart and does a good job of giving nods to the fans, giving each character their appropriate moment(s), and chewing what would by way to large of a bite out of the Marvel cosmic side for most writers or directors.

Although there are a few characters that would have been nice to see a little more of, there is so much packed into this movie's 2 hour length that it's amazing James Gunn was able to fit in some of the moments that he did.

Many of the early reviews drew comparisons to movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost ark, and while there may have been a hint of that at the film's strongest points, there were a few moments where the world building seems a little flimsy.  To James Gunn's credit, though, none of those moments were leaned upon heavily.

Most of the effects were beautiful.  James Gunn talked a lot about how the movie was planned for IMAX 3D in each shot, and it really shows, especially during any space scenes or hero shots.  Some of the green screen effects are a little more obvious than others, but never in a jarring way.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a phenomenal example of a movie that keeps its highs high and its lows low.  The moments that worked worked and were placed prominently, whereas I won't hold any weak moments against it, because Gunn knew to not dwell there too long.

Also, the music.  If you've seen a trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, you know the music is good.  I have been listening the the soundtrack for several days and can't get the songs out of my head.  Tyler Bates also has a reasonable score, which doesn't necessarily provide the best standalone listening experience, but definitely works very will in context with the movie.

There are also easter eggs galore.  Although this film takes place far far away from earth, the connection to the events following The Avengers and leading into Avengers: Age of Ultron is very clear.  No need for a magnifying glass to see where this fits in.

Guardians of the Galaxy's strongest suit is likely the guardians themselves.  Each character is not only excellently written, but perfectly cast.  James Gunn wasn't blowing smoke when he said that Rocket is the heart and Groot is the soul of this movie, but that is almost not fair to Peter Quill, Gamora, and Drax, who all serve an integral part of the emotional core of this movie.

The villains were also phenomenal, but could have gotten more screen time.  It's hard, because stuff has to get cut somewhere, and unfortunately it was the villains.  Lee Pace's Ronan the Accuser was likely one of Marvel's stronger villains, but when you are putting so much time into galaxy building and establishing the Guardians team, screen time will have to be sacrificed elsewhere.

This also marks the official end of Marvel Phase 2 films prior to the Avengers: Age of Ultron.  There's a possibility that we'll see some additional Marvel build up in agents of S.H.I.E.L.D this fall, but Guardians is definitely a good note to end on.

The idea of the Guardians meeting up with any of the Avengers in the future is definitely an exciting concept, and with James Gunn returning for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, that's definitely a possibility, but it will likely be some ways away at this point.

Most of all, Guardians of the Galaxy brings a fresh spirit to a Marvel Universe that has had a few derivative films recently.  Now that the heavy lifting is done, the implications for a much vaster—and still shared—Marvel universe are definitely a thrill for any Geek.  I'd like to say "thank you" to James Gunn, but he already said it all with the movie's first poster: "You're welcome."

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