Guardians of the Galaxy Review
Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studios biggest gamble since they started tying all their movies together. The movie releases this Friday, August 1st, and I was able to watch an early screening. How does this new team stand up against other Marvel main-stays like Iron Man and Captain America.
Blast past the jump to find out. *Minor spoilers!*
Unlike the previous Marvel Studios films, Guardians was not a well known property and it could even be said that these characters rated as Z-list. Hell, its current iteration had not been around for very long. Why would Marvel Studios risk something like this? The short answer is that they have a huge stable of characters and stories that they can bank on if Guardians can stand on its own then they are willing to proceed with the risks of the upcoming Ant-Man or rumored Dr. Strange movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy is based of the team and comic that started in 2008 by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. For old school comic book fans, this is not the original cast of the team even though Yondu does play a fairly significant role. The current roster follows Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket, and Groot. A fairly odd grouping, but one that words. In the movie, Peter was abducted as a child and raised as a Ravager by Yondu. He’s a thief very much in the same vein as Han Solo. I know it may be blasphomy to really compare characters to such classic mainstays, but Chris Pratt’s portrayal of Peter reads just like Harrison Ford’s Han. Anyway, the story starts off as Peter steals an ancient artifact from an abandoned planet. The rest of story basically revolves around the attempts to recapture/dispose of the artifact, which if you’ve kept up the lore is one of the Infinity Stones that galactic villain at the end of Avengers, Thanos, will ultimately wield in his Gauntlet. Along the way, Peter will be thrown in with the what will eventually be the roster for the Guardians.
Something special is happening with the cast of this movie. As I’ve mentioned previously, Chris Pratt is channeling a reluctant hero akin to Han Solo. Peter Quill is brash, awkward, and impulsive not to mention he loves his pop culture references. He doesn’t make if feel forced or cheesy, but brings out a lot of humor when bringing a culture the rest of the universe barely even acknowledges. The supporting cast is just on pace to stand on their own just as much. A few times on the podcast, I already guessed that Bradley Cooper’s Rocket would steal the movie; but I couldn’t be further from the truth as this is a true ensemble cast. Some would say that Avengers was another Iron Man movie but with a bigger supporting cast; but Guardians is truly a team story. Bradley Cooper’s Rocket is adorable and funny but he is not above breaking your heart. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora is a bad ass chick, plain and simple. Not to say that’s all to her character, but there’s something about Zoe Saldana’s performance where I would take Gamora over Black Widow in future movies. There’s also Dave Bautista’s Drax who takes everything literally. Every analogy or metaphor that we’ve taken for granted for as a culture is taken to hilarious heights as they never go over Drax’s head, his reflexes are too fast. Lastly, but definitely not least, Vin Diesel’s Groot is an excellent counter to the fast talking Peter and Rocket. With a myriad ways of saying “I am Groot,” Vin Diesel brings to like a character with a limited vocabulary. In essence, a better Hodor. Although I would also give a lot of credit to the animation team because they brought together a character that is always loveable. Then there is Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, the main villain of the film. Ronan is fanatical and Lee Pace’s eyes infinitely more intense than I would have thought. There is a quite bit of make up and costume for the Accuser, but Lee Pace moves with and intensity that would strike fear in anyone in the galaxy.
How was the actual movie? Seriously, it’s probably the funniest and most adventurous film I’ve seen in a long time. A while back there was a video that compared American comedy film making to that of Edgar Wright; and how Wright uses a lot of visual cues to get his jokes out there while American comedies are more talking and improv. Guardians hits a little bit of both. There are moments where characters banter back and forth but also keep an eye on the background as there is almost always something happening around them. Not to mention the Marvel references thrown in the background especially when we visit the Collector; keep an eye out for Cosmo know for his role in the comics with the team. Space epics are few and far between this day and age; Guardians is an excellent addition to the genre. Much like Abnett and Lanning rejuvenated the galactic Marvel universe in comics, Guardians may bring about a new renaissance to space/sci-fi adventures. I should also include how much the music made this movie stand out. I’m not the best person to talk about music on this site, but every time they dropped a song a 70’s/80’s pop song it would just make the film a lot of fun. The way James Gunn plays with the music in contrast to what is happening on screen makes everything just pop. My only gripe with the film is the ending. It felt as if they didn’t know how to or wanted it to end so they just took a shortcut. Obviously, it’s hard to come to a satisfying conclusion when you put someone of Ronan’s power against the Guardians but it still felt like a cheat. Even with that, this movie has my vote as the best adventure movie I’ve seen in a long time.
A fun adventure filled with music and humor. Guardians of the Galaxy showcase why Marvel Studios makes buttloads of money, because there is barely any faults with the film.