Guardians of the Galaxy  movie review

By Max Maier | Aug 05, 2014

Everybody knows that Marvel is one of biggest media giants in entertainment right now. From comics, to actions figures and clothes, Marvel is a force to be reckoned with. And this is all due to their incredibly successful movie line since Iron Man in 2008. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are practically household names now, and it is because of these successful movies. The Avengers alone is one of the highest grossing movie of all time. So, in the sea of sequels involving our beloved Avengers, Marvel has made a gutsy move: take a crew of formerly D-list characters and make a big-budget film about them on the level of The Avengers. I mean, on paper, it's a space adventure with a rag tag team of characters involving a talking Raccoon and a humanoid tree that can only say "I am Groot", the odds were against it. Well, spread the word, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel's best films ever made, not to mention one of the best sci-fi movies ever.

We open up on a young boy named Peter Quill, whose mother has tragically passed away, and Peter runs outside the hospital with his backpack, containing his beloved Walkman and a present from his mom. Outside, Peter is taken away by a mysterious spaceship. We jump ahead over 2 decades later, to see Quill (Chris Pratt) has become a part of a crew of intergalactic beings that find rare items and sell them for profit. Kind of like pirates, but more established and taking bounty-like tasks. Quill has come to a planet to find a mysterious orb that his buyer will pay big bucks for. He is intercepted by a group of Kree soldiers. The Kree are an ancient race of aliens that seek out planets to conquer and add to their Kree empire. One of their leaders, Ronan the Accuser, wants this orb, for it contains a power that he plans to use for more conquest. Ronan's main focus, is the homeworld of The Nova Corp. This planet I basically like a futuristic earth, with a majority of the population being human-looking, but still scattered with colorful aliens. The Nova Corp. is an intergalactic police force, that are trying to stop the Kree from destroying worlds. After Quill escapes with the orb, Ronan orders one of his highest ranked warriors, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), to go after him.

Gamora, is a "daughter" of Thanos, the mad titan (Josh Brolin.) Thanos, as Marvel fans know, was the being who supplied Loki with his army in The Avengers, and a villain similar to The Emperor in Star Wars, but with more power and honestly, a bigger sense of fear surrounds his name. There are several moments in this movie where he is mentioned, and it always carries weight. This obviously building up to when he faces The Avengers, but I digress. Gamora heads out to capture Peter on the Nova Corp. homeworld. Meanwhile, 2 beings already there are looking to nab the bounty on Peter's head, put there by his boss, Yondu (Michael Rooker.) These beings are the infamous Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel.) Quill's dealer refuses to buy the orb because of Ronan's involvement, so Quill decides to move on. Now, Gamora is there trying to capture the orb, and Rocket and Groot are trying to capture Quill, while Quill is trying to get the heck out of there. Due to property destruction, and each persons' already impressive rap sheets, they are arrested and brought to a space prison. It is there they meet Drax (Dave Bautista), a being whose wife and child were murdered by Ronan, and resents Gamora for being associated with the Kree. It is here that Gamora reveals she was planning on taking the orb and getting away from Ronan, because she realizes how insane he is. It is in this prison, that our 5 heroes band together to escape and agree, that they need to keep the orb away from Ronan to save the galaxy.

Honestly, I should stop here, because just that broad overview is just a fraction of the content this story presents, and it is impressive. Seriously, where I leave off, is not even an hour into this 2 hour epic, and it is wonderful. Whereas films like the Iron Man and Captain America and even The Avengers, have slow parts, Guardians of the Galaxy has perfect pacing. Every scene contributes wonderfully to the plot and/or characters. The story is well written, and honestly even if you are a lifelong Marvel fan, you won't see every aspect of this story coming. This is the first super hero movie in a long time that feels mostly fresh and original. Even Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which is still fantastic) isn't as original as this. A big majority of the reason why it feels so fresh, is because Marvel has tapped a relatively unknown franchise with very obscure characters.

It is these characters that make this movie as wonderful as it is. As fantastic as the story is, it is our 5 heroes that make the film what it is. Chris Pratt as Peter Quill is one of the most enjoyable, fun and likeable characters to star in a film in recent memory. Peter is hysterical and has a ton of charisma, but he is also very heroic and can be a great leader when he needs to be. It is an achievement that he was able to bring this team together, let alone accomplish their goals. Did I mention he is funny? Because he is hysterical. Pratt as flexed his comedic talent in The Lego Movie, but here he can add is natural charisma and facial expressions to his comedy, and it is gold. It could be argued that Pratt's performance may be on par with Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, if not better. He is just that awesome.

Zoey Saldana also gives another strong performance as Gamora. Now granted, a lot of Saldana's performances are strong independent warriors, and Gamora is no exception. But here she shines because not only can she kick a lot of butt, but she can also be humorous, and not like in Star Trek where her humor was mostly reactions, Gamora has some funny lines of her own. She is a well rounded character, and Saldana's best performance yet. Speaking of which, Dave Bautista gives a great performance as Drax. Fans of Bautista will know that he got his start as a wrestler in the WWE, and has since then, returned to WWE for a little bit, but also got minor roles in other action movies. Most notably, a villain The Man with the Iron Fists. Don't watch that by the way. Here, Bautista gets to star in a big budget film, and not get outclassed by the big-name talent around him. Sure, he doesn't have a lot of acting range, but Drax is the perfect role for him. Big, mean and violent, yet Bautista can actually sell his dramatic bits and be funny as well. Most of his jokes involve his species "taking everything literally."

Then, there are arguably the 2 show stealers themselves, Rocket and Groot. We don't get much of an idea as to how long these 2 have been together, but you can easily assume it's been long enough. These 2 are priceless. Rocket is a Raccoon (and no we don't know if he was retrieved on Earth, but the argument could be made) who has undergone massive scientific experimentation, which he had to suffer through for a good chunk of his life, to make him quite unique. Rocket keeps it buried inside underneath his levels upon levels of hilarious sarcasm and wit. Being voiced by Bradley Cooper helps this, as Cooper is hysterical in this role and every line is delivered perfectly. Then you have Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Groot, as fans know, is a humanoid-tree being who can regenerate and grow at will. He is also somewhat primitive, and can only say the phrase "I am Groot." Now, make any Vin Diesel joke you want about that statement, but Diesel actually manages to sell it. Groot can only say that phrase, but he can give it different emotion and inflection each time, and Diesel does a pretty good job. Although, Diesel's performance cannot be accredited to the humor, as Groot's humor comes from his expressions and reactions (unless Diesel did motion capture work, if he did, props to him.) The CGI on these 2 characters are very impressive, as are all the effects in the movie.

The supporting cast is great as well. Ronan the Accuser is a pretty cool villain. Now granted, he isn't on the level of Loki or The Winter Soldier, but he is better than foes like The Dark Elves or even the Ring Wraiths from Lord of the Rings (I went there.) He looks cool, and he is quite intimidating. Michael Rooker as Yondu is also great. They don't really explain how he can do what he can do, but he is too cool for us to care. Rooker is funny, and I thin he channeled a little bit of Merle into this performance, the good bits anyway. Also, we finally see Josh Brolin perform as Thanos!!! And it is every bit as wonderful as we have come to expect. He is big, intimidating, and his presence is incredible. I cannot wait for more of him. The rest of the cast is good. Glenn Close and John C.Riley deliver good small performances, and there are no weak points amongst anyone.

Another thing I want to mention is the accuracy. Every character here from the comic books are faithfully portrayed. The main 5 nail it. The only thing that comes up is the Kree empire. Now granted, we are not done with them, but their style is little different from what we have seen, arguably for the best. The original style wouldn't have translated over as well, and the newer look is cool to pass. Plus, Ronan is a bit more bloodthirsty here, but not unfaithfully so. Honestly, it gives him a bit more depth, because until lately, he hasn't been given much. (Comic fans, I know recent stories like Infinity have given him depth and whatnot, but you know what I mean.)

The film feels massive. I referenced Star Wars earlier on in the review, and that's pretty accurate. The planet traveling and scenery are very reminiscent of Star Wars, or heck even J.J. Abraham's Star Trek films. It's all very impressive and very well done, from the glistening eutopia of the Nova homeworld, to the Kree mothership, to which is massive enough to feel like it's own home. The action scenes are also very impressive. The prison break-out scene is a standout, but there are plenty of other action scenes to impress.

 

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a masterpiece. It is epic, it is funny, it is smart, it is fun, and it also has an awesome soundtrack. The song choices are entertaining and fun. The acting is top-notch, especially from our main heroes. Rocket and Groot may steal the show, but I think this movie is proof that Chris Pratt can do anything in a film, and hope his career soars from here. I cannot wait for more Guardians, and oh yes, The Guardians of the Galaxy will return. And I for one, will be glued to the screen the entire time.

 

I give Guardians of the Galaxy, 5 one-liners out of 5 and my highest recommendation

 

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Rachel Robles | Aug 06, 2014 15:30

My husband and I saw this on opening night and we're seeing it again on Sunday!!! SUCH a great movie!!! I honestly did not expect the range of emotions I felt while watching it. Cannot say enough good things about "Guardians of the Galaxy!!!!"



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