On paper, Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel Studios riskiest film to date. Here we have a set of totally unknown characters (only hardcore Marvel Comics readers are familiar with them) who get their very own movie devoted to them? At least when the whole Marvel movie universe started, most people were familiar with Iron Man. But Guardians of the Galaxy? Despite garnering a lot of good will from fans, this was definitely a gamble but did the gamble pay off?
Yes, yes. Oh, God, yes! Guardians of the Galaxy is a brilliant movie and any fan of action movies should go out and watch it now! Of course, if you want to know more about what’s good and what’s not so good about the film, read on!
Don’t worry, this will be a SPOILER FREE review.
Anyway, Guardians of the Galaxy is a story about Peter Quill, who likes to call himself “Star Lord,” who is hired to obtain an orb on a desolate planet. It turns out the orb is also being sought after by Ronan the Accuser and Nebula. Star Lord forges an uneasy alliance a group of criminal misfits. They include Gamora, highly trained assassin and daughter of Thanos (who’s the baddie that was shown during the credits of The Avengers), Drax the Destroyer, a vengeful killer who’s out to kill Ronan, Rocket, a fast talking raccoon, and Groot, a living tree who serves as Rocket’s muscle.
As this is a science fiction flick, I think most people would compare Guardians of the Galaxy to movies like Star Wars or Star Trek. For me, I think a better comparison would be something like a cross between Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity and the Indiana Jones. Like those films, Guardians of the Galaxy focuses on the characters and makes a concerted effort for you to fall in love with them.
The film essentially will succeed or fail as it focuses on these five characters. Thankfully, the ensemble cast works. Each of them is given their own time in the spotlight and the interaction between them is done incredibly well. No one here feels like dead weight or someone that can easily be replaced by someone else. Credit has to go to the writers as they’re also given some personality quirks, making them feel like real people and not just some characters in a movie.
The decision to cast Chris Pratt as Star Lord is brilliant! His portrayal of the smooth talking space rogue is enjoyable to watch. His comedic timing also helps out during the more serious scenes, instantly lightening up the mood. Dave Bautista’s Drax the Destroyer is the serious straight man during all comedic scenes and it works! He still manages to kick butt during the action sequences but I do wish we got more scenes with him. Zoe Saldana is perfectly functional as Gamora. Her backstory is pretty well written and Zoe Saldana’s portrayal is great with just the right amount of gravitas for an unfortunate character.
Among the five, it’s Rocket and Groot that steal the show… which is kind of odd since they’re the only CGI characters among the main cast. But, while watching the movie, I actually forgot they are CGI characters and I totally bought in to the “magical wizardry” of the special effects. Rocket and Groot movements are so realistic, I believed these were real characters. Bradley Cooper’s voice acting of Rocket was fantastic and totally suited the character; it certainly didn’t hurt that the anthropomorphic raccoon got all of the best lines!
I love his banter with Groot. As Groot only says three words (I Am Groot), Rocket serves as his translator of sorts but the duo are the perfect foil to each other. And even though Vin Diesel, who voices the living tree creature, only has those three words, each delivery is done differently so you can sort of understand that he is trying to say something different. Groot also manages to express what he has to say with facial expressions and body language, which is a definite nice detail.
There’s a lot of good natured humor in the movie, which almost undermines the film’s more somber moments. Take note: I said almost. The more touching scenes are still well acted, which is a credit to the James Gunn, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, as it’s like he manages to simply flick a switch between the two.
The film isn’t perfect and I can nitpick on a few points. For one thing, the very climax of the film feels like they turned on the deux ex machina just to make sure they got to the ending. Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) may be an imposing villain but is one-dimensional. He’s like Malekith, the bad guy from Thor: The Dark World: scary but no fun. I understand we all can’t be Loki, but I wish he just showed more personality. I also wanted to see more of Nebula (Karen Gillan). Her character is barely seen throughout the film, which is a shame as her character design looks fantastic.
Still, Guardians of the Galaxy is a wondrous adventure throughout the galaxy. Like the first Iron Man film, Marvel gamble paid off in spades. I hope to see more of Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket and Groot in the future.
Bottom line, go watch this film now. Oh, but stay for the credits! There is a throwaway after credits scene that only hardcore comic fans (and some fans of bad movies) will find amusing! It’s not a must watch as it doesn’t set up anything for future films… or does it?
Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? What did you think of it? Whatever your thoughts, leave them in the comment section to let me know!