The Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel's big gamble based on an obscure comic book of the same name about a group of misfits and outlaws that band together for various reasons to save the day.
Marvel does it again with Guardians of the Galaxy being one of their best and most accessible films to date. Director, James Gunn, gives us one of the most unique, entertaining, and hilarious adventures ever put to film. It is like a combination of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Mass Effect, and Firefly, packed full of 80s references, action, and absurdly lovable characters. Even if you have never seen a Marvel film, there is so little connection to the main universe that it does not matter, yet there are still plenty of Easter Eggs for the fans like myself.
Directed by: James Gunn
Genre: Comic Book, Action, Action Comedy, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Running Time: 122 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Lovable cast of characters, Pitch perfect humor, Subverts typical clichés, Surprising emotional depth, 80s movie references, 100% believable special effects, Jokes always hit the mark, Unique in every way, Stunning visual style, Impressive action sequences, Rocket and Groot often steal the show, Excellent performances across the board, Fun after credits scene, Fantastically quirky opening scene, Unrivaled licensed soundtrack, Endlessly entertaining, Great score, Quirky style and humor, Unforgettable quotes, Nearly perfect,
Plot: 10/10- Except for a brief 5 minute segment that provides some clunky exposition about the antagonist, Guardians of the Galaxy's pacing is absolutely perfect. It never slows down too much, nor is it ever too fast. The plot progresses without any hitches in logic or trying to be over complicated with its use of science fiction elements. Whenever you think you know what is going to happen next, the movie subverts the usual clichés in many often hilarious ways, almost like it was written by Joss Whedon! James Gunn's style is quirky, fun, and endlessly enjoyable. His style is in-your-face and unforgivingly his own, and that is my type of filmmaking!
Characterization: 10/10- In 122 minutes, we are introduced to five absurdly lovable characters that have pitch perfect chemistry. I cannot remember a better standalone ensemble film since The Lord of the Rings.
Instead of forcing character backstory through flashbacks or other mechanisms, each of the character's past troubles is organically integrated through character interaction and dialogue. *Possible Spoiler* In many ways, each character's backstory is very tragic and sad. *End Spoiler*
Each of the characters is introduced and is given ample development and backstory for the audience to genuinely care about them. There are some shockingly emotional moments throughout the film that add depth to make the film more than just a fun action comedy.
Chris Pratt knocks it out of the park as Peter Quill/Star Lord. He plays the likable, almost Han Solo like, rogue to perfection. His backstory and opening scene is surprisingly poignant, which makes connecting to the character easy for the audience. Zoe Saldana as Gamora sells the green makeup with a very fierce and strong performance that never delves into being sassy like so many others. Her noble warrior personality clashed humorously with Peter Quill's cocky rogue attitude brilliantly.
Thanks to the type of deadpan, stoic character that Drax is, wrestler, Dave Bautista, is actually fine in his role. Drax is one of the many hilarious parts of the film due to his misundering of Peter's metaphors and expressions, and his backstory is effectively portrayed.
Bradley Cooper as Rocket steals the show being both lovable and tough with excellent delivery that makes me forgot how much I wanted to hear Rocket with a cockney accent like the comic books. Out of all the characters, Rocket is the most compelling character of the group. Groot, despite only being able to say "I am Groot," is such a lovable character. He is able to convey a wide range of emotions through his expressions so that the audience understands what he is thinking.
The main antagonist, Ronan the Accuser, is no Loki, but he is a solid antagonist for the film. He is a space psychopath that enjoys killing, and he has about as much motivation for doing what he does as the Joker.
In many ways, Nebula, the secondary antagonist, is a more compelling character than Ronan with her character being given some depth. Her conflict, albeit minor to the overall plot, with Gamora added a surprisingly about weight to certain parts of the movie.
Action: 10/10- Guardians of the Galaxy's action runs the gamut from sci-fi shootouts, to close-quarters-combat, to exhilarating space battles. The film's action is able to set itself apart from other comic book films with the heavy science fiction elements with cool weapons and stunning visual effects.
Acting: 10/10- Considering how out there the entire film is, the cast nails it making the strange new universe believable. Thoughts on main cast are under Characterization. Michael Rooker and John C. Reilly are a lot of fun as humorous side characters, and Glenn Close does not do a lot in the film, but what she does is good. The rest of the cast all do a top notch job without a weak performance among the cast.
Special effects: 10/10- Wow, Guardians of the Galaxy's special effects are some of the best that I have ever seen!
The two main CGI characters, Rocket and Groot, are the most believable ones since Gollum in the Lord of the Rings. They are believable and you never feel for a moment that these guys are just computer generated characters. You can see the emotion on the characters' expressions! With almost everything in the film taking place on distant planets, the set design and special effects are very unique and inspired. A lot of risks were taken with the visual aesthetic, and they all worked! Seriously, every single frame is full of visually interesting. Not for a second is anything about the film boring or dull.
Soundtrack: 10/10- Hands down, Guardians of the Galaxy has the best use of licensed music in any film. As a fan of 70s and 80s music, James Gunn's use of various songs like "Hooked on a Feeling" perfectly compliments the film. Tyler Bates' score, which was composed before filming the movie so that James Gunn could film to the music, is top notch with music that fits every scene perfectly.
Humor: 10/10- Guardians of the Galaxy's humor is 100% spot on. Not only it is the funniest action comedy, it is one of the funniest movies that I have ever seen, yet the story can still be taken seriously. Never before have I seen humor in an action comedy hit the mark every single time!
Of course, humor is subjective, but the bevy of 80s movie and pop culture references are positively hysterical! Even though I was not born in the 80s, I love 80s movies, so I got most of the references ranging from Ninja Turtles to Raiders of the Lost Ark. All of the humor is clever, smart, and is integrated perfectly into the film. As soon as you think something typical and clichéd is about to happen, something hilarious happens that subverts the cliché.
Entertainment Value: 10/10- A 10 on Entertainment Value is massively under cutting it. This summer has been packed with entertaining modern classics, and none have been more entertaining than Guardians of the Galaxy. I am going to buy this film, and I am going to watch over and over again.
Overall: 10/10- Guardians of the Galaxy is bold and audacious filmmaking at its finest with James Gunn's complete disregard of typical genre conventions that care more about making a unique film than a generic crowd pleaser, yet it surely does please. Guardians of the Galaxy is like a cult classic with lovable quirky characters and endlessly quotable dialogue, except with box office success and a big budget; what more could you ask for?!
Closing comments: "Ooga-Chaka Ooga-Ooga, I'm hooked on a feeling. I'm high on believing. That Guardians of the Galaxy is the best movie of the year!"
Recommended for: Everyone, Comedy fans, Action fans, Sci-Fi fans, Action Comedy fans, Marvel fans, Comic Book fans,
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