Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy: A Review

Guardians of the Galaxy
Directed By: James Gunn
Written By: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman
Rated: R
Time: 121 min
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Glenn Close, John C. Reilly, Michael Rooker

Plot: From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of "Iron Man," "Thor," "Captain America" and "The Avengers," comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy" expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy's fate in the balance.

Comments: Most who know me understand that I am a fairly big Marvel fan, but until the first couple of trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy, I had never really read anything with them unless it was in passing. That has now changed.

I think one of the biggest reasons I was looking forward to Guardians was the abundance of snark and pop culture references. With all of the seriousness of Captain America 2 and the latest Thor, it was nice to see previews for something a little less...dramatic (not that I don’t love the Marvel Universe in films right now…trust me I totally do). Bonus, I really love misfits and antiheroes (looking at you Mal and Jayne). I also really like James Gunn who brought me Slither and wrote the Dawn of the Dead reboot as well as the game Lollipop Chainsaw which makes me giggle. So yeah, I was kind of psyched to see it. Which I have now done twice.

While Starlord may be the main character, it is such an ensemble piece that you cannot help but love every single one of the Guardians. Groot and Rocket are my favorite because really you cannot have one without the other. And they steal absolutely every scene that they are in. Sure Groot may just say “I am Groot”, but the big tree is one of my favorite. The CGI on him is marvelous and the expressions priceless. Same goes with Rocket who looks amazing. There were very few times that I found the CGI distracting or wholly unrealistic. Also I want a mini Groot that dances kind of like the little sun plant toy I got from Japan. Or you know a real Groot. That would be fine too. Bradley Cooper as Rocket does a great job of inserting the snark whenever and wherever possible. As a snark lover, this endears him to me. Also the Ranger Rick nickname. And he almost made me cry, stupid furball.

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill is perfect. While I am still getting to know Quill in the comics I think Pratt did a wonderful job and I cannot wait to see him again in the next Guardians film. Or other things so I am quite pleased that he is the lead in the next Jurassic Park. Gamora (Saldana) not only has amazing hair, but she brings a whole lot of kick ass to the group being an assassin and all. Even Tony Stark gives her praise in the comics. Saldana brings a grace to her and I am once again quite pleased to have a kick ass heroine in a film surrounded by male heroes. Though seriously Marvel where is my Carol Danvers film already? Finally Drax the Destroyer finishes out the group and he too is a welcome addition. While Quill constantly throws out snark, pop culture references, and metaphors Drax is the silent type. He doesn’t understand metaphors and the concept of tact. But you still like him. As I said you love the whole group.

The weakness, I think, in the film comes from the villains. I love Karen Gillan, but beyond looking amazing Nebula is fairly one dimensional. As are the rest of the villains. Again, I love Lee Pace, but Ronan is so cookie cutter compared to the rest of the vivid characters in the film. He’s definitely better than other Marvel villains (Malekith for example), but I wanted so much more. Thanos looks amazing and even his brief appearance makes me highly excited for an Infinity Gauntlet storyline. I was just a little underwhelmed by the villains is all.

And there are changes from the comic books. Yondu is certainly different and yet I like Rooker’s version of him. It works in the film. There is so much to be thrilled with this film. I look forward to meeting J’Son if we ever get that far and perhaps seeing a certain starlet in a Planet Hulk film? The film is gorgeous. Visually I dig all of the colors from Gamora’s green hued skin to the gorgeous colors of outer space. This is not a washed out film by any means and I truly loved watching it all. Finally, the soundtrack is wonderful. Full of 80’s pop songs it completely complimented the film.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema. I haven’t laughed this much since the Lego Movie and it is a welcome addition to the Marvel Universe. Shame it will be another couple of years until I get the next one.

4/4 popcorns

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