Cast

Chris Pratt – Peter Quill/Star Lord
Zoe Saldana – Gamora
Dave Bautista – Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel – Groot
Bradley Cooper – Rocket
Lee Pace – Ronan
Karen Gillan – Nebula

Directed by James Gunn

Written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language

Guardians of the Galaxy is the tenth film from Marvel studios. The studio is riding a rather high wave of success. They have two billion dollar hits under their belt and have decided to take a chance with their riskiest property to date, Guardians of the Galaxy. Was this a risk that ended up paying off in spades or was this the first true failure on Marvel’s part?

Review

The film starts on our familiar planet Earth, but only so we can get a bit of back story on Peter Quill and learn about his tragic past. After this brief introduction we jump ahead twenty-two years into present day. It might be 2014, but we are certainly in a different world the rest of the film. The Marvel cosmic universe has finally been introduced to us. What a wonderful universe it is. It’s full of rich characters, spectacular visuals, and a lot of heart.

The real plot of the movie begins when Peter Quill, the self-proclaimed ‘Star Lord’, obtains the orb. It’s a great little sequence that was shown off in almost every single trailer for the film. Peter has inadvertently taken an object that is wanted by almost every single person in the film. Through this McGuffin the filmmakers do a great job of quickly introducing us to the characters that are going to be taking us on a wild ride around the galaxy. There’s a great cat and mouse sequence that plays out amongst Gamora, Rocket, Groot, and Peter. It’s exciting, funny, and tells us a lot about their characters in a very short amount of time. That is, until they’re arrested by the Nova Corps.

Once imprisoned this group of misfits finally run into their fifth and final member, Drax. When the thing that brings your team together is an insanely improvised and elaborate prison break you know you’re in for a very different kind of superhero film. In fact, that’s one of the great things about this movie is that it doesn’t seem like a superhero movie at all. It just feels like a great new science fiction film. Everything in the movie begins to click and fall into place when this unlikely team is finally formed. The action is extremely well choreographed and also helps tell us new things about the characters. Sometimes it even reveals new powers that Groot has and it’s always entertaining.

The strongest aspect of this film is undoubtedly the characters and the humor that stems from them. All five of these main characters are poor lost souls that are trying to find a family that was taken from them. They just happen to find that family in the most unlikely of places, themselves. The chemistry between these characters is so good it reminded me of what Marvel was able to accomplish in the Avengers. It was so weird to see such well done and touching characters, that were CGI, not performed by Andy Serkis. I never thought I would care so much about a talking tree and raccoon, but damn it I did. I wish I could give equal praise to the villains of the picture, but I unfortunately can’t.

The only real weak thing about this movie, other than the occasional plot holes, are the villains of the picture. I understand that this was the Guardians movie and they needed to be setup and get their origin stories out of the way. That being said, they actually had some pretty good villains in Ronan and Nebula, which were completely underutilized. They were both very intimidating presences, but we get almost no real motivations for any of the actions that they do. The best I can do to explain why they’re evil is that Ronan didn’t like some peace treaty and Nebula is a jealous daddy’s girl who actually hates her dad. I don’t really know, because I don’t think the filmmakers really knew or cared either. They just needed generic bad guy for the team to rally against and defeat at the end of the movie. Another character that was rather underutilized was the Collector played by Benecio del Toro. Unfortunately he comes into the picture to do little more than spout off exposition and then leave, in one of the weirdest, most unexplained, moments in the film.

Another little nitpick of mine, but I have to mention, is the pacing of the film. The movie flies by at just over two hours in length. Normally, that’s a good thing. It means that the movie didn’t drag and it played out really well. However here it feels almost like it was done as a band-aid so you won’t notice a lot of the holes in the story. It feels like they wanted to constantly be moving on to the next set piece or have you laughing at a new joke. The more I thought about the story certain things didn’t make sense. Like, why the original buyer of the orb even wanted it if he knew what it was. I also didn’t understand why the Collector’s assistant did something, which I won’t spoil. I’m sure there’s more things, but I’ve only seen the movie once so it’s hard to recall all the little plot holes. I’m not saying this ruined the movie, I just wish they would have taken their time with things like the villains and the Collector and allowed the film sometime to breathe.

Bottom Line

This is a great new addition to the Marvel cinematic universe. It’s a completely new and original comic book film. The movie has a lot of heart, some great characters, fun action, and some spectacular science fiction visuals. If you’re a fan of any of the previous Marvel movies you’re going to like this one because it pretty much sticks to their tried and true formula for filmmaking. It has the same tone and set piece moments you come to expect from Marvel films. It’s truly, some of the most fun you’ll have in the cinema all year.

About The Author

Chase Szymanski grew up in the small town of Lapeer. It was there that he attended Lapeer West High School, home of the Panthers. In high school Chase’s love of film grew to a fever pitch. He even created the film club, which is still active to this day. He’s one of those people that try to watch every movie that comes out and will actively find movies that he’s never heard of. Chase is the type of person that will watch all of the special features on every movie that he owns because he finds every aspect of filmmaking fascinating. This is why he went to college and pursued a film degree. He became a Laker at Grand Valley State University. At Grand Valley Chase obtained a bachelor’s degree in Communication with an emphasis in film and video production. He made many short films while attending the university and began to hone his writing skills through multiple classes. Chase even went as far to write a feature length script for his thesis project at Grand Valley. After graduating in April of 2012 Chase began working for Destroy the Cyborg where he writes movie reviews and random editorials about current topics. If you’d like to know more about Chase the only way to do that is to become his friend and ask him questions about his life. Also he has a twitter where he spouts out random thoughts and other crazy things.

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