Guardians of the Galaxy review – Marvel brings space thrills

 

Guardians of the Galaxy has been billed as the most out-there, bizarre and wacky of all the Marvel Studios films. In truth, it’s all that and then some leading to the most fun-filled Marvel movie yet.

 Jay Maidment/Marvel Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)

Far beyond New York or even the realm of Asgard, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt, The LEGO Movie ) is an intergalactic thief known as Star-Lord. He stumbles onto a mysterious orb that immediately attracts a ton of attention. Namely Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), who places a bounty on Quill’s head in order to get it.

Pratt has always been that solid supporting performer, but he shows here he was more than ready for the spotlight. In his care, he takes a character who was taken from Earth as a child into a smooth, cocky hero. Pratt carries Guardians with a breezy, self-assured confidence like he’s regularly carried films. And he’s the ideal every man to make sense of the rest of the bizarre occurrences.

guardians-of-the-galaxy- Groot, Rocket, Star Lord and Gamora

Numerous factions come calling for the bounty. First is Ronan’s enforcer, Korath (Djimon Hounsou, Baggage Claim) and Quill’s fellow thief/mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker, The Walking Dead). The deadly assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana, Star Trek: Into Darkness) seeks the orb for other reasons. But the bounty hunters Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are a pair likely to split the audience favorite vote with their scene-stealing antics.

Marvel Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) and Nova Corp Officer (Peter Serafinowicz)

Director James Gunn quickly reinforces the notion that this is unlike other Marvel Studios films. Gunn goes all-in with the vastness of Marvel Comics’ space universe. Guardians showcases a galaxy of alien beings and the Nova Corps, Marvel’s analogy to DC’s Green Lantern Corps. At least they back some quality actors with Glenn Close as Nova Prime and her lieutenants John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz.

 

 

Quill convinces Gamora, Rocket and Groot to work together to keep the orb out of Ronan’s hands. In the process they gain another ally in the powerhouse Drax (WWE superstar Dave Bautista. Bautista makes Drax another winning character with his knack for taking everything literal. Drax has his own vendetta against Ronan and his leader Thanos (Josh Brolin).

Marvel Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt).

With a playful, fun-spirited look at a group of misfits coming together, Gunn and co-screenwriter Nicole Perlman make Guardians of the Galaxy completely unique from its comic book movie peers. There’s a greater sense of playfulness and unpredictable adventure. While the Avengers may prevent New York from being invaded, the Guardians are in large part creating their own issues.

Marvel Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel)

At times Gunn and Perlman try too hard to be funny. It’s not needed since the Guardians are immensely likable and fun to watch interact. Guardians packs a bit more fanboy references than other films. There’s a slew of Easter Eggs not even counting the final post-credit scene.

 

Ronan is one of the better Marvel Cinematic Universe villains. He’s cold, merciless and cruel. He’s not a quote machine like Loki or a pawn like The Winter Soldier. Pace uses his commanding tone to make Ronan a genuine threat, which is necessary for bad guys taking on a team.

Marvel Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace)

Still, perhaps the most exciting moment in the film features the full appearance of Thanos, who continues to be positioned as the Marvel Studios’ ultimate evil. Thanos gets the perfect amount of screen time to whet your appetite for an extended role. That presumably is slated for the third Avengers film.

 

Beyond the action and excitement, the film’s soundtrack is a nice surprise. Comprised largely of hits from the 1970s and 1980s, its throwback vibe gives Guardians an 80s Marvel blockbuster feel.

Marvel Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper).

Gunn handles the action moments well despite this being his first big blockbuster-sized film.

In the Marvel Studios’ pantheon of movies, it’s just a notch below the top tier films Marvel’s The AvengersCaptain America: Winter Solider and Iron Man. Considering this is just the Guardian’s first outing, the follow-up could jump right to the top of the MCU films. It’s a testament to the Marvel Machine that it can make seemingly any of its infinite properties a buzz-worthy blockbuster.

Marvel Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) and Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt).

Guardians of the Galaxy is a feel good blockbuster done exceptionally right. By the time its sequel arrives in 2017 it and not Warner Bros’ Justice League could prove to be the biggest challenger to the Avengers’ superhero box office supremacy.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel

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  • Fred

    Thanks for another fine review Jeff, I’m glad you enjoyed the film bro and it didn’t let you down. From your review and what many other reviews have said it sounds like GOTG is a very good solid to outstanding film, I think this is the best possible start to this franchise Marvel could have hoped for. Marvel is just on a roll right now. ‘Ant-Man’ appears to be the closet thing to a weak link for Marvel right now and if that film succeeds at the box office, I just don’t see a drop off for this company anytime in the near future. Sure a drop off will eventually happen, but it might be a very long time before we begin to see that. One more thing Jeff, I’m definitely not asking you what it is because i’ll find out tomorrow when I see this film, but I’m assuming there is another after credits scene besides that Howard The Duck one, am I right about that?

  • keith

    I think im going to tonight. The aerial scenes won me over. I will just pretend this is my star wars and a less dreary star trek.

  • keith

    fred did you see the fan made black panther film. tchalla is a little violent to say the least but it was so good to be made with a shoestring budget

  • Fred

    No Keith I haven’t seen it, is it available on Youtube? It probably gives you a general idea of how amazing a BP film would be with a big budget and imagination.

  • Thanks for the compliment my friend!
    I was hoping this wouldn’t be the weak link as it allows MS so many more options of what their movie universe can be and this definitely won’t hinder anything.

    No, that was the scene I was talking about.

  • It definitely has a solid sci-fi vibe to it. I’m sure you’ll like it Keith!

  • Fred

    I see, yeah I was definitely aware of the Howard The Duck scene. That being said my man, I think there’s something else you’re telling me and personally I’m glad you’re not haha.

  • keith

    Yep. a friend sent me the link today. I tagged jeff and begged for a post on it… so there is that. It was cool. It was low key, realistic, and violent lol… but good. I think if tchalla lower his death count they are within a good range.

  • keith

    i cant get youtube on my work cpu lol or facebook

  • Fred

    I see, well i’ll definitely trust your word that it’s good. Wish I could see it though haha.

  • I loved this movie so very much. Seriously. Good review Jeff.

  • I think it went into the spam folder. I definitely will post thoughts on it.

  • Thanks Dan. It was a lot of fun!

  • Fred

    Jeff I meant to say I think there is something you’re ‘not’ telling us about another after credits scene, which if true I’m glad your not telling us man lol.

  • keith

    I saw… I like them. Not blown away but not disappointed that I went. Zoe is the go to sci fi chick I see. 3 freaking sci fi franchises. pockets must be fat.( just stay away from nina simone zoe!!). Pratt is going to become a more well known name and face. Im just amazed he was just playing a fat guy or the jerk from wanted or the jerk from take me home. Now is a damn franchise player. who knew. Bautisa did a damn good job and im sure kids ( a little foul mouth for kids but im sure they all seth mcfarlane brainwashed) will all want a rocket toy very soon lol. I give it a strong strong 7. I can easily become a good watchable cable tv movie over the next 20 years like how these flicks used to find a home on tbs or tnt. How much do you predict it will open. I will say 75 mil. I think its sucks for the james brown movie but I think those two are perfect counter programming. Maybe they both will do great.

  • Universal baffled me completely putting this against Guardians. I think it will get smoked due to poor scheduling. This was the last real summer blockbuster and waiting until next week to go against TMNT or Into the Storm would have been a lot easier road.

    As for Guardians, I’m thinking $68-$70M.
    Glad you enjoyed it and definitely see this becoming an FX staple.

  • Nope. Far as I’m aware, that’s all there is. Sorry. 🙁

  • keith

    YEAH, why didnt they just wait a week. Because didnt this move up? GoTG picked a good week. But dont count out the power of soul brother number one. I think your peers are being harsh to it.

  • It’s at 80% on rottentomatoes.com. Actually better than I thought it’d be.

  • keith

    Oh one more GOTG thing… who ever played the purple space redneck did a good frightening job. There are a lot of guys like that around my way..

  • Michael Rooker, played a similar character on “The Walking Dead.”

  • Fred

    Jeff you’re right, it would have been much better to release “Get On Up” a week or two later, that’s why it’s opening weekend will be weaker that in normally would have been. Had Universal released it a week or two later it probably would have opened in the 20 plus million range as opposed to the mid teens range it seems to be headed this weekend. All that being said, this film is about one of the greatest entertainers and icons of all time, it’s gotten really good reviews and it’s a biopic meaning there’s nothing else like it around. While it’s not going to have a big opening weekend, I think it’s going to play very well throughout August and September and will wind up having a very successful run at the box office in the long run. It’s probably a film that will play in theaters through December, so I has time to make noise and money. With GOTG making 11 million last night which topped even ‘Cap 2’s’ 10 million early showings, I think it’s safe to assume it’s going past 70 million, it could get as high as 80-85 million this weekend now.

  • Don’t forget that in a lot of cases the Friday turnout is for the really enthusiastic fan base who were excited about Guardians. Not that it can’t reach $85M, but it may be a bit too optimistic.

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  • Fred

    Alright, I guess they just gave one after credits scene with this movie. I’m cool with that, just please don’t throw no damn Howard The Duck movie in ‘Phase 3’, that would be the goofiest s…..Marvel could ever do man lol.

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  • Just got home from seeing this and I agree with a lot of your points. I did really enjoy the movie and I think it was the shot in the arm that the Marvel Universe needed, the most stand-alone movie in awhile.

    My only annoyance with the movie was how Gamora suddenly softened in the third act. For most of the movie, Zoe Saldona gave us a tough character, even used her most badass voice and was quite a force to be reckoned with. Then when they are trying to convince Blue Merle to let them go because they have to save her universe, she keeps using this very soft, wavy voice. It really threw me. It felt like an easy way to make Star-Lord seem stronger but, I dunno, it bothered me because she kept talking like that for the rest of the movie.

    Otherwise I loved it. And I kinda loved the goofy soundtrack too. Def. adding this to the collection once it’s on blu-ray.

  • Fred

    Well My friend, I guess that 85 million wasn’t too opportunistic at all. 94 million whoa, it’s obvious that in this day and age Marvel is the most dominant and potent studio in terms of cranking out box office hits that reach movie audiences, and that fact that all 10 of their films have received at least good to great reviews doesn’t hurt the matter. I know all good things come to end as even marvel’s reign will eventually, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon and I think they’re here to stay for a very long time. The key will be introducing fresh new franchises like GOTG along the way, so expect to see Ant-Man, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Ms. Marvel and the Inhumans among others down the line, that is if Marvel Studios is smart like I’m assuming they are. One thing you can’t say about GOTG is you’ve seen it before, no you haven’t, not with those cast of characters and misfits.

  • Fred

    LOL yeah the soundtrack music was definitely pretty crazy, until I got to the Motown classics that is.

  • LOL. Naw, I suppose not. Happy to be wrong in this case.

    I wonder how they could pull off Inhumans, a group I’ve always liked, but kinda struggle thinking of a definitive story for them.

    Dr. Strange and Black Panther would be great films to further branch out from the superhero norm and I’d love to see a Ms. Marvel film.

  • That’s a really good point. Gamora was the one character who had a bit of a disjointed story arc and was a bit flat to me. Even her betrayal of Ronan seemed abrupt. With a sequel, I’m hoping she gets more development.

    Yep. It’s definitely a must-buy for me. Course I only haven’t gotten one MU film on blu-ray so I’m kinda biased 😉

  • Fred

    Yes indeed my friend, obviously we will soon be seeing films for Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Ms. Marvel and the Inhumans over the next few years. Like GOTG those films will help keep Marvel fresh and innovative for a very long time where movie audiences don’t start to get a little long in the tooth watching the same characters over and over, like GOTG is showing sprinkling new characters in your line up is a very wise decision. IMO only Marvel can slow down Marvel now, and that would be by becoming to repetitive and not introducing fresh new characters on the big screen down the road. Marvel has been fantastic with promoting and marketing their films since ‘Iron Man’, they sold the hell out of GOTG and there is no doubt in my mind they could do the same with Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Ms. Marvel, Inhumans and even Ant-Man. Dr. Strange and Black Panther we’re already coming down the pipeline IMO anyway, but I think with the success of GOTG, it should all but seal the deal on Marvel making an Inhumans and Ms. Marvel film as well.

  • Yeah, I’ve no doubt we’ll see the mining every potential group of characters. Really hope we can see more and more Marvel characters coming as well as a more proper Defenders movie.

  • Fred

    Yes, a ‘Defenders’ movie would be real cool too.

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