Guardians of the Galaxy is the latest blockbuster from Marvel Studios, and what appears to be the last major theatrical release of the Summer of 2014. Marvel really took a huge gamble with this movie, since it features obscure characters from one of the company's little known comic book titles. It is also the studios first venture into deep space, in an attempt to literally expand the Marvel Universe. I can gladly say that the gamble paid off in a major way.
The story revolves around Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), an earthling whom is abducted by aliens right immediately after his mother dies of cancer (talk about a bad day). He is raised amongst the stars by a group of space salvagers, and takes on the moniker of Star Lord. Quill gets into a bad situation while recovering a strange orb for a huge payoff. Apparently, there are others who want the orb for sinister purposes, including the villainous Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), who is working for Thanos (Josh Brolin), who is the evil mastermind behind some of the events that have unfolded in Marvel Studios' other movies, such as the Avengers. Quill meets up with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destoyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel), and they form the team of unlike heroes called the Guardians of the Galaxy.
This is one of the most entertaining movies that I have seen in a very long time. The story is solid, and of course, there are plenty of great action sequences and outstanding visual effects in this movie, but where this movie stands out is in its quirkiness and the number of laugh out loud moments. From the beginning of Quill's adventure, to the team's final showdown with Ronan, the humor does not stop. Even the most dramatic moments are broken up by light-hearted moments and unexpected one-liners delivered with comic perfection.
I totally expected Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper to deliver excellent comedic performances, but I was pleasantly surprised by ex WWE champion Dave Bautista's performance. He actually exhibited pretty good comedic timing in delivering his lines. Vin Diesel's tree-man Groot was limited to a total four words the whole movie (and three of the were "I am Groot"), but there was an unusual amount of depth to the character. Zoe Saldana is right at home in action movies, and was an excellent choice for the role of the assassin Gamora. Viewers get their first good look at Josh Brolin as Thanos in this movie. He was only on screen for a short time, but his impact was lasting. Lee Pace did a fine job as Ronan, but if there is any minor complaint I have about the movie, its that the main antagonist and his motives were underdeveloped, and he was completely overshadowed by the protagonists and events.
Overall, the movie was well cast and the character development in this movie is outstanding. Director James Gunn did an outstanding job creating opportunities for the audience to identify with the Guardians team within the two hour running time. The team dynamic is believable, and it doesn't take long for audience members to emotionally attach him/herself to the characters. Since there is such a heavy focus on the main characters in this movie, not a lot of time is spent explaining the background events, so if you are not already vested into the Marvel cinematic universe or you are not familiar with the source material from the comics, then you will need to pay close attention during those cut scenes. While you may not catch or understand every plot detail, your overall movie experience will not be diminshed one iota.
The Guardians of the Galaxy movie is mentioned in the same breath as the Avengers movie, as Marvel Studio's best movie to date, which is a testament to the storytelling since Guardians' license and cast are relatively unknown, compared to the Avengers' mainstream properties, buildup, and A-list cast. There is no doubt that I will be picking up the BluRay release, but I am hoping that I won't have to wait that long to see this one again. This is one of those movies that warrant multiple trips to the theater. I suggest that you check this one out. I might even go with you.
Oh...be sure to stick around for the post-credit scene. It features a surpise appearance from a (somewhat) lovable Marvel character from the past.
+ Funniest Marvel Movie to Date, Entertaining from Beginning to End, Great Characters, Good Casting, Atypical
- Forgettable Villian