This year has been great for comic book movies, kicking the year off with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, followed by X-Men: Days of Future Past. Having loved those movies and making Cap’ my number one Marvel movie to date you can bet your Infinity Gems my expectation for Guardians was quite high. The marketing for this was all over the place, trailers and tv spots flooded the television and internet waves and hype trains were being boarded left and right, this has genuinely been a ride that I enjoyed from the very first time artwork for Guardians of The Galaxy was released until the post-credits scene for the movie. I walked in to the theater with my Star-Lord leather jacket with a fear of being let down given the amount of trailers and tv spots I had binged on. Despite having seen a ton of footage and previews for the film I still walked away with a huge smile from ear to ear singing to the tune of Redbone’s Come and Get your love that is featured at the beginning of the film as part of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt)’s “Awesome Mix Vol. 1”, given to him by his mother who enjoyed sharing good 70’s music with him.
The film has a steady pace and is structured beautifully, with a touching opening scene featuring a young Peter Quill sitting by his mother’s deathbed minutes before she passes away and he’s abducted by Space Pirate Yondu (Michael Rooker), and his crew of Ravagers. This scene features the origin behind the walkman that Quill so begrudgingly attaches himself to in order to maintain a connection to his Terran origin. Fast forward 20 years where we find a grown up Star-Lord in a hostile planet that sets the sci-fi, space opera feel we love from movies like Star Wars, mix that with a hint of stealing-from-a-forgotten-temple antics like Indiana Jones and you’ve got yourself the funny musical title sequence for Guardians. The tone for Star-Lord’s overall character is blatantly laid out in front of us in the first 10-minutes as he delves deeper into a cave while singing and dancing to some sweet tunes.
But the movie isn’t all about Star-Lord, as the other Guardians get enough screentime to develop their characters in a satisfying way. We are introduced early on to the film’s antagonists, Ronan The Accuser(Lee Pace) a vengeful Kree working for Thanos in exchange for the destruction of the peaceful world of Xandar, and Nebula(Karen Gillan), who portrays a vicious, sadistic assassin in a surprisingly accurate way, Gillan comes a long way from the sweet redheaded companion she portrayed in Doctor Who, delivering a superb performance of villain and jealous step-sister. Among the collective of baddies stands our second Guardian, Gamora(Zoe Saldana), an assassin and another one of Thanos’s adopted daughters who’s sent to retrieve the orb from Quill.
The film is definitely stolen away by Rocket(voiced by Bradley Cooper), who brings an explosive performance as the genetically engineered Raccoon alongside his sidekick and houseplant Groot(voiced by Vin Diesel). I am Groot, I am Groot I am Groot I am Groot. Those are the three words Diesel is limited to using and in that particular order as well, however the gestures and tone in which they are delivered makes for some very funny and some feels-driven scenes.
My biggest surprise came with Drax, The Destroyer (WWE Superstar, Dave Batista) who manages to hit every joke and pun in a seamless fashion, his acting is on point, and his comedy is subtle and clever, making Drax’s scenes some of the funniest ones in the whole movie.
The visuals are phenomenal and the colors are vibrant enough to make this a Marvel movie with incredible attention to detail, I am glad that CG animation was mostly left for space battles and the Rocket/Groot duo while other alien races relied on some very crafty makeup. The film has it all, visual gags, action scenes, touching scenes, serious moments and cameo’s all shot in perfect sync without distracting from the bigger picture, not to mention one of the catchiest soundtracks ever, with songs coming on at the right time as part of the plot to keep the tone of the movie going. There’s no Deus-Ex Machina button or anything where things just work out on their own as the characters actually have to work together without it feeling forced or too convenient, I would have enjoyed a little bit more Ronan than I got, but still a solid movie that did not disappoint.
As far as superhero movies go this one is by far one of the most satisfying I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. Marvel took a risk with less than mainstream media characters that were only known by long time comic book readers, and managed to make it an enjoyable ride for all audiences with different characters to relate to. Its nice to see Marvel push the envelope and show audiences everywhere that there’s more to the Marvel universe than just Iron Man and The Avengers. I’m excited to see people learn about Thanos and the dread behind his character further beyond being just “the purple guy at the end of Avengers”
Basically what I’m trying to say is, Who wants to come watch it with me again? Guardians of The Galaxy is in my opinion 2014’s best movie to date and I might dare say, the best Marvel Studios film out at the moment. Go watch it. Its an amazing Action Adventure movie of Galactic proportions.