Movie Name: Guardians of the Galaxy
Studio: Marvel Studios
Genre(s): Comic Book/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Comedy
Release Date(s): July 21, 2014 (Limited)/August 1, 2014 (Wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Abducted from Earth at an early age by Yondu (Michael Rooker), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) becomes the universe renown Star-Lord…unfortunately, no one but Peter knows it. When Peter goes behind Yondu’s back to collect a mysterious globe, he makes himself the target of rogue Kree agent Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), agent of the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin). Arrested by the Nova Corps, Peter finds himself teamed with an unlike group made up of Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the revenge seeking Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and bounty hunters Rocket and Groot (voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel). Now because of Peter, Ronan has one of the ultimate sources of power and it is up to the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop him…if they don’t mess it up!
Directed by James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy is the start of a new Marvel Comics franchise and the tenth film in the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” series following Captain America: The Winter Soldier also released in 2014. The movie was released to largely positive reviews and huge box office numbers. The movie received Oscar nominations for Best Makeup and Hair Styling and Best Visual Effects.
The Guardians of the Galaxy first appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes (Volume 1) #18 in January 1969. Composed of Martinex, Vance Astro, Charlie-27, and Yondu, the team was recreated in 2008 by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and this team is the team that hit the screen. I have always been a big fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy and that is why a movie about them not only surprised me but worried me.
I did not love The Avengers though many did. I thought it was long, a bit boring, and loaded with unnecessary jokes that often fell flat. Guardians of the Galaxy get the tone right for a comic book movie and felt a bit more like a Hellboy film (which I liked aspects of but didn’t love). The story was long, but kept moving, and didn’t have many slow points. It also gave enough nuggets to fans of the Guardians within the story that didn’t wreck the image of the Guardians. If you expect a ton of ties to the other Marvel movies, the film will fall short, but it does introduce Thanos more than his brief cameo at the end of The Avengers. I do however wish that the movies would start to define the different Infinity Gems which are basic generic power here (purple was traditionally the Space Gem which just allowed teleportation).
The movie is loaded with a good cast with tons of Marvel characters. Chris Pratt is charming in Parks and Recreation continues to be charming and fun and nicely paired with Zoe Saldana as Gamora. Rocket Raccoon and Groot are animated characters but Bradley Cooper does a decent job giving Rocket life and Vin Diesel has one of the easiest paychecks as Groot’s voice. Dave Bautista provides muscle as Drax (though I prefer the original comic Drax), and Lee Pace is an odd choice for Ronan but worked mostly due to his great costume. Karen Gillan doesn’t really do much as Nebula, and Djimon Hounsou is underused as Korath the Pursuer. Both Glenn Close as Nova Prime and John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey could easily have had bigger roles. I like Benicio del Toro as the Collector (who previously appeared in Thor: The Dark World) and *****Spoiler Alert***** the post credit scene also was a fun cameo by Howard the Duck (voiced by Seth Green) who I argue would still make a great comic movie if they used the old film as a means to mock comic book films in general.
My biggest disappointment in the movie was Michael Rooker’s Yondu which not only altered the character’s appearance (I miss the big fin), but also completely skewed his character. Yondu was always a peaceful monk-like character who was forced to fight…here he’s just a rather dumb brawler character with little moral character. I guess with Hawkeye on the Avengers they felt that the Marvel Universe didn’t need another archer, but I did like how they modified his Yaka arrow.
The movie has a lot of fun with visuals and it is great to see a new “space opera” along the lines of Star Wars. The goofiness of the characters provides for a lot of visual fun and the movie borrows from a lot of trite sci-fi things like space prisons and battling ships, but gives them a spin. I liked the trip to Knowhere and the brief appearance by the Celestials, and I was glad to see at least a cameo by Cosmo while the Guardians were there (but I also wish we had seen Nova among the Nova agents).
I didn’t want to like Guardians of the Galaxy and simply be another fanboy that blindly likes comic book movies because they are comic book movies…but the movie makes it hard not to like it. With a pumping sound track from Peter’s Mom’s mixed tape (does it make me more like Peter or his mom since I think I already had all the music?), Guardians of the Galaxy is a welcomed and necessary addition to the Marvel Universe. I hope that a sequel will reintroduce more of the original team and kind of continue to steer clear of the mainstream Marvel movies. Guardians of the Galaxy is scheduled to have a sequel in 2017 but the Marvel Cinematic Universe is scheduled to continue on in Avengers: The Age of Ultron in 2015.
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