Guardians of the Galaxy Review

When Marvel Studios first announced they would be making a film based on the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' comics, most of us weren't sure what to expect. Hell, most of us weren't even sure who the Guardians were, myself included. Marvel Studios may have taught us to love Iron Man, Captain America and even the vanilla Avenger himself, Thor, but these are all top tier characters that are an essential part of Marvel Universe cannon. The Guardians on the other hand are a bunch of space misfits with a talking raccoon. Throw in a loose cannon like director James Gunn (who I still haven't forgiven for Scooby Doo by the way) and fans start to get nervous. In short, Guardians of the Galaxy felt like a huge risk.

Then that first trailer hit and geeks everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. The effects looked great, the humor hit the mark and the casting was spot on. But more importantly, it was obvious that Marvel Studios were in on the joke. They knew most cinema goers didn’t know or care who the Guardians of the Galaxy were so they created a galaxy where everyone felt the same way.

That's more or less the heart of this film; it's about five losers with a criminal record coming together
to save the galaxy. Making up the team is Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) who essentially is a merging of Han solo and Indian Jones, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) the most dangerous woman in the galaxy and daughter of Thanos, Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) a genetically enhanced raccoon with a thing for firearms, Drax the Destroyer (Dave Batista) a homicidal maniac who's only goal in life is to avenge the death of his wife and child, and last (but certainly not least) we have Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) a walking tree with a very limited vocabulary.

Our five would-be heroes, although initially brought together by greed but resulting in a very loose partnership of convenience, eventually band together to stop Ronin the Accuser (Lee Pace) from blowing up the Nova Corps’ (more or less the galactic police force) home-world. Although this plot isn't exactly what one would call inspired, it certainly works. The film feels well paced with heartfelt character moments being punctuated by thrilling blockbuster-grade action.

As expected Chris Pratt brings his A-game to the role of Peter Quill. Not only is he hilarious, not too surprising given the six seasons of Parks and Recreation under his belt, but he manages to pull off the action hero elements of the character as well. Saldana and Cooper also make for strong additions to the team although this was more or less expected from actors of their caliber.

Then we get to Drax the Destroyer... Given all that Drax has to do is get angry and mindlessly charge into battle, whilst occasionally talking smack, wrestler Dave Bautista seems like the perfect choice, given that's pretty much what wrestlers do. He's big, he's fierce and although any hulking angry male actor could have filled the role, the Rock was busy doing his laundry and Vin Diesel was already voicing Groot.

And while we are on the topic of Groot, who would of thought a character who could only say 'I am Groot' would steal the show!?!? Seriously that woody hunk of CGI can emote, and apart from being able to do pretty much anything the script required of him (his loosely defined abilities seem to get more and more powerful as the film goes on) he also acts as the heart and soul of the team.

Don't be deceived, although the words 'a James Gunn film' which appear during the opening sequences would make you think otherwise, this is not a James Gunn film. Sure it pushes the limits on occasion and it certainly possess that dark and off-beat James Gunn sense of humor, but overall Guardians of the Galaxy is very much a Marvel Studios film. Don't get me wrong, I mean that in the best way possible. Marvel Studios make highly entertaining and commercial films, just be warned that if you thought Guardians was going to change-up the formula you would be wrong. It's fun, hilarious and action packed but it also stays in very safe territory.

In Guardians of the Galaxy we have the product of everything Marvel Studios has been working toward: a streamlined superhero flick that is as bulletproof and commercial as it is lovable and entertaining. The plot plays out like a well oiled machine, the highs and lows are all exactly where you would want but also expect them. Don't go into this movie expecting to be surprised, because you won't be. The coat of paint may be different, but underneath it all is the same fine-tuned muscle car that we have seen in this latest wave of Marvel films (I speak namely of the sequels to Thor and Captain America).

But hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it right? And there is certainly nothing broken about Guardians of the Galaxy. It's exciting, fun, and well worth your time if you have enjoyed any of the previous Marvel films.

- Christof

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