Guardians of the Galaxy Review
Guardians of the Galaxy was always going to be a risky venture for Marvel Studios. Unlike more recognizable comic book characters such as Iron Man, Hulk or Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy instead introduced us to a talking raccoon, a tree that can only say three words and a whole new universe. However, with great risk comes great reward and Guardians of the Galaxy may well be the best Marvel movie yet.
Directed by James Gunn and starring Chris Pratt as Peter Quill aka Star Lord, Guardians of the Galaxy follows Quill as he quickly becomes the object of a bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb. Quill is forced to become allies with an unlikely bunch of misfit criminals including the assassin Gamora played by Zoe Saldana, Drax the Destroyer played by Dave Bautista, Rocket the Raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper and Groot, a tree-like creature voiced by Vin Diesel. Their aim is to stop the orb falling into the wrong hands, namely those of Ronan the Accuser who seeks the orb for nefarious purposes realizing the power held within it.
The film is an enormous amount of fun to watch and is easily Marvel’s most comedic adventure yet. There are many laugh out loud moments from all of the main characters from Quill’s displaced 80’s references, to Drax’s serious and literal interpretation of everything he hears to Rocket’s sardonic and witty sense of humour. The film never takes itself too seriously and recognizes the outlandish nature of these characters. Few, if any jokes fall flat, with Chris Pratt standing out as the roguish, charming and brash hero of the film. The opening sequences of the film move from tragedy to comedy with hilarious juxtaposition and are a thrill to watch throughout.
Suffice to say though, that this film is not all about the comedy. This is an ensemble movie that works most of all because of the dynamic between the different characters. Not only does James Gunn introduce us to these characters in a very authentic and endearing way but he also develops them and their relationships with one another, making their decision to team up and trust one another feel genuine and understandable. In short, they all need one another, Quill has made too many enemies and needs people to watch his back, Drax is obsessed with revenge and needs friends to help him let go while Gamora cannot defend the galaxy on her own. The different and subtle aspects of these characters lead to some of the best moments in the film and you find yourself really caring about these characters despite the fact that some of them are computer generated.
On top of a new team of heroes, Marvel Studios also had a wider aim in mind when they decided to bring Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen. The Marvel cinematic universe is well-known for its easter eggs and hints at which direction future films could go but with Guardians of the Galaxy, a new challenge presented itself namely, how to introduce a wider, cosmic and altogether more fantastical universe to audiences. Much of this responsibility was placed on James Gunn and he achieved this aim with ease. The universe and worlds featured within it feel immersive, expansive and interesting. The introduction of new and different races and species is not lingered upon but rather shown to you straight away. This works very well, as it assumes that the audience can handle this new element without questioning who or what all these beings are which isn’t necessary in a film that knows who its stars are, the Guardians themselves.
The great performances from the Guardians themselves as well as supporting characters such as Michael Rooker’s Yondu and Karen Gillan’s Nebula are matched by an entertaining and zany soundtrack. Songs from the 80’s populate the film as a backdrop to Peter Quill’s forages through space and supplements the plot in often hilarious ways. As we’ve come to expect from a Marvel movie, the action is breathtaking and exhilarating with the added distinction this time of being distinctly sci-fi. Far from being a shallow affair, Guardians of the Galaxy also has heart in abundance, Peter Quill’s past is tragic and all of the characters have baggage in some way, making them seem more human and realistic. One of the great things about Guardians of the Galaxy is that it feels like classic Star Wars and yet has its own unique style and place in the Marvel cinematic universe.
The only low point in the movie is the villain. Much like Christopher Eccleston’s Malekith in Thor 2: The Dark World, Ronan the Accuser suffers from little to no back story or history. His motivations are without a doubt malicious and dangerous to the Guardians and the universe, but how he came to be or why are left unexplored. This is partly due to the Guardians themselves taking up much of the screen time, a necessity in some respects as these new characters need to be developed and introduced. Nevertheless, Ronan while benefiting from a solid performance from Lee Pace, felt a little underwritten in my opinion.
To conclude, Guardians of the Galaxy rivals The Avengers as the best Marvel movie yet. Packed full of laughs, action and adventure, the film succeeds in introducing audiences to a larger than life cast of characters that are not only fun and entertaining to watch but that are also captivating and endearing.
Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? Share your thoughts on the film in the comments below.