Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Glen Close, John C. Reily, Lee Pace
Rating: Rated PG13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan.
Going into the "Guardians of the Galaxy" I knew nothing about the property outside the main characters established in the trailer and I believe that works when it comes to seeing this film because it makes the story that more immersing. What makes the movie stands out is that it is so different from all the other superhero movies we get, because even though films like "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" are good movies they also follow a same beat that all superhero movies take on and it was just refreshing to see something different. I'm only give a vauge description of the film as its best to go in blind to the movie, but I feel the best part of the movie was the interaction of these characters. The chemistry between Groot, Rocket, Quill, Drax, and Gamora felt so natural that all these characters who weren't human felt human and it made them that much better to watch on screen. While the plot of the film is interesting in the form of its main characters, it does sacrifice and intriguing main villain for it. Ronan felt very by the numbers evil bad guy. There wasn't a lot given to his character and his moments on screen were more boring. Not to say he was the worst thing ever but in the main scheme of things he will most likely go unremembered. It felt like his prescence was only really made to help establish the Guardians as a team and introduce a much bigger threat for future films.
As much as I was skeptical of "Guardians of the Galaxy" I was even more skeptical of James Gunn as the director. To be fair to James Gunn though the only film I've seen of his was "Super" which I only thought was decent and I thought when he was announced as the director that it was an odd choice, but after the success of The Russo Brothers with Captain America 2 and now James Gunn with Guardians I really believe Marvel has a good hand how to pick talent out for thier movies. James Gunn is able to find a good way to establish his brand of humor with in this much bigger universe. It was able to feel like a more polished version of a James Gunn film. The film had good humor, the visuals were very good even for seeing the film in 2D you are still able to feel apart of this world. If I had to bring a complaint about Gunn's directing is that the film is a little too jokey. The film takes itself so light that its hard to feel any stakes in the film because the film would even be making jokes in the intense action sequences and it took away from the moments on screen. I feel though if he finds a way to balance this better in sequel it will help elevate the film to an even higher level because this franchise has a lot of potential now with how its been set up.
For mainstream audiences this film pretty much offers an unknown cast and actually liked that because most of the time with these big blockbuster films its the same actors and actresses playing different roles. Pratt proves that after this movie and the earlier "The Lego Movie" that he has leading man potential. He is able to lead the film flawlessly and becomes a real character to attach to in the midst of all this interglactical battles. The supporting cast of this film is just as great. Batista, Saldana, Cooper, and Diesel all give some of their best performances in a while. Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel might still the show as Rocket and Groot. The two characters I thought might be the worst ended up being the best was a pleasant surprise and I can't wait to see more with them. The film also bolsters great talent in small roles as Glen Close and John C. Reilly offer up great performances in small roles that just make the film even better. My only complaint and I know the actor is talented because I've seen it and thats Lee Pace as Ronan. I don't know what it was about the character that irked me but the performance felt one note and it was hard to attach to him and his story arc in the film. His role really just felt like a stepping stone to something bigger which I really hope comes to fruition.
James Gunn and Nicole Perlman take up writing duties for "Guardians of the Galaxy" and they bring a great grounded take to this very big space universe. Most space movies do their best to show how different space is from Earth but they do a good job of showing how even though the universe is different that it really similar to the world we live in and that they are people just like us. The humor in this film is good as well as the interaction and banter between all the characters was rolling on the floor funny. The soundtrack to the film is also very memorable as the 70s soundtrack also just adds to the experience of seeing this movie on screen. There are parts where I would have like the comedic elements to balance better with the dramatic elements but that's not the film "Guardians of the Galaxy" was trying to be and for a summer superhero blockbuster that's fine.
Overall "Guardians of the Galaxy" was a very pleasant surprise, as much as I was dreading seeing this film it was great to be proven wrong. The film offered the most fun I have had at the theaters in a long time and I can't imagine anyone leaving this film not smiling and excited for the future of this unusual franchise.
Final Grade: 4.2/5 (A-)