Guardians of the Galaxy (Movie Review)

 

Am I alone in thinking that Ronan’s face paint makes him look kind of adorable?

Sooo……Better late than never!?!?

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

Directed by: James Gunn

Produced by: Kevin Feige

Screenplay by: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman

Based on: Guardians of the Galaxy by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

Franchise: Marvel Cinematic Universe (Tenth installment)

Genres: Superhero, Science fiction

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael  Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

Music by: Tyler Bates

 

 

Plot: Twenty-six years after he was abducted and adopted by a group of intergalactic space pirates led by Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), now a fully-fledged outlaw, has gone rogue, trying to steal a mystical orb of sorts and hopefully make some money off of it. However, his plan hits a snag when he is sent to…Uh, space prison, I guess, by the famed Nova Corps of Planet Xandar. While in the clink, he meets several interesting characters, namely a notorious assassin named Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a hyper-violent, vengeful badass named Drax (Dave Bautista), a tough-talking, trigger-happy genetically altered racoon bounty hunter named Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and finally, Rocket’s sweet-natured sidekick, a giant talking tree named Groot (Vin Diesel).

Yes, Marvel greenlit this movie instead of, say, a Black Panther or Captain Marvel movie. Two years ago, that line of reasoning was kind of confusing to everybody, wasn’t it?

Anyways, this motley group of intergalactic rejects discovers that this orb has a little bit more to it than being a shiny thing they can sell for cash, and they must travel across the galaxy in order to keep it from falling into the hands of a genocidal maniac and terrorist, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and his henchmen, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Korath (Djimon Hounsou).

This month, Marvel and Disney proved that not only can they adapt pretty much any D-list product from the annals of Marvel’s archive into a movie, they will also make a shit-ton of money off of it, and get every critic to cream themselves over it. The movie is a soli 92% over on Rotten Tomatoes and is on pace to become the highest grossing movie of the year in the U.S. and Canada, although it’s still expected to fall short of the billion dollars that Transformers: Age of Extinction made internationally.

Thanks for that, China. Fucking assholes.

So, once again, the question must be asked: Do I think that this movie as good as the critics say? Or is it just a overrated, overblown corporate CGI turd that somehow brainwashed critics into liking it?

Of course I loved it. I’m not made of stone. There are a couple big flaws though, so let’s get them out of the way first.

The first time I saw this film, I was kinda thrown off in the first act or so, as the pacing is kinda, well, sloppy. I just felt that there was too much crap being thrown at the audience to the point where the first thirty minutes or so feel busy or cluttered. It’s pretty much smooth sailing from then on, though. I guess the key is to just watch the movie multiple times until you get to the point where it doesn’t bother you any more.

One recurring fault that seems to, unfortunately, be becoming a trend in Marvel movies, is a lack of a really compelling villain (Loki, Winter Soldier and Red Skull notwithstanding). Unfortunately, Guardians doesn’t really do much to distinguish itself from the herd in this sense. It’s not that there’s anything particularly wrong with Ronan, per se. Lee Pace’s performance is great, and he feels threatening enough (If you discount the emo makeup, I mean), but his backstory doesn’t extend much beyond him being a crazy extremist. He’s good for some fine scenery chewing, but not much else. Especially when us Marvel nerds know that Ultron and Thanos are just around the corner. However, for all my carrying on about the villain, I honestly think it’s a minor problem at best. Why? Because it’s incredibly obvious that he was never ever meant to be the focus of this movie. He’s only ever onscreen when the audience is in need of some exposition, or when he’s interacting with one or more of the Guardians.

Which brings me to the main characters. As much as the special effects are fantastic, the score is phenomenal and the movie, in general, is hilarious when it wants to be and pretty heavy when it wanted to be, the best part of the entire movie is anything to do with the Guardians of the Galaxy themselves. I already kinda liked the characters, thanks to my prior knowledge of the comic book series (Albeit, not the classic ’08 series. Just the recent series.), but I downright fell in love with them in this movie. Hell, I’m already planning my Star-Lord costume for Halloween! I haven’t gotten this excited about that silly holiday since I was, like, eight and dressed up like Harry Potter!

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord is great, and while I admit that I had my doubts about him, those opening credits absolutely killed, and extinguished any worries I may have had about him. Think Han Solo crossed with Peter Venkman, and you’ll probably end up with a good idea of this character. Also, there’s a pretty cool backstory connecting him to the awesome, 80’s infused soundtrack of this movie, so listen up for that.

I liked Zoe Saldana as Gamora, in her millionth role as an alien, and her thousandth role as somebody with an unusual skin pigment, and her character had some pretty great backstory, although when listening to her dialogue, I kind of got the impression that they weren’t sure whether to make her a more modern, witty heroine (Like Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender, for example) or a more stoic, eloquent badass, like her teammate, Drax. Ah well, that’s just me nitpicking, I suppose. It worked fine, and I guess I’ll leave it at that.

Speaking of Drax, I was kind of worried that Dave Bautista would be the only weak link among the fantastic cast, considering that he doesn’t come from an acting background, and is better known as the wrestler and MMA fighter Batista, and wrestlers don’t exactly have a long and storied connection with non-wrestling visual media.

Case in point.

However, Bautista blew away my expectations. It’s not like he’s Oscar-worthy or anything, but he was irreplaceable in the part of a character who, surprislingly, isn’t merely there to kick ass and take names (Although don’t worry, there’s plenty of that too). He has some of the best lines in the movie, in terms of both comedy and drama, and he displays some pretty impressive comic timing.

And I’m not just saying that because he could mangle my puny ass, although it does play a part.

My two favourite characters though, are the consensus picks, though, being Rocket and Groot. Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper was an odd choice to voice a tough talking CGI raccoon bounty hunter and, I’ve gotta admit, it kinda smelt liked casting a celebrity for the sake of casting a celebrity. However, not once during the movie did his voice ever take me out of the movie (As even he best celebrity voices are wont to do), and he really disappears into this character.

I really love Vin Diesel as adorable Groot too. Weirdly enough, a lot of the criticism of the movie has to do with Vin Diesel voicing a character who only says a handful of different words. Could another actor have voiced Groot? Eh, maybe, but I think that Riddick did a fantastic job conveying emotion and conversation in such limited dialogue.

And besides, who doesn’t love Vin Diesel?

Overall: I don’t think it’s quite as good as The Avengers, but Guardians of the Galaxy is a fantastic sci-fi adventure that, while not faultless, is still probably the best movie of the summer.

Face it, you could do worse.

Rating: 9/10