In recent years, Marvel has gone where no other franchise has gone before: interwoven, high budget individual stories (movies and television) in one big Marvel “universe.” At this point, Marvel’s spot as a powerhouse in the box office is relatively safe. And as a result, it looks like Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was given a lot of freedom to take a bunch of crazy risks.
The result is…AWESOME…for lack of a better word.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, there was Star Lord: legendary outlaw…what, you’ve never heard of him? Neither has anyone else. His real name is Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and he was abducted as a kid by a group of alien pirates called the Ravagers after his human mother died from cancer. The Ravagers take him on as a surrogate son of sorts and give him a cool leather jacket and a false sense of bravado. Star Lord: legendary outlaw, with a combination of Han Solo’s smarm and Luke Skywalker’s naiveté.
Years later, Peter ditches the Ravagers and is jamming out on his Walkman when he stumbles across a mysterious orb on the ruins of a planet, which according to Peter, has an “Ark of the Covenant, Maltese Falcon sort of vibe.” Later, Peter discovers that intergalactic baddie Ronan the Accuser is after the orb, which apparently has the power to kill billions of people.
Star Lord teams up with a group of criminals after they break out of a high security prison together: the enigmatic Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). They’re a rag tag group, but together, they just might be able to save the galaxy from Ronan.
I was hooked (on a feeling) as soon as I saw the first trailer for this movie:
A talking raccoon? Andy from Parks and Recreation with muscles? Blue Swede? What was this? I’d never heard of it..and for good reason, since the Guardians are (i.e were) one of the lesser known Marvel comics. After a quick visit to the comic book store, I picked up one of the Guardians’ adventures and devoured it. It was like the Avengers…in space!
Needless to say, my expectations for this movie were high. And it still did not disappoint.
The movie kicks off with an adult Peter dancing around and singing along to “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone as the opening credits roll. This sets the tone for the whole movie. After years of having the “dark, gritty” superhero film, I forgot how much fun they could be.
And Guardians is a LOT of fun.
The performances work well together. Chris Pratt layers on the charm as Star Lord and Zoe Saldana brings a fierce intensity to Gamora. Dave Bautista is actually pretty hilarious as Drax, as his tendency to take everything literally lends for comedic moments. And although Rocket and Groot are CGI, they steal the show. I’m just saying, I’d watch a buddy movie about those two. The soundtrack itself is almost a character, with everything from Cherry Bomb to The Pina Colada Song.
Although the five Guardians are not superheroes, but they each have their own origin story. Sadly, the movie doesn’t have enough time to go into a lot of detail for each of the main characters. A lot of side characters, like Gamora’s sister Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Nova Prime (Glenn Close) are not given much to do, but they hold their own.
My only disappointment is that the Star Lord/Gamora pairing happened really quickly, although it did lead to one of the best phrases in the film: “Pelvic Sorcery.”
The best way I can describe this movie is that it reminds me of Star Wars with updated effects, a bigger budget, an amazing jailbreak, and even a one-sided dance-off. After a summer of lackluster movies, this is just what we needed. It’s big, bright, and above all, it’s a fun time.
And I can’t wait for the next one.