Directed by: James Gunn
Recently Marvel’s track record has been less than enjoyable for me. Ever since Iron Man they’ve turned into a production company that reuses the same format that worked the first time but not so much with their other movies. Since The Avengers, Marvel has become the leading studio for successful movies. Even if it is considered to be a risk for the studio it is anything short of a risk. Marvel is such a hot property right now that it is unlikely that they will fail. Guardians of the Galaxy is technically a risk since they are stepping away from the main four heroes and focused on a group of renegades in space. The tropes that do follow their movies are there but it is so vastly different from anything else that they have done. Weirdly enough I enjoyed the studio stepping away from what they are used to and making something truly entertaining and unique.
The movie starts us off at Earth and Peter Quill is witnessing the death of his mother. Not long after he encounters a space ship outside of the hospital that eventually takes him aboard. Since then he become partners in crime with the ship’s captain Yondu (Michael Rooker). Flash forward 20 years, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is now an outlaw going by the name of Star Lord and he is on a mission to acquire an orb that holds great power. Soon he learns that he isn’t the only on looking for it. After failing to sell the orb on the Nova Corps home world Xandar, Gamora (Zoe Saldana), adopted daughter of Thanos the Mad Titan (Josh Brolin), attacks Star Lord in an attempt to steal the orb for her self. Also at the same time Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), receive a bounty on Quill. After a street brawl between the four, they are captured and imprisoned in the Kyln.
Meanwhile Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is plotting to destroy Xandar, with the help of Thanos. To do so he needs to get a hold of the orb that Star Lord possesses. In prison, Star Lord and his would be assassins decide to team up and escape the prison with the help of Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a maniac with a vendetta against Ronan and Thanos. After escaping prison the five unlikely heroes team up to stop Ronan from getting his hands on the orb and stopping his plans to destroy the galaxy.
To say that this movie is completely different than any Marvel movie is an understatement. Instead this movie feels like a standalone movie, only with slight hints at the other movies. The characters are interesting and play well off of one another. It’s completely odd to see the star of a movie be a raccoon who talks like a gangster and is tough for his size. The best character is by far Groot. He speaks very little and when he does it’s all just “I am Groot” but it seems Rocket can understand everything he is trying to say. These two characters have an interesting chemistry and it is weird to find sympathy with characters that are trees and raccoons. That’s where the risk really comes from. You don’t ever have characters as such as these nor having them headline a big blockbuster. The rest of the characters are also fascinating and really work well with the story. Driven by rage, Drax will stop at nothing to take vengeance on Ronan even if it screws the others over. These characters are much different than what other Marvel characters because they are superheroes but rather renegades just trying to make it by.
The acting is pretty great all around. Chris Pratt makes for a great leading man and really uses his comedic timing to provide laughs just as much as Robert Downey Jr. did in the first Iron Man. Zoe Saldana is great as the assassin who starts coming around to working as a group. She has really become the go to actress for science fiction space operas and she has excelled at playing the tough yet fragile female lead. Dave Bautista does a good job with his character but he is the weakest lead by far. He provides a lot of laughs with his characters inept understanding of metaphors but he always feels wooden.
Lee Pace does a good job as Ronan but considering that the villain is the weakest part of any Marvel movie. All of Marvels movies fail to even make an interesting villain and they always have the same motivations, they wanna destroy some kind of planet but they are never convincing in their motivations. They take more time focusing inaction than making a good villain and that’s the movies biggest downfall. He could have been an interesting character if he stayed true to his intentions in the first place. He is essentially Nero (Eric Bana) from 2009s Star Trek. Nebula (Karen Gillian) is interesting only in the fact that she had a little more character development and a backstory that makes her intentions a little bit more plausible.
I found the movie extremely entertaining and well done. The special effects are well done and so is the action. I found the comedy to hit the mark each time and really made it more enjoyable. I also like that the final fight didn’t involve to super powered people beating the hell out of each other.
Though it had some problems it ended up being one of the most enjoyable film of the summer and it comes high recommended.