- Title: Guardians of the Galaxy
- Director: James Gunn
- Review: ★★★★★
Five years ago, no one would have thought that Guardians of the Galaxy would end up on Marvel’s film schedule. It takes a fairly fresh team that only came together ten years ago. It also has none of the name power that the Avengers had. Yet here we are, the film that is Marvel’s biggest risk has finally arrived. Guardians of the Galaxy had a lot to prove with its unknown cast of characters and it has beat the odds. The film shows that Marvel does not just have to rely on the big names as this is one of there best films to date.
The movie begins with a young Peter Quill back on Earth. His mother is sick and dying and he has never met his mysterious father. As she passes, he is devastated and runs out of the hospital in tears. He has no time to mourn as he is abducted by a UFO, bringing his life on Earth to an end.
Jumping forward, we find a grown Peter on a desolate planet, now going by the moniker Star-Lord. He is searching for an orb of which he knows nothing about, only that he will be able to sell it for a fortune. What he does not realize is that he is not the only one in search for it as Kree religious zealot Ronan the Accuser is in search of it for the mad titan Thanos. Ronan’s follower Korath, along with several soldiers find Peter taking the orb, and a fight ensues with Peter escaping.
We come to find out that Peter was supposed to be getting the orb for his boss, Yondu, who in turn was taking it to a buyer on Nova Corps home Xander. Peter decides to try and cut his boss out of the deal and sell it himself, which Yondu does not take kindly to. Yondu puts a bounty on Peter’s capture, which mercenaries Rocket Raccoon and Groot seize upon. Danger comes from another side as Thanos’ daughter Gamora has been sent to retrieve the orb by Ronan. Gamora however, has her own altruistic ideas about the orb. The four are all thrust together as Gamora tries to steal the orb from Peter while Rocket and Groot try to capture him. This lands them all in a Nova Corps jail where they meet Drax the Destroyer, a man with a deadly grudge against Ronan. The five come together to escape and end up on a journey together to save Xander from complete destruction.
While we might not have had a solo movie each to build the story of the five, that matters little. All five are fully formed during the film and it is hard to pick a favorite. Peter is dashing as the Han Solo type, making wise cracks throughout and also having an affinity for old pop songs from mix-tapes he and his mother shared. Chris Pratt completely made the role his. Rocket Raccoon makes you believe a raccoon can talk, and shoot very big guns. Bradley Cooper does an excellent job with the voice work and nails the cocky, but tortured hero. Gamora is more the straight faced one of the group, but Zoe Saldana is an extremely talented actress that brings her character out of her shell. The biggest surprise comes from Vin Diesel as Groot. For a giant tree that only speaks, “I am Groot,” he ends up being one of the most entertaining and delightful characters of the group. Finally if the film had a weak spot it was with Drax. It was hard to tell if it was from Dave Bautista’s acting or if it was just the character could be slightly annoying just from the script he was given. Throughout the film I had a love hate relationship with him, at times he would grate on my nerves and other times he could steal the scene.
As it befalls a majority of Marvel’s films, the villain came off as the worst part of the film. Ronan is a straight faced villain that never gets a chance to be fleshed out. We are given his motivation, but his religious beliefs are not given any real detail to make them that believable. He is such a wooden character that it’s hard to be interested by him. Thanos’ other daughter Nebula is another story. She Karen Gillan is very likable and we can easily understand why she hates who she hates.
While the characters are the real stars of the film, it is no slouch when it comes to action either. Some of the action scenes are bigger and better than anything we have seen from Marvel before, and that includes the Avengers. The final climactic battle is on par with the size and scope of the battle of New York. We get hand to hand fights, gun fights, and big giant space ship fights. Every time the team gets into a fight it is a site to behold.
Guardians also possess the best soundtrack of any of the Marvel films. I thought it could not get any better than the AC DC filled Iron Man films, but Peter’s mix-tapes bring us classic pop and pop-rock songs that lift the movie to new heights. While the film takes place in space, the music brings it back down to Earth for us; well the music and the occasional Kevin Bacon reference.
Speaking of Kevin Bacon, it is fun little pieces like that which really give the film heart as he is brought up when Peter tries to get Gamora to dance. The film is filled with jokes referencing Earth that are lost on the characters but get the entire audience laughing.
Guardians of the Galaxy is full of fun characters, amazing action, and plenty of humor. James Gunn turned what could have been Marvel’s worst film into one of the best. It was no easy feat considering the odds against it. Yet he tweaked a fantastic script and selected an all star cast who delivered amazingly memorable performances. If you go into the theater not knowing who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, be assured, you will always remember them after.