The latest installment of the Marvel cinematic universe is the 2014 superhero film based on the Marvel comics, “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The film is written and directed by James Gunn, who directed films such as “Slither” and “Super.” It features an ensemble cast including Chris Pratt (“The Lego Movie”), Zoe Saldana (“Infinitely Polar Bear”), Dave Bautista (“Riddick”), Vin Diesel (“Riddick”) and Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”).
The plot is rather simple with Peter Quill (Pratt) having to form an alliance with a group of extraterrestrial misfits who are on the run after stealing an orb. Plots like this are done over and over again, but what makes this one stand out is the characters and the smart, sharply written dialogue. The interactions among the Guardians, scavenger Quill/Star-Lord, deadly assassin Gamora (Saldana), vengeful brute Drax the Destroyer (Bautista), and bounty hunters Groot (voice of Diesel) and Rocket Raccoon (voice of Cooper) were perfect and some of the best parts of the film.
Quill is the only human in the group. Gamora and Drax are both aliens. Rocket is a gun-toting raccoon that was experimented on and is genetically engineered to talk. Groot is a tree-like humanoid that can only say the words “I am Groot,” nothing more, nothing less. It does not get old at all and the audience can’t help but smile, as Groot is the soul of the team.
The main villain is Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”). He’s a serviceable antagonist who had a good motivation. Ronan needs the orb to complete his mission and will do anything in his way to finish the job so he can protect his people known as the Kree. Nebula (Karen Gillan, “Oculus”) is Ronan’s right-hand woman. She is just as crazy and is a very formidable fighter.
Yondu (Michael Rooker, “Brother’s Keeper”), a bounty hunter that abducted and trains Quill, is the biggest standout among the supporting cast. Not everybody was fully developed but had a lot on their plate, so a pass was given. Hopefully the recently announced sequel, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” can shed some light on that.
Costumes and designs on the aliens and characters were done beautifully. Nebula’s look is amazing. The special effects crew mixed in CGI and practical effects that flowed perfectly. Another upside was the soundtrack, which consisted of ‘70s pop songs on a mix tape that was stuck in my head instantly after it was over. The film uses the songs as an advantage for creation moments and is Peter’s only connection to Earth. The comedy was wacky but a lot of fun at the same time. The serious and comedic moments were mixed well.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is one of the best films of the year. It was fun, exciting, adventurous and risky. The risks they took certainly paid off. It’s a Marvel film, and more importantly a James Gunn film. This explores a whole other side of an already huge Marvel universe, which includes “Iron Man,” “Thor” and “The Avengers.” Many people will walk away comparing it to “Star Wars.” That is not an easy feat. There were a few problems with the film, but overall it was great.