Published on July 29th, 2014 | by Allan Brown6
Guardians of the Galaxy Review
Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Running Time: 121 mins
Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Cast: Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Karen Gillan, Lee Pace
Director James Gunn is the man behind Marvels biggest gamble to date, a sweeping space opera anchored by a rag-tag troupe of dim-witted outlaws, who embark on an explosive adventure to save the galaxy. Whilst this all sounds a bit déjà vu, what makes Guardians of the Galaxy stand out from its older brothers and sisters, is partly down to the fact it feels incredibly nostalgic, riding on a crest of the finest action comedy movies of the 1980s, whilst bathed in iconic sounds of the 70s, and boy is it good.
Guardians of the Galaxy centres on Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) or Star-Lord, as he prefers to be known. Abducted from Earth as a child and raised by outlaws somewhere in space, he now lives his life as a fully-fledged intergalactic scavenger. His latest endeavour; the retrieval of a mysterious orb for a rich buyer known only as The Collector (Benicio Del Toro).
Riding on a crest of the finest action comedy movies of the 1980s, whilst bathed in iconic sounds of the 70s, and boy is it good.
Upon finding and retrieving the relic from a nearby planet, Peter is caught by an assassin named Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who also requires the orb. Before long, the pair run into bounty hunting duo Rocket – a talking racoon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot – a walking talking tree (Voiced by Vin Diesel), who are all set on capturing Peter to cash in on the bounty placed on his head. When the group are arrested by the local Xandar authority (the Nova Corps) and thrown into prison together, they encounter Drax (Dave Batista), a simple minded maniac with one thing on his mind, to avenge the murder of his family who met their grim demise at the hands of ultimate villain, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).
It isn’t long before the discovery of the orb everyone’s fighting over, does in-fact contain a powerful and rare infinity Stone. A stone so powerful, it grants those who wield it the ability to destroy organic worlds effortlessly, thus making it incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. Big bad Ronan the Accuser wants the orb for his master Thanos (Josh Brolin), and once the Guardians realise what they have, the race is on to protect Nova from utter annihilation.
Director James Gunn wastes no time in establishing Guardians of the Galaxy to be distinctively exclusive in both its tone and humour from its older Marvel brothers and sisters.
While it does follow the usual save the world scenario we have come to expect from a Marvel movie, and inhabits a plot that is a little busy for its own good, it is in its five hilarious central characters that the film sails to new exhilarating heights.
It is in its five hilarious central characters that the film sails to new exhilarating heights.
Each member of its motley crew is uniquely different from the other, and while I can’t imagine any holding much weight on screen alone, when together, something truly special happens. The comedic dialogue is pitch perfect and the interaction and synergy between each member feels effortless. Furthermore, as Gunn has fashioned the film as sci-fi comedy first and comic book movie second, it feels uniquely fresh as a result. Fresh, yet recognisable. As previously mentioned, there is something that feels authentically retro in its design. Whether it’s due to its organic camaraderie between its band of misfits, its 70s soundtrack or its grimy planetary locations, who knows, but if you can imagine Ghostbusters gelled with Star Wars, you wouldn’t be a million miles away.
Scenes of tension or full-on action sequences are cross-cut with perfectly timed quips; hilarious bickering or spliced with 70s pop music. Just wait for Peter to jet-pack through space in slow motion to Rupert Holmes’, The Pina Colada Song, as that one scene alone, sums up the tone of the entire movie perfectly.
I won’t go into detail on the many colourful characters the film presents, except to say, each and every one of our main protagonists are well written and given enough room to breathe and develop individually, and actors who breathe life into the characters are for the most part, flawless.
Of course, no film is without its shortfalls and while there is much to adore here, there are a few (forgivable) slips, trips and falls along the way. Zoe Saldana’s character in particular is a little bland at times and although she represents the straight-man in the ensemble, it does at times feel like her character sleep walks through most scenes.
Despite this, it’s overcrowded narrative and it’s over similar final act, this high speed jaunt across the galaxy with one of the most amusing and riotous troupe of central characters in recent memory is truly unmissable. It is lighter and more carefree than the serious heroics of the Avengers movies, and all the better for it in my opinion. The longer it can avoid the inevitable amalgamation into the wider Marvel universe, the better.
Summary: Marvel takes the necessary risk to present something new to its audience, finally breaking the shackles of the bland and rather tedious SAFE formula they have continued to presented up until now. As a result, Guardians of the Galaxy is not just one of the studios strongest offerings to date, but one of the most fun action, comedy movie experiences I have had in recent memory.