Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

In Theatres: 
Aug 01, 2014

The Avengers have always stood at the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America have all had at least two stand-alone films, with Iron Man leading the superhero pack at three. They’re the cornerstones of the franchise, but Marvel Studios has a vast collection of characters to capitalize on. Guardians of the Galaxy is the next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the story arc takes to the cosmos and expands on a galactic scale.

Guardians of the Galaxy is unlike any previous Marvel film. There’s no Iron Man, no Thor, no Captain America. Audiences are instead treated to a ragtag team of outlaws consisting of an alien assassin, a cold-blooded killer, a talking raccoon, and an anthropomorphic tree, who are all led by a man stuck in the 80s. It’s The Avengers in space, and it’s everything I hoped it would be plus more.

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) grew up listening to his Sony Walkman and watching Alf on television when his is abducted from Earth by space pirates. Many years later and he himself is a space pirate and he soon finds himself in possession of a mysterious sphere that has the power to rule the universe. In an attempt to keep it from falling into the wrong hands, he teams up with an unlikely group of misfits to become the hero he’s always wanted to be.

Guardians of the Galaxy sounds weird on paper but director James Gunn does absolute wonders with the franchise on the silver screen. It’s a new chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that introduces audiences to some of the most entertaining and well developed characters we’ve seen yet.

The team is brought together by Peter Quill who goes by his outlaw name, Star-Lord, although nobody outside of himself actually calls him that. Here’s your everyday guy who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and is thrust into this cosmic conflict. Chris Pratt has the perfect blend of comedic timing and action hero charisma to lead everyone. Despite his outlaw status, he’s exactly the kinda person you want to root for.

Providing the muscle of the group is Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) whose family was killed by the main villain, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). Out for revenge, he agrees to partner with Quill. Despite his ferocious nature, Drax has a surprisingly gifted tongue and is the most eloquently well-spoken member of the team, often using unnecessarily complicated words when speaking. Zoe Saldana plays the assassin of the group, Gamora, and former right hand woman to Ronan. Because of this she often butts heads with Drax. While there are the beginnings of a relationship between here and Quill, Gamora is a badass warrior first and foremost.

The biggest draw of Guardians of the Galaxy and the highlight of the team by far is the duo of Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). Rocket is this crazy, out of control raccoon with a thirst for weaponry while Groot is much more innocent. Only able to say the three words “I am Groot” and only in that order, the majority of Groot’s character is seen through his mannerisms. He has this childlike innocence, yet can still kick all kinds of ass with his ever-growing limbs.

What makes Guardians of the Galaxy work so well is the dynamic between all these characters. Initially they all hate each other and are only together for their own personal gains, but as the film goes on they actually become quite the team. Some of the best scenes consist of them all arguing among themselves. The Guardians of the Galaxy already feel like a better superhero team than the Avengers. Yes, the film is that good.

Between the Guardians themselves and the other cast of characters and villains, there’s a lot to take in but you never feel lost or confused. Ronan is a terrifying villain, only outshone by Thanos himself, and there are some fantastic scenes between Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora that provide insight into one twisted family get together. Guardians is a film you’re going to watch multiple times; one because you’ll miss half the jokes from laughing so loud and two because there’s simply so much to see.

Guardians of the Galaxy is a cosmic tour de force that has everything fans have come to expect from a Marvel film and more. It’s a visual spectacle of action and comedy that sets the bar high for films to follow.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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