Guardians of the Galaxy review

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I have to hand it to Marvel Studios for being brave enough to take chances with unconventional directors for their films. For Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the studio hired the Russo brothers, who are known for NBC’s Community, as co-directors. It worked out in Marvel’s favor, since the movie was highly praised and was considered to many as one of Marvel’s best (including us), even topping out The Avengers. With Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel had confidence in James Gunn (Super, Slither) by having him direct an “unknown” property while also allowing him to add his own personal touch to the film.

Guardians of the Galaxy follows Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), an space thief who’s looking for the next big score. On one of his journeys, he steals an ancient artifact of immense power called the Orb. The problem is that Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), a powerful Kree villain, is also looking for it for evil purposes. This gets Quill, aka Star-Lord, in trouble by the Nova Corps, and he gets incarcerated inside Kyln, a maximum security space prison. It is there that he meets up with Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), Groot (Vin Diesel) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Their chance encounter will shape the future of the galaxy.

With five heroes to focus on, I’m happy to say that Gunn does a great job of giving everybody their moment to shine (similar to Joss Whedon’s The Avengers). But since these characters haven’t been introduced yet, Gunn has a tougher job while also trying to balance them out and giving us a fun and action-packed space adventure.

Meet the Guardians

Rocket Raccoon is an anthropomorphic raccoon and is easily a fan-favorite character. He is a weapons and tactical expert and is a product of experimentation. Rocket gets the most laughs and comes up with a lot of good plans. One scene has him giving orders to the team, with Star-Lord’s mission being to take a robotic leg away from an old man. It turns out Rocket didn’t need it, since he was just trolling.

Groot is the tree-like alien who can only say “I am Groot.” He’s probably the most powerful of the group, since he can grow in size, extend his arms like a whip, and is immune to gunfire. He’s got an innocence to him that will surely captivate audience members out there.

Drax the Destroyer, I thought, was going to be my least favorite character, but he was actually an interesting and fun character to watch. I had my reservations about Dave Bautista, but his performance exceeded my expectations (I last saw him in The Man with the Iron Fist).

Gamora is an assassin and the step-daughter of Thanos who is also looking for the Orb. Zoe Saldana is believable as an assassin and has a little romantic relationship with Peter Quill. I’ll admit that I’m not fond of her design, since it reminds me of Jim Carrey’s The Mask.

The things that stands out about the movie are the team’s chemistry and the comedic elements. There’s one adult humor that will have all the adults laughing, and then you have Groot who is a crowd-pleaser. Along with the main heroes, the side characters are enjoyable as well, including Michael Rooker as Yondu and John C. Reilly as a Nova Corps member.

Huge Marvel fans are excited to see cameos and Easter eggs. One includes the appearance of Thanos, the Mad Titan. We do get to see him for a bit, and it reminds me of the original Star Wars trilogy when we see the Emperor pulling the strings and talking via a video intercom. Then, we also have a funny cameo from Stan Lee. There are many other Easter eggs, but I’ll let you guys discover that for yourselves.

So how are the villains? Ronan the Accuser is a bit one-dimensional, but he is a deadly force. Nebula (Karen Gillan), the other step-daughter of Thanos, serves her part as the other assassin and the rival to Gamora. Make no mistake, the movie is all about the Guardians, and that’s the reason why I think the villains aren’t as fleshed out.

The other gripe (it’s nitpicking beyond this point) is that sometimes the serious moments felt out of place in a movie filled with action, comedy and adventure. However, there’s one serious moment that tugged my heartstrings, and that’s when Rocket and Drax had a violent and drunken encounter.

One cannot talk about this movie without discussing the music. Brian Tyler (Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Iron Man 3) does the score, and although I’m a fan of his work, Peter Quill’s Awesome Mix Vol. 1 is the standout here. James Gunn wanted to make sure the audience remember Quill is an earthling, so throughout the movie, Quill would listen to his mix, and it works with different scenes in the film. Songs like Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”, Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” and The Five Stairsteps’ “Ooh Child” all help to enhance and bring heart into the movie. (And yes, I’m currently listening to the mix as I’m typing this.)

Guardians of the Galaxy is easily one of Marvel’s best. The movie gives us a nice blend of comedy, adventure, action that involves likable characters. Fans of Marvel, space adventure and fun characters should take their friends and family out to see this movie. I can’t wait to see what Marvel has in store for the sequel.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 9217 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.


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