Producer/Screenplay: Kevin Feige/James Gunn/Nicole Perlman
Cast: Chris Pratt/Zoe Saldana/Dave Bautista/Vin Diesel/Bradley Cooper/Lee Pace/Michael Rooker/Karen Gillan/Djimon Hounsou/John C. Reilly/Glenn Close/Benicio del Toro
Peter Quill was abducted as a young child by a group called “the scavengers” and was raised to be an outlaw. Unfortunately for Quill, his outlaw days are starting to catch up to him as a bounty is put on his head after stealing an important sphere—bringing the attention of Gamora, Rocket and his pal Groot. This unlikely bunch also drew the attention of maniac Drax the Destroyer, putting them together as an unlikely team to put a stop to Ronan the Accuser’s path of destruction as they become the Guardians of the Galaxy!
The Ups: From the opening scene of the movie, all my expectations were blown out of the water—exceeding anything I hoped this movie was going to be. James Gunn throughout this movie made me believe that as extraordinary as the heroes were, they were just people who were out for themselves and were trying to be anything but. This made for such a great vibe for the movie since all of Marvel’s films up to this point are about becoming the hero accepting the role and doing the right thing. This fresh take made for a movie so full of wit and charm that I couldn’t stop smiling the whole time. Gunn and Perlman surprised me with the amount of humor and spot-on dialogue between characters throughout the film as they picked the most unlikely moments to throw in humor. In doing so, along with the brilliant work from the actors, it was like watching scenes straight from the comics.
Gunn’s vision for the Marvel’s deep reaches of space was a wonderful combination of the bright, open cities from “Star Wars” and the dark, gritty and futuristic slums of “Blade Runner.” Now while the characters only travel to two major planets—Knowhere and Xandar—all the extras walking around and the wonderfully-done backgrounds brought each location to life. CGI and special effects were top notch by displaying the space ship fire fights, scenery, powers, high-tech visuals, and especially Groot and Rocket’s smooth and vivid movements. The entire cast did a fantastic job portraying their respective character, but the ones who stood out were Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper and Dave Bautista. While both their portrayals weren’t spot-on to their comic book persona, Cooper and Bautista’s Rocket and Drax brought a unique flair to the characters. Drax comes off more as the rational yet impulsive manic and Rocket is still grumpy, sarcastic and hilarious but is a bit less aggressive and limits on catch phrases compared to the comics. Chris Pratt shined above all the rest, each scene he was in pulled me deeper into the movie because you didn’t know what he was going to do next. His interactions with Rocket and Drax made for the best scenes in the film, giving everyone lines to quote for years to come. Pratt’s portrayal of Star-Lord added intensity to his character, when compared to the comic book version in terms of charm, personality and pure enjoyment. The writers at Marvel should take note from Pratt’s interpretation of Star-Lord for its future issues of “Guardians,” especially with the immediate success as of publication time.
The Downs: I had several minor issues with the movie and they mostly deal with Gamora, Ronan, and the entire Nova Corps. Zoe Saldana is a well-established actress who could’ve given a lot more to the character than the final product. The film went very little into Gamora’s story and while she was on screen, there was little character progression and she felt held back from what Saldana could’ve brought to the film. Ronan looked amazing but suffered deeply from being the stereotypical “villain-bent-on-revenge-and-destruction” trope. We didn’t learn anything about his character and aside from one scene, Lee Pace was too one-dimensional in a film full of characters exploding with personality. I think the biggest disappointment was the Nova Corps. Normally a space police powered by the helmet they wear, they are shown as just regular officers with the same uniforms as the Nova Corps in the comics. Now while having the super power Nova’s would need to have at least one stand-out character to represent them with the Nova powers, it’s still disappointing that we couldn’t catch a glimpse of the true Nova Corps.
Overall: My minor issues with the movie didn’t take away anything from how perfect this movie was for me. With the superior acting, writing and direction, this movie has exceeded all my expectations. I personality didn’t think Marvel would outdo “Captain America: Winter Soldier” so soon, but James Gunn made a movie that makes fans like me happy to be into comics and expose newcomers into bringing them inside the world of comics.
Grade 5 of 5