Never doubt James Gunn. I should have always remembered that, although I knew heading into Guardians of the Galaxy that it would be good. Gunn has never let me down and I have been a fan since Slither (and also enjoyed his earlier work with Troma which I discovered later). The guy is just a gifted filmmaker with a wicked sense of humor (see: PG Porn). However, while I knew he would be great with story and humor and characters, I never dreamed he could make a movie that looked this amazing.
And I never thought Guardians of the Galaxy would be this damn funny.
Guardians of the Galaxy starts out on Earth with Peter Quill as a young boy. His mother is dying of cancer, and after he accepts a present from her but refuses to hold her hand when she asks, she dies and he races outside broken hearted. That is when he is abducted by a spacecraft and we flash to the present day.
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) now lives as a Ravager, a thief who scavenges different planets for artifacts that he then sells to the highest bidder. He looks and acts like Indiana Jones, but he is basically a thief. He works for the leader of the Ravagers, a man named Yondu (Michael Rooker) and believes he hits the mother lode when he finds an orb that an evil Kree named Ronan (Lee Pace) wants.
Now, don’t worry about if you don’t know who the Kree are, because that is not really important at this time in Marvel movies. Basically, the Kree are an alien race who are very, very powerful, and for the purpose of Guardians of the Galaxy, have a peace treaty with the planet of Xandar, which is where the intergalactic police corps known as the Nova Corps are located. Ronan is a renegade and fanatical Kree who wants to destroy Xandar and the orb that Quill finds can help him do that.
If you have seen Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers and Thor 2, you know about the Infinity Gems. This is one of those and everyone wants to get this orb for one reason or another.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is sent by Ronan to recover the gem, although she has plans to betray him and take it to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) for safekeeping. There is also a bounty out for Quill by Yondu after Quill goes into business for himself and two bounty hunters – a genetically created raccoon-looking being named Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and a tree-like creature named Groot (Vin Diesel) – want to cash it in. This leads to a big fight where they are arrested by the Nova Corps and put into prison where they meet the fifth member of their soon-to-be ragtag group – a monstrous man named Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista).
It is here that the Guardians of the Galaxy are born and then the movie really kicks into hyper-drive.
Guardians of the Galaxy is arguably the best Star Wars movie since the original trilogy. This movie is just a blast of fun, with the Guardians doing everything they can to keep the orb out of the hands of Ronan, while avoiding going back to prison, and trying not to kill each other at the same time. Throughout the entire movie, the characters really shine through, and there is barely a weak character in the group.
Only Gamora gets the short stick, and she is still an interesting and fun character. However, Chris Pratt proves in this movie that he is going to be a huge star in Hollywood. He is self depreciating, funny and full of confidence all at the same time. Bautista was shocking in his role. Drax is an alien who has no sense of humor at all and is completely devoid of irony. Everything he says is factual and that adds to the unintentional comedy that the character finds himself in.
The highlights of the movie have to be Rocket and Groot. Rocket has been called the heart and soul of the team. He is clearly the smartest person in the room and can do just about anything mechanically although he also loves to blast people with big guns and shoot off one-liners. Groot only says three words – “I am Groot” – although those words can mean just about anything. The animators ruled the world with Groot as his facial expressions kill at the perfect moments in the movie. He is so funny from start to finish.
The bad guy is a bit disappointing as Ronan is a little too much like the Dark Elf Malekith from Thor: The Dark World. As a matter of fact, the two villains are interchangeable and there is little difference between them at all. Marvel is going to need to work on making more unique villains in future movies or all the space alien bad guys will start to blend together. Luckily for Guardians of the Galaxy, this movie is really not about beating this villain.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a movie about a group of five losers (“you know, people who have lost something”) have to learn to band together, trust each other, and become heroes. Not one of these five people were born a hero, or ever had any reason to become a hero, until this movie. With that task, James Gunn worked magic and created a superhero team that might be more interesting than even The Avengers.
The soundtrack is a delight, filled with classic songs from the 70s and 80s. The reason for the songs is also worked in nicely as they are on a mix tape that Peter’s mom made for him so he could listen to the songs that she grew up loving. It is his prized possession and is something that he would give his life to protect. It also provides a kick ass musical soundtrack for the movie.
The movie was always going to be good, James Gunn and Marvel guaranteed that. However, I never believed that the man who directed Slither and Super would make a movie that was so polished and perfect looking as Guardians of the Galaxy. The space battles were great, the alien worlds looked perfect and the action was perfectly choreographed. James Gunn proved here what his fans have always known – he was a diamond in the rough and just needed to have someone give him the chance.
Marvel gave James Gunn that chance and he just knocked it completely out of the park. Guardians of the Galaxy might not be the best Marvel movie to date (that is either Winter Soldier or The Avengers), but it is easily the most entertaining Marvel movie they have made so far. If you just want to have fun at the movies, laugh a lot, and enjoy a great story with fantastic characters, Guardians of the Galaxy is the best thing going in cinemas right now.