Weâ€™re all familiar with X-MEN, THE AVENGERS, X-FACTOR, THE FANTASTIC FOUR, INHUMANS, and THE NEW AVENGERS, but not too familiar with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY! Yes, some of us have heard of them, read some of their issues â€“ and some of us may very well be way into them to a point where bragging â€œnerd rightsâ€ have been earned for truly being Marvel Universe savvy. I, on the other hand, wasnâ€™t. Soâ€¦I did what anyone with half-a-brain would do once Marvel rattled cages during their panel at SDCC 2013. I started researching this group, their worlds and even went on to download several issues off my Marvel app and got lost in the realm beyond my understanding. It was unique and full of interesting happenings and existences.
Letâ€™s be honest, humanoids! A year-and-change ago there had been ZERO marketing for this feature, yet it seemed like a ballsy move by Marvel to take a lesser known comic and heroes â€“ including an edgy, gun-toting, talking raccoon and a walking, (sometimes) talking tree â€“ as their big summer (of all seasons) movie for 2014. The masses begun to fear this could and/or would be Marvelâ€™s first commercial flop and took it in pessimistic stride. As a whole, Marvel has a history of gambling with full confidence (Marvelâ€™s upcoming ANT-MAN for example) and truth-be-told itâ€™s worked out for them pretty well. Although different on every level among other features weâ€™ve seen throughout the years, having had the chance to screen it early, I must say GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a fine-tuned â€œnewcomerâ€ Iâ€™m sure will hold up well, make a mark, and spark sequels and possible spin-offs considering its origins and vast array of enigmatic characters. So for anyone out there fearing this may wind up a failure, nopeâ€¦itâ€™s not happening! In its own way, this piece turned out to be full of silliness, yet articulate, interesting and colorful enough to hold your attention-span.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY expands the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill a/k/a Starlord (Chris Pratt) finds himself the object of a harsh bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb deathly desired by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan the Accuser, Quill is forced into an uneasy, complex truce with a group of disparate misfits-Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), the deadly, vicious and enigmatic Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and a revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). But when Quill catches up on the true power of the orb and the extreme danger it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his disorganized rivals for a last, desperate stand with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
In a nutshell, GUARDIANS is the kind of simple, yet never superficial or dopey Sci-Fi people embraced during the 80s. Gunn pays homage to the era, especially with tunes throughout the film, yet boosting visual effects to new heights. While Gunn can rely on excellent CGI effects that make us care deeply about the creatures mentioned above, the human cast (surprisingly Dave Bautista) manages to live up to a lot of the storylineâ€™s fantasies and magic, too. Itâ€™s the charactersâ€™ stories that ultimately make you click with this movie and make it so much more than a mishmash adventure. Itâ€™s crafty, yet campy. Itâ€™s well-paced, yet fast. Itâ€™s dark, yet colorful. Itâ€™s edgy, yet cute. And last but not least, itâ€™s weird, yet soulfully satisfying and thatâ€™s part of the fun when taking this piece in. Marvel has its own magic and knows all the tricks-of-the-trade in order to make you live a comic-book. The amount of detail and depth that went into every frame of this unique, diverse universe is impressive.
Itâ€™s pretty hard NOT TO like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY! On many ways beyond anyoneâ€™s comprehension the craziness takes off in a direction a few notches too high, but with a great cast, unstoppable action and cinematic artistry at its best, youâ€™ll be hard pressed to sit through another summer blockbuster with this much heart and strength.
Grade: A / Genre: Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi / Rated: PG-13 / Run Time: 2 hrs.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Lee Pace, Bradley Cooper as ROCKET, Vin Diesel as GROOT, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Benicio del Toro, John C. Reilly
Directed by: James Gunn