The official film of the summer, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is finally upon us, and it is just as great as promised. Audiences even made this film the highest August opener ever with more than $94 million dollars, handily beating the previous record holder “The Bourne Ultimatum.”
The film follows Peter Quill, or rather Star-Lord, is a junker/thief by trade. His current mission sets him on the bad side of both his mentor Yondu (Michael Rooker) and Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace, playing the diva once again), a war-criminal member of the Kree and henchman of the mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin). When he ends up in the Klyn space prison, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora and Drax the Destroyer join with him to escape after discovering hat working together will get targets off their backs and money in their pockets.
Each member of the eponymous Guardians of the Galaxy is developed with sufficient backstory and depth, and the chemistry between them proves Marvel’s casting prowess once more. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the assassin trained adopted daughter of Thanos, is out for vengeance, as is Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) whose target is Ronan for murdering his family. Our two CGI characters, Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a science experiment that turned into a genius furball that can walk, talk and shoot large guns, and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a sentient tree that works with Rocket, and provides more “aw” moments for the audience despite his lack of vocabulary. Our ringleader, Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), is our human connection to this strange group, with a rocking mix tape and spaceship.
As heard from the many trailers released, the backdrop to entire movie is 70s and 80s classic rock. Played against the adventures of this group, it gives the entire movie a feel of sentimentality and humor, especially when the wild action sequences are paired with a song like “Cherry Bomb.” The retro and futuristic blend to create the wackiest toned film to come out of Marvel.
Humor “Guardians of the Galaxy” has in spades and this is by far the funniest Marvel film to date. From witty one-liners to situational humor, the audience is kept laughing the whole time, when they’re not tearing up from the emotional moments of our misfit characters as they open up and become friends and eventually heroes.
The actions sequences for this film are spectacular. The effects for them are breathtaking, setting up large-scale battles and epic getaways, and the 3D provides such depth of picture for these sequences, and the aerial ones, that a stomach drop or two is not out of the question. Everything is set up to make the film bigger, brighter and louder, and the audience will be captivated the whole time as our heroes rocket around the galaxy, trying to save it.
This is the first Marvel movie, and largest budget to date for director James Gunn. According to Gunn himself, this film made more in midnight screenings alone than his previous two films domestic grosses in total. You wouldn’t be able to tell he hasn’t ever taken on something of blockbuster size, as the film is perfect in tone and progression, never once missing a beat in moving the storyline along to the next point.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is one of the best Marvel films to come out of the studio, and beyond an A effort. Set apart from our typical world building films of the MCU, “Guardians” has its own tone and its own mission, even while managing to make strides in the story set up in “The Avengers.” The two-hour runtime goes by in a flash of developments that never stop, and characters so colorful that Marvel must have run used up the color spectrum by the end. Rated PG-13 for sci fi action and language, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is exactly what a summer movie should be, but so much more for being smarter, deeper and overall just a great movie.