Synopsis: In the far reaches of space, an American pilot named Peter Quill finds himself the object of a manhunt after stealing an orb coveted by the villainous Ronan.
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Marvel started out the summer blockbuster season with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and is closing it out with Guardians of the Galaxy. Unless you are an avid comic book reader, you probably don’t know much about Guardians of the Galaxy. When it comes to Marvel hierarchy they would be on the C-list of popularity. Nonetheless they are making their big screen debut. The story is centered around Peter Quill, later known as the vaunted Star-Lord. As a kid, Peter is abducted by a flying saucer and taken away from earth in the opening scene of the movie. Next time we see Peter as an audience, is as a grown adult on some foreign planet. This is just one of the multiple times throughout the film when they move swiftly in the timeline without offering any reasoning or explanation. It’s probably what annoyed me most about the film. Can’t just throw stuff at us without explaining the back-story. An emphasis definitely wasn’t placed on explaining bits and pieces of important information such as why Peter was taken abducted from earth in the first place? Just because it’s a comic book/superhero movie there is no excuse not to explain details and the character’s background. Recent films such as the X-Men Days of Future Past, and the Man of Steel devoted nearly the first hour of the film just to focus on the origins. This is the first Guardians film, the origins is crucial for the audience to be introduced to.
The one aspect of the film that cannot be disputed are the visuals. The stunning visuals are a major hit. I had the privilege to see the film in IMAX 3D. This movie needs to be seen in 3D period. For some movies 3D makes no difference. For other movies such as Guardians, 3D adds a whole new dimension. The planets, the characters (mainly Groot), the explosions look spectacular through 3D. You will feel like dodging rocks and other galactic debris that seems like it’s coming right at you. Plus, you can see little plants growing on Groot and witness all his wiry branches, definitely think the 3D enhances the film’s CGI.
The cast of the Guardians features some Hollywood heavy hitters, though mostly as voice-overs. Christ Pratt plays Peter Quill. Even though this is an ensemble film, he is definitely featured as the lead. This is Pratt’s biggest role to date. After being known as Mr. Anna Farris, this is his first opportunity to carve out a career rivaling his wife’s. He does a solid, yet unspectacular job. Watching the film, I kept thinking this is Ryan Reynolds lite. Not that is the worst thing in the world to be. His lines are overly scripted, with the sole intention of hitting the punchline. Now is not the time to judge him too harshly on whether he can cut it as lead in a major motion picture. Holding off the final verdict until next summer where he stars as a lead in another major motion picture in Jurassic Park is the smart move. Joining Pratt in the cast is Zoe Saldana as Gamora. Couldn’t help but keep thinking she is basically a green Uhura from Star Trek. If there ever was a growing suspicion on typecasting, she seems to fit the bill. Apparently nobody wants to see her in human form. This alien wave that she’s riding is getting stale. Bradley Cooper is part of the Guardian team, though not int he way you expect him. No piercing blue eyes in this one ladies Cooper is voicing Rocket the Raccoon. He is an entertaining little fellow. A two foot tall (max) little rodent that sure comes loaded with weaponry. Most of the scenes he’s in he is either complaining, or trying to fuel his hot temper by shooting and blowing stuff up. The final member of the group is a tree! No, seriously it’s a walking and talking (very limited) tree named Groot. Voiced by Vin Diesel of all people. Groot isn’t a tree of many words, aside from always uttering “I am Groot” no matter what you ask him. For a seemingly forgotten and less important character, he sure is endearing. He brings the most heart and emotion to the group. It’s rather sweet. Of all the characters in the film, you wouldn’t think Groot would pull on your heart- strings and bring you to tears? He just might. Then there is Drax the Destroyer, aka Dave Bautista of WWE fame. Being a life-long wrestling fan, I was interested in seeing what Batista would bring to the table in a major blockbuster. He has done some small films in the past, this film no doubt was the big league debut for Dave. He is one of the actors/characters I couldn’t get a solid opinion on. I couldn’t help but think of his as the Animal Batista, covered in some funky body paint. His acting leaves a lot to be desired, however I might be in the wrong here. He utters a bunch of one-liners, with a whole lot of grunts. Maybe it’s exactly what Gunn wanted the character to be? However, I have seen him do better acting in WWE, which is a bit scary.
The hype and expectations for this film are surprisingly high. Is it one of the summers biggest blockbusters? Budget wise, probably. Entertainment wise it’s solid. Does it meet the hype? Probably not. For a C-list group of characters in the Marvel universe the Guardians are fun group of galactic rejects. The film does stay true to it’s form. It doesn’t attempt to take itself seriously, unlike other comic book films. That was the correct approach, can’t imagine James Gunn creating a universe where you had to take a gun-wielding, loudmouth raccoon seriously. The gags are aplenty. Some good, some will barely make you chuckle. An overabundance of jokes was a big of a negative, as it took away brief focus from the journey the characters were on. There is something to be said for throwing together such a weird and odd mix of “idiots”. It ultimately works. While watching the film you will wonder how these goofballs will unify and make thins work? Not to mention, save the GALAXY! Overall, it’s an entertaining couple hours. Didn’t leave the theater in awe or counting down toward Guardians of the Galaxy 2. In a summer filled with huge blockbusters, this one comes in somewhere in the middle of the pack.