When a highly anticipated summer blockbuster hits the big screen, the airwaves are usually filled with hyperbole and some pretty wacky expectations that most movies can't even come close to hitting, so when it actually surpasses it, the smile on the faces of audiences everywhere is just an infectious and joyous thing. "Guardians of the Galaxy" at first glance can be confused for a "Star Wars" rip off, but it is so much more and the best science fiction adventure film since the afore mention classic. Yes, you heard me right, this is more than a Marvel comic book movie, more than a science fiction adventure, it is an unquestionable game changer.
It's just another day for rogue adventurer, scavenger and occasional thief Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) (Chris Pratt) when he is sent to steal a mysterious orb, however things ramp up pretty quick when he finds out that he isn't the only one who wants this unknown device, as the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace) needs it to enslave the entire universe. In order to avoid a massive manhunt, Peter finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with a quartet of misfits who are as just as dysfunctional as he is. With Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) a trigger happy racoon, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) a massive tree like humanoid with a very limited vocabulary, the stunning and enigmatic Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and man very literally bent on revenge in Drax (Dave Bautista), Peter has to discover if he really is Star Lord and rally this motley crew together to some good (and a little bad) in order to have a chance to save the entire galaxy.
Plain and simple, "Guardians of the Galaxy" is just damn that good as it is the marriage of a high quality story with wall to wall action, some fantastic mind blowing visual effects and characters that we actually give a damn about.
Co-writer and Director James Gunn steps up to the big leagues with this effort while still maintaining his sardonic sense of humor to infuse into the action. Gunn handles the big scale action sequences with incredible ease and doesn't seem out of place even though his play on a stage that probably costs as much as all of his other movies combined. It looks great as the effects and CGI never feel out of place for a single solitary second. Every world he creates has a purpose and he is never blowing things up for the sake of it. It's a serious narrative, but it is riddled with charm and humor as it manages to balance the universe destroying consequences with good old fashioned goofy fun and that couldn't be any more true than it was with a stellar leading man performances that announces him as a start.
Chris Pratt was channeling as much Han Solo swagger as he could to channel into his Peter Quill and it works because he also keeps the goofy kid humor of his character right at the surface. He's believable as an action hero, but also kind of adorable. It's not a group of self confident action heroes, it is a mash up of lost souls looking for purpose and direction, that's why they are so relatable and that's why Pratt works as the hero, because he wears how weird he actually is on his damn sleeve and it's fun to watch.
Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista were more than solid playing opposite him while Bradley Cooper almost stole the damn show as the manic raccoon and Vin Diesel showed some actual range only uttering three simple words. The rest of the ensemble was loaded to the gills with the likes of Gunn staple Michael Rooker, the always underrated Lee Pace, John C Reilly, Karen Gillian, Benicio del Toro, Djimon Hounsou, Peter Serafinowicz and Glenn Close who were all ranging from great to just fine but the amount of charm that is oozing out of this movie is just infectious.
Everyone has to come from somewhere and with "Guardians of the Galaxy" both Chris Pratt and James Gunn are telling audiences that they are ready for more as this movie unequivocally proves that you can do big budget, be smart, emotional and funny without pandering to the lowest common denominator. This is what blockbuster film making CAN be and even though part 2 doesn't look like it will be ready until 2017, I'm getting line now. This movie is just that damn good.
5 out of 5 stars.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" is playing in theatres everywhere, just go see it.