With nine films in six years, Marvel Studios has set a precedent with their Marvel Cinematic Universe. Being the first studio to intricately weave each unique film into a tapestry of epic proportions, Marvel Studios continues to please critics and audiences – both comic fans and casual film-goers alike.
So, does Marvel Studios rest on their laurels? Of course not! Throwing the MCU a magnificent curve ball comes Guardians of the Galaxy, the first original film since Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as the first film that takes place exclusively in space. With Star Wars-like action, unpredictably gripping emotion, and Marvel's brand of sardonic humor, Guardians is easily the best film in the MCU.
When a mysterious orb unwittingly links smart-ass thief Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), royal assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), violent criminal Drax (Dave Bautista), and a mismatched pair of outlaw bounty hunters Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), the four of them must put aside their vast differences and come together to stop Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) from getting their hands on it first. Of course, Thanos (Josh Brolin) and Yondu (Michael Rooker) are also looking to get their hands on it as well, turning the hunt for the orb into a race against time and wills.
Writer/director James Gunn is no stranger to oddities. His films Slither and Super are cult sensations, taking the genres of each into a fresh and bizarre territory, and Guardians is no different. With help from first-time co-writer Nicole Perlman (who is also working on a treatment for Black Widow's solo film), Gunn introduces this ragtag team of misfits, maintaining their quirks while ensuring the casual film-goer would enjoy the film as well.
Clearly pulling inspiration from the original Star Wars films and Joss Whedon's Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy manages to incorporate sidesplitting humor, gripping emotion, and edge-of-your seat action sequences into the swiftest 130 minutes caught on screen, easily making this Marvel Studios best film. Taking the one-liners of Iron Man, the cosmic action of Thor, and the group dynamic of The Avengers, Guardians is easily the best representation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, giving the audience all the action promised in the trailers and so much more. By the end of the post-credits scene, you'll have experienced every emotion, laughed yourself silly, and, most of all, be planning your next outing to see it. And, if you're wondering if you should see it in IMAX 3D, the answer is a resounding yes!
FINAL VERDICT: On the surface, Guardians of the Galaxy seems far and beyond anything Marvel Studios has done before, and you would not be wrong. However, it quickly becomes to the most unforgettable film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and easily the best movie of the year thus far. While the wait for the sequel in 2017 will certainly be a difficult one, at least we know our new favorite superhero team will be returning.