From the director of “Slither” and “Super,” James Gunn, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the latest blockbuster in the Marvel universe, released on Aug. 1, 2014. Linking to references of Thanos and The Collector in the end credits of “The Avengers” and “Thor 2,” the movie emphasizes the massiveness of Marvel’s vision while being one of the company’s most fun, spirited adaptations.
On Earth in 1988, Peter, a boy, faces the death of his mother and is immediately abducted by aliens. Twenty-five years later, Peter (Chris Pratt) has become a space pirate stealing for his own profit or sharing with his mentor, Yondu (Michael Rooker). Peter’s latest treasure involves him in a race war led by Kree fanatic Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace), betrayal of Yondu, being sought-after by bounty hunters Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), a talking raccoon and man-tree, respectively, and fighting with Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora (Zoe Saldana). When a public battle finds Peter, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot thrown into prison by Nova Prime (Glenn Close) and her security (John C. Reilly), the team locates a new member in Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a fellow inmate wanting vengeance with Ronan. Motivations vary from money, to safety, to vengeance, but the group of five work together to keep a powerful orb away from Ronan.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” might as well be an ‘80s movie with 2014’s level of special effects. With a gazillion tributes, homage, and references, everything from “Footloose” to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” Gunn fills the movie with a nostalgic love. Music in the form of a special cassette plays an important role for Peter, and the songs featured are a fun representation of the time period referenced. Though the emphasis on the ‘80s may sound cheesy, it makes complete sense that Peter “Star Lord” Quill would base his actions and dialogue on the pop culture of that time as it represents his treasured memories of his home planet (and the heart of the film).
The casting is ideal as so many actors reach outside their norm and give another side to their personalities. Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper’s voices are unrecognizable, though Diesel does return to a kind character like his “Iron Giant.” Lee Pace transforms the most as the villainous Ronan (partially thanks to incredible make-up design). “Guardians of the Galaxy” has so many talented people involved that it’s like finding Easter eggs of actors, including Oscar-winner Benicio Del Toro, Oscar-nominee Djimon Hounsou, and Karen Gillan of “Doctor Who” fame.
Action-packed and sci-fi heavy, “Guardians of the Galaxy” may have some plot hiccups but remains fun. The action includes hand-to-hand skirmishes and numerous spaceship battles while the comedy keeps it light. Plus, stay through the entire end credits for another silly ‘80s tribute. Parental note: my seven-year-old daughter loved it, but be cautious with easily frightened children because some characters are creepy looking and death of a parent is discussed.
Rating for “Guardians of the Galaxy:” A-
For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is playing pretty much everywhere in Columbus, including Studio 35 and Arena Grand. For showtimes, click here.