Finally, as summer winds down and back-to-school adverts clutter the mail, the season of blockbusters is coming to a close. Looking at back at the slate, the collection was unfortunately unremarkable. However, Marvel Studios has created a fantastic film that could save the season. With luck, that is exactly what happens.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” follows the story of a young boy named Peter Quill. At a young age, this Earthling found himself living life among the stars. He grows up to become a glorified thief played by Chris Pratt, taking odd jobs in procuring or stealing profitable items. Trying to wrap another acquisition, he finds a bounty placed on his head. This brings along old associates and new friends. As the gravity of his find settles in, he seeks to protect those who could be harmed by it.
“Guardians” is the type of space epic all demos can appreciate. With subtle nods to genre staples (and a not-so-subtle opening reminiscent of “Indiana Jones”), the film quickly establishes a playful tongue-in-cheek sense of humor about itself. Cowriter and director James Gunn finally gets to film a vehicle in which he is born to excel. His adaptation and pace keep the story going without losing speed. Too many releases this summer hovered around the two-hour mark with signs of thinness. Here, Gunn and his cast make a story that whizzes by while being completely entertaining along the way.
Marvel Studios has developed the kind of track record only Pixar has ever duplicated: high quality and beloved product with almost no exceptions. As the first “Thor” and “Captain America” merely serve as backstory for “The Avengers,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” exists in a different corner of the same cinematic universe. This separation eliminates the almost forced desire for a Marvel cameo. Though slight overlaps occurred, a sense of fluidity permeates the film.
The casting of “Guardians” is rock solid. Chris Pratt embodies Peter Quill/Star-Lord with a wit and humanity. Backed by his fellow guardians Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and the voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, the cast is a well-executed blend of existing fanbases. The unrecognizable Lee Pace as Ronan and Karen Gillan as Nebula are an absolute delight. Seeing the story unfold with this cast is reminiscent of experiencing Star Wars for the first time. The world and story are so rich and exciting, repeated viewings will become standard. Hollywood take note, this is how to make a big-budget feature. 5 out of 5 stars
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