Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 4 out 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
Yup, I think writer/director James Gunn has done enough to make everyone forget about Joss Whedon. Bringing forth his big screen adaptation of an obscure team of Marvel superheroes called the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gunn’s sense of humor and strong grasp of what made so many of the action/adventure films of the 70’s and 80’s so memorable, has single-handedly created another profitable layer to the Marvel film franchise.
This origins story follows our main protagonist Peter “my friends call me Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) as he creates an unlikely alliance with a band of intergalactic misfits, including Gamora (a green Zoe Saldana) Rocket (a raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper) his sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel?) and Drax the Destroyer (played by Bautista, of WWE fame) who is basically Sheldon after a year of Crossfit, as they attempt to stop the evil Ronan the Accuser from obtaining an orb that could destroy an entire species in one fell swoop. Needless to say, “Guardians of the Galaxy” shares a lot of similarities with Star Wars…well, if the original Star Wars trilogy had focused on the life and times of Han Solo instead of boring old Luke Skywalker.
When critics say Gunn is breaking the Marvel mold with this movie, I don’t know that that’s altogether true. Yes, this is the first (if I’m not mistaken) Marvel film that has little to do with Earth. And yes, it does have a strong comedic element, but so has every other Marvel film since the Disney takeover. What Gunn does do that is quite innovative, is strategically positions the strong comedic element as the star of the show, which along with the cast and an awesome late 60’s/early 70’s mixtape inspired soundtrack, creates a fun atmosphere first and foremost; even though he’s working with a story and characters which may lack the depth of most other heroes in the Marvel universe. He is also responsible for casting Vin Diesel in the first role worthy of his limited acting abilities. With that move alone, I must give Mr. Gunn mad props. Here’s to hoping that Diesel is regulated to one or two lines of dialogue in every movie he does moving forward.
Chris Pratt: I think we all knew that Chris Pratt was leading man material. “Guardians of the Galaxy” just works to enforce this notion. Pratt, an actor who can seamlessly move back and forth between genres, is more than half of the reason why this comic book movie will be entertaining enough to satisfy your average Marvel movie-goer, while finding an audience with those who would otherwise steer clear of anything “comic book”, as he gives both a dramatic and comedic performance as the protagonist Peter Quill (an endearingly overconfident character who maintains an underdog fueled moxie, which stems from his 1980’s American upbringing) that is worth the price of admission.
Final Thought: “Guardians of the Galaxy” has pretty much everything one could ask for in a superhero movie: An engaging lead, fully developed supporting sub-heroes, a badass villain, comedy, well choreographed action sequences and a raccoon that shoots machine guns. That said, is “Guardians of the Galaxy” the best Marvel adaptation ever made? No. But is it the funniest? Most definitely.
Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus