There is no denying that Marvel has become a force to be reckoned with in regards to their cinematic universe. They took a big risk that paid off big time with Iron Man and now they are wrapping up their Phase 2 lead up to the Avengers: Age of Ultron with their biggest gamble yet, Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a much lesser known property than anything else they have delivered, but the trailers and sneak peeks have showed promise to this new sci-fi direction for Marvel, but does it have the scope, story and characters to live up to the hype?
Guardians of the Galaxy follows Peter Quill, a ravager thief who steals a mysterious orb coveted by the villainous Kree Ronan the Accuser forcing him into an uneasy truce with a group of misfits including Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket and Groot. Now they must work together to discover the true power of the orb and fight to save the galaxy. It was a pretty big shock that Marvel decided that this was going to be one of the movies they were doing, but with the announcement of James Gunn at the helm it helped to ease some fans mind and rightly so as he has created a sci-fi masterpiece. There is so much going on in this film in regards to character building, humor, and action that you would expect it to get lost on itself, but instead does just the opposite. Gunn has crafted a perfect sci-fi film that has all of the above mentioned things and more, while connecting it to the Marvel Universe as well as making it a standalone film. This film showcases a story that gives you just enough information to get it moving along, but keeps it streamlined to just what is needed as opposed to a lot of wasted time. You meet the characters, you learn why they are together and through their actions they are allowed to grow without throwing the bigger story off course.
The cast is excellent on every level together. Chris Pratt was perfectly cast in the role bringing a great innocence and arrogance to the character and just all around likeable. His is able to juggle the badass action hero with the bumbling idiot perfectly without ever making the character stupid. Zoe Saldana is as good as ever bringing an elegance to this powerful female character who shows little emotion, yet always has something tormenting her in her eyes. Pratt and Saldana have excellent chemistry that further adds to the complexity of it all. Dave Bautista was perfect casting for Drax. Over the years he has really come into his own as an actor and here might be his best performance yet. Drax is blunt and seemingly simpleminded, but in reality he is focused on one task and his thought process and reaction to things is the same. His dead pan deliver makes this dialogue all the better and showcases and innocence to the character while still allowing him to wreak havoc like only he can. Of all the cast the biggest concern was bringing to life two of the most ridiculous characters in comics with Groot and Rocket. Thankfully they have not only worked they steal most of the movie. Bradley Cooper knocks it out of the park as Rocket delivering some of the most entertaining lines in the entire film. He is constantly bashing or attacking everyone around him, but you can’t help but love the character anyway. Vin Diesel somehow manages to take a character like Groot with literally three lines he repeats throughout the movie and makes every single one of them feel like something different every time.
While the Guardians are the focus and need to work for the film to deliver they are nothing without the villains to go against. Lee Pace steps into the role of Ronan the Accuser and while isn’t given as much to do as fans will surely wish for, he does manage to create the first real fearful villain in the Marvel Universe so far. HE is seemingly unstoppable and his shear hatred and path of destruction makes him a force to be reckoned with. Karen Gillan takes on another villainous role as Nebula and much like Ronan, isn’t given near enough to do, but still brings a badass vibe to the character complete with an awesome fight sequence with Saldana. Fan favorite Michael Rooker steps into the role of Yondu and does what he does best, be awesome. The only complaint with his character comes in the change in design that really wasn’t necessary, but not enough to really hurt the film as a whole. The rest of the cast do a great job as well including a small role from Benecio Del Toro reprising his role as the Collector form the Thor: The Dark World after credits scene, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, and Glenn Close.
Of course when you have a science fiction film of this scope you have to have the visuals to back it up and this film has it and then some. This is a beautiful movie to look at featuring bright vibrant colors along with some darker tones to keep it all balanced. Of course most of the world is CGI and looks flawlessly awesome as expected, but the choice to use mostly practical make-up for the supporting characters in the backgrounds and around them gave it an old school classic vibe making it all the better. With Rocket and Groot being major characters it is crucial that they work and from the first time you see them they deliver. Never through the movie do you ever feel like these are just stupid characters, but instead you just allow them to exist and they end up being two of the best of the entire film. The 3D works decently, but as with most doesn’t add all that much to the finished film. The music to the film is awesome. They have not only delivered easily one of the best soundtracks in a long time, but have worked it into the story making all that much of a perfect fit.
This is not only a perfect science fiction film and one that dare say could be this generations Star Wars, but also quite possibly Marvel’s best to date. It is a truly flawless genre film unless you choose to complain about some of the comic to screen changes. Sadly during the screening they did not have the after credits sequence yet, but reports are that there are two being added for the official release which just gives a reason to see this amazing film again. While the anticipation of Avengers: Age of Ultron is no doubt high, 2017 cannot get here soon enough for the already announced Guardians of the Galaxy 2.