Directed by: James Gunn
Here it is, kids, the blockbuster comicbook movie of the year. Yep, that’s right, as good as you might have thought Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, or X-Men: Days of Future Past was, Guardians of the Galaxy not only knocks it out of the park, it sends it out into the stratosphere. Yes, this movie was really that good (if you haven’t seen it yet, or are going to see it again, make sure you sit through all of the credits for both (yes both) end trailers). Unlike the other Marvel comicbook films (the ones mentioned, as well as all of the previous ones stretching back to the beginning of this millennium), as well as on the eponymous comicbook on which this film was based. This particular movie simply doesn’t take itself quite as seriously as all the rest (Hey, there is a talking raccoon and a walking plant man in this one that utters only a single phrase throughout the film).
The film starts out well enough with a mysterious figure (Peter Quill/Starlord: Pratt ) walking across some alien landscape in search of a mysterious orb, (which he then steals). Unfortunately when attempting to fence it, he is captured and tossed into an inter-galactic prison. While in there, he reluctantly joins forces with a rogue group of alien bandits comprised of Drax The Destroyer (Bautista), Gamora (Saldana), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) to form an alliance of misfits calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy. Now with the all-powerful Kree Accuser Ronan (Lee Pace) hunting for the orb, the fate of the universe has somehow wound up in their hands.
While that all sounds like a straight-forward action flick, the entire film is clearly having way too much fun with itself to become preoccupied with setting up and delivering on a “serious” tone. To those who inhabit the halls of Geekdom, the film is a true runaway hit garnering very positive word of mouth from fans who have seen it during its opening week. While some “mainstream” critics have savaged the film for not looking or feeling like virtually every other Marvel comicbook film, both hardcore fans and casual observers have been singing the praises of how well this film has not only plumed the breadth of Marvel cosmic lore (it really is chock-a-block full of Easter Eggs and visual references to Marvel Comics characters, plots and storylines) but how easily it is accessible to even the most casual of audience member, offering up the feel of both Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope (to which Guardians has been favorably compared).
So again, we feel comfortable in saying that not only has Guardians Injected new lifeblood into what was starting to become a stale genre, but has set a new standard for the superhero/comicbook film while simultaneously launching it into the stratosphere, raising the bar to new heights. This is going to be one of those films that bears repeated watchings, including both (yes both) end trailers.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.