Marvel has created an unbeatable franchise foundation upon its film’s comic book titans, overshadowing the embarrassingly weak films from DC and even making Fox pictures shake in their corporate boots. With enough fame and fans, Marvel feels confident enough to bring one of its strangest and lesser known titles to the big screen in a very big way: “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Can dark comedy director James Gunn (Slither, Super) turn one of the biggest unknowns into a new Marvel juggernaut for their universe of supremacy? Let’s find out. The film follows Peter Quill (Christ Pratt), a trouble making; wanna be outlaw who was abducted from Earth when he was a child and has been traveling outer space as a smart mouthed wild card, by the name of Star Lord.
Quill comes across a powerful orb sought after by the villainous, power packing alien known as Ronan (Lee Pace). In order to stay alive along with the rest of the galaxy, Quill joins forces with an unusual bad of smart mouthed, space scum like an alien assassin (Zoe Saldana), a vengeance seeking warrior (David Bautista), a talking/gun toting raccoon and a talking tree who can only say his name (Vin Diesel). Now I know comic book heroes fairly well but even I was scratching at my head when Marvel announced this title getting a greenlit when so many other famous super heroes are still waiting for their big screen debut. “Guardians” is a different kind of movie in every possible way; it’s a risky new type of story for Marvel but thankfully it paid off BIG time.
This film is a like a mix of “Star wars”, “Animal House” and “The Avengers” all rolled into one. The director wisely took this film’s approach in a comedic direction, there are too many silly things that would have turned people off or made them laugh negatively at the outright lunacy this film was trying to take seriously. With the comical tone, everything feels natural and it gave audiences an idea of what kind of tone this movie was setting. There’s something to be said about a film that knows how to have fun and people foolishly think that means the movie requires your brain to be turned off or dumbed down to appreciate or enjoy what’s going on. This movie is not only about fun but it is WELL made fun, it’s a good time drenched in gallons of enthusiastic awesome that always leaves the best kind of lingering flavors in your mouth.
Not only is the film’s comic idea unusual but so is the casting; there is a very odd mix of actors (some famous, others are rising) that thankfully mixes perfectly well with the movie’s scope and feel. Pratt is hilariously perfect as the film’s lead, charming and amusing yet able to take on action and physical roles with perfect transitioning. Zoe Saldana once again embraces the world of Sci-fi with her role as the alien warrior Gamorra; she’s serious, seductive and a perfect role model for female Marvel fans. Much praise goes to MMA star and new rising actor Bautista; he has a deadpan delivery that produces some of the film’s most hilarious one liners and reactions. But easily, the film’s stand out roles belongs to two CGI critters: Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon and Vin Diesel as Groot.
I really can’t speak enough good things about the film’s cast and there’s still so MANY great names attached to this: John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Karen Gillian, Benecio Del Toro and more. You don’t need to know comics, Marvel films or have any kind of knowledge prepared to see this movie; the only thing you need to prepare for is to have a lot of laughs coming your way. “Guardians” is a treasure trove of unexpected wonders, laughs and unforgettable characters from a seemingly forgotten comic book title. The minute this film ended, my wife and I immediately wanted to sneak into the next showing to see it again; that’s the highest compliment I can pay to any movie.