The Marvel Films juggernaut does it again. Producing some of the best comic book adaptation movies today, Marvel and Disney know how to make action-packed, emotional, funny films that most audiences enjoy. Their 2012 megahit The Avengers pretty much cemented their status and they could make pretty much any film they wanted to make. So when it was announced they would be adapting the 2008 comic Guardians of the Galaxy (rebooted from the 1969 classic title), most fans and critics asked, "What? Who?" Unless you were a diehard fan, you didn't really know who this group was or their place in the Marvel universe. Well, I too didn't know much about the Guardians and, fortunately, you don't need to know anything about the group in order to enjoy this film.
Tying the film to The Avengers, we get a better look of the villain featured in the post-credits scene of The Avengers -- Thanos. Even though I don't know about the Guardians, I've known a long time about Thanos. Basically, he's the big big bad of the Marvel universe ... and in one of the greatest major comic events of the early 1990s, Thanos obtains the Infinity Gauntlet. In this film, Thanos (Josh Brolin) has assigned Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) of obtaining one of the Infinity Stones (which make up the Infinity Gauntlet) so that he may have the ultimate weapon in the universe.
|Intergalactic thief Peter Quill a.k.a. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) finds out that destructive things come in small packages!|
Enter the ragtag group of outlaw misfits: the thief Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), the assassin -- and adoptive daughter of Thanos -- Gamora (Zoe Saldana), the brutal warrior Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), and the duo of unruly bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). This group forges an unlikely bond as they reluctantly team up to re-capture the stone and save the galaxy.
The film has a lot of action but also plenty of humor (coming mostly from Cooper's Rocket and Bautista's Drax), with the number of casualties to a minimum; I think the last Marvel film to have a "hinted-at" body count was The Avengers. Marvel does this to keep the kids packing the theaters, but also as not to offend anyone. Also, the soundtrack to Guardians -- as heard through Quill's mix tape -- rocks with a lot of classic pop rock songs. While some may be put off by this addition of safe classic hit songs, they are used in the best way. My only grudge with the film is near the end when the Guardians all finally confront Ronan. Star-Lord's confrontation in particular is what I found unrealistic, but it doesn't take away from the overall quality of the film.
Director James Gunn, who, to me, wrote and directed one of the best contemporary realistic superhero movies -- Super, proves with this film that he can also take the lead on big-budget productions. I'm not sure I liked this film more than X-Men: Days of Future Past, but it was highly entertaining and definitely beat out The Amazing Spider-Man 2! Chris Pratt does a great job of carrying the film, and even though I think she's a bit of an overrated actress, Zoe Saldana is wonderful in this! She's the right mix of kick-ass and vulnerability ... but that doesn't make her some pretentiously tough caricature nor a wilting flower that needs to be saved (even though she is saved at one point in the film)!
|Sisters Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora (Saldana) get a chance to work out their sibling rivalry.|
For a role that is completely CGI, Bradley Cooper does wonders with Rocket -- a genius albeit rude raccoon who doesn't exactly know he's a raccoon. There were plenty of one-liners of his with which I uncontrollably laughed out loud. Former wrestler Bautista also has decent comedic timing besides his expectant physical presence. All together, this group of misfits makes for a team more likeable than the Avengers, making this a fun film to watch.
Sure, Guardians of the Galaxy fits into the popcorn summer blockbuster fare, but, fortunately, it's not annoying, mind-numbing bile ... like most of the blockbusters have come to be the past two years. If you're looking for a fun, action-packed film -- whether taking your kids or not -- then this is definitely the one to see!