Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Stan Lee, Nathan Fillion, Rob Zombie, Josh Brolin
Director: James Gunn
2014 | 121 Minutes | PG-13
“A lot of people have been trying to kill me over the years. I’m not going to be brought down by a tree and a talking raccoon.” – Peter Quill
After stealing a mysterious orb, Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt) finds himself pursued by the murderous Ronan (Lee Pace). Star Lord joins forces with Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) to form the Guardians of the Galaxy.
At times Marvel movies can fall into a rut of feeling very similar to each other. But when Marvel and their directors decide to really go for it, they do it! Guardians of the Galaxy is the type of Marvel movie that almost shouldn’t have been made. Aside from fairly hardcore comic book fans, nobody had the slightest clue who this group was… and the group includes a talking raccoon and a tree whose only speech are repeating the words “I am Groot!” over and over and over. It could never work if Marvel hadn’t already built up an amazingly successful universe. Even with the solid foundation, there are plenty of ways that this could have gone wrong.
It was kind of refreshing to not have to get origin stories for every single character. These crazy characters exist in this world. Accept it and learn to love them. And it’s incredibly hard to NOT love Rocket Raccoon and Groot. Drax and Gamora are super bad asses. And Star Lord is the glue that holds the rag tag group together. The whole team just works so well together.
With Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel establishes that this is truly a marvelous universe, not just a more marvelous version of the Earth that we are used to. The Marvel Universe isn’t just about super powered Earth men and women, there are galaxies of beings that may or may not have special abilities but that are still heroes in their own right… even if some of them aren’t always on the right side of the intergalactic law.
One of the big knocks that can be made against Guardians of the Galaxy – that is very much a problem of most intergalactic sci-fi epics – is that it’s very clearly a movie made by American Earthlings. Just about every single species in the universe is something similar looking to an Earth human and almost all of them speak English. I think the movie would have been stronger and more engrossing if they had presented us with a creature here and there that didn’t look like a human with some paint and prosthetics on and if most races of intergalactic beings were shown speaking their own languages. It’s more work, for sure, but the movie would be better off for it.
The dance off scene has been hammered to death so I won’t go into too much detail but I will put my name in the column of those that found it to be just a tad too jokey for that point in the movie. And that one scene is the lone knock I will put against it. Unfortunately it was a sizeable knock and put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth after having a pretty darn good time with the entire rest of the movie.
My hope for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that each movie is given its own identity and Guardians of the Galaxy did exactly that. It was a movie that caught me completely off guard with how original, entertaining and yet still 1000% Marvel. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is coming in 2017 and I have all the faith in the world that it will build on all the things that the first did so well.