Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, John C. Reilly, Peter Serafinowicz and Glenn Close.
Peter Quill (Pratt) was abducted from Earth as a young boy. It’s now 28 years later and he’s a ravager, finding items of value and selling them on for profit. In other words he’s a swindler and a thief. A search for a mysterious orb leads him on a collision course with Ronan the Accuser (Pace), a powerful Kree warrior who seeks to destroy a peaceful planet, but also with some other outlaws – Drax the Destroyer (Bautista), Gamora (Saldana), Rocket (Cooper), and Groot (Vin Diesel). These misfits band together to try and stop Ronan before it’s too late.
Guardians of the Galaxy ushers in a new cosmic era for Marvel. I was initially excited for this one because my knowledge of the cosmic side of the Marvel universe is limited, so while I know a lot of the history about the other characters (and thus can sometimes figure out the major plot points of the other films) I knew next to nothing about the Guardians. But now that I’ve seen the film I know a lot about them, and let me tell you it’s a blast to watch. It’s such a fun movie and although it’s set in space it still has that bright and colourful Marvel tone.
It’s an action-comedy but I think the focus was on the comedy. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and that tone is maintained throughout even through the post-credits scene (more on that later). The action was brisk and sometimes I feel it could have been progressed better as some of the fights felt like they ended too soon (the Gamora/Nebula one in particular). The comedy was top notch though, the soundtrack was perfect to bring out the feeling the director was going for and each one of the cast was on top form.
Pratt gave the film it’s centre and a very tragic beginning. The others are all good but I was particularly impressed with Bautista as Drax. In the trailers we didn’t really see that much about him so I was curious to see what his character was about. I’m pleased that he wasn’t a typical bruiser and was actually well-spoken. Bautista sold the tragedy of the character well and I liked how he developed throughout the film. All the Guardians were good though, and there was background for most of them dropped in that didn’t feel forced and it didn’t feel like an awkward exposition dump. There’s also plenty of room left to explore the characters more deeply in the sequel.
It’s not quite a perfect film, however. One of the big problems that Marvel has suffered from is the villains. So far there’s only really Loki that has been compelling to watch. Ronan the Accuser suffers the same problem and feels like a shallow villain that wants to destroy things because reasons. I don’t think his philosophy or the reasons why he wanted to destroy things were made explicit enough. There are also a couple of moments that I think are supposed to be hugely emotional but because of movie conventions they are not. The ending felt a bit anti-climactic, although there was a part during the ending that looked really cool. I also thought the ending was a bit straightforward, at one point Quill tells them his plan, and things pretty much work out the way he said. I always find it more tense when the plan goes completely off the rails and the heroes have to improvise a new one.
Those don’t really harm my enjoyment of the film though. There was a lot to like. I loved seeing Thanos properly, although I would have liked to have seen more of The Collector as well. But I loved the space setting and all the exotic aliens that floated in the background. I feel that every character had something to do and the overall ending was satisfying. It definitely left me wanting more and I can’t wait for the inevitable meeting between the Guardians and the Avengers. I also liked how we actually got some dialogue about what the Infinity Gems are and some more about Thanos.
As for the post-credits scene, well, I’m not going to spoil what it’s about but it’s basically just a little gag. I tend to prefer them when they play into the overall continuity of the films so I was a bit disappointed, but it does remain consistent with the tone of the film.
Overall, it’s a really fun movie that will be another success for Marvel and I can’t wait for more!