I’m not the biggest comic book fan, and I enjoy comic book movies, but I’m never head over heels for them live many, with the exceptions being Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, The Avengers films, and some of the X-Men films. And yet, I put Guardians of the Galaxy as my most anticipated film of the summer, and one of the most anticipated of the year. I said this because this project just looked so weird and bizarre, but for all the right reasons. James Gunn, a very odd and bizzare filmmaker, is writing and directing the film, and we have a cast that consists of Oscar winners, oscar nominees, action stars, and then Burt freaking Macklin, aka Chris Pratt. Pratt has been on my radar for years now, thanks to his breakout role on television’s Parks and Recreation. I was excstatic when I heard that Pratt would be leading this film, because the man has so much charisma and charm, both on screen and off. The film has slowly been getting momentum by the general public, so much so that it’s expected to have a 70 million plus opening weekend, which is unusual for an August release. Well, I saw the film Thursday night, and I have just seen Guardians of the Galaxy. Here we go.
Pratt plays Peter Quill, an earthling that all the way back in 1988, was abducted by aliens and taken to the other side of the galaxy. Years later, Quill is a Han Solo type, who has gotten his hands on a mysterious orb, which happens to land him in a lot of trouble with some not very nice people, one being Ronan The Accuser, played by Lee Pace. Throughout this wild journey, Quill teams up with a strange set of misfits. Rocket Raccoon, an alien that looks like a Racoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper. Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana, Groot, a talking tree voiced by Vin Diesel, and Drax, an alien whose family was murdered by Ronan, played by WWE wrestler Dave Bautista. Together, they must save the Galaxy from extinction.
Yes, the plot is a little straight forward, with a team that doesn’t really get along that will eventually have to join together to end evil. We just saw a similar plot in 2012’s The Avengers. But what is also similar to that film is that James Gunn brings a totally unique and brilliant vision to this story. The fact that this film is so bizarre and different than your typical Marvel film separates itself from the rest of Marvel’s very impressive Cinematic Universe. And you know what? Guardians is better than The Avengers. James Gunn and the rest of Marvel have come together to make a very original and wildly funny and touching summer movie blockbuster in Guardians of the Galaxy, which along with it’s terrific cast and an even better screenplay, makes this the best film Marvel has ever made, as well as one of the very best films of 2014.
Chris Pratt will be a movie star once this weekend is over. He is fantastic in the role of Quill, aka Star-Lord. Pratt is brilliant in this role because he brings that kinetic energy and winnable charm that he’s brought in the past on Parks and Recreation, as well as playing a character that is deeply flawed with lots of scars from his past. Zoe Saldana is also very good as the sexy green skinned alien Gamora, as she brings the laughs as well. Dave Bautista brings most of the emotional weight to this film in a surprisingly terrific performance by the wrestler as Drax. Vin Diesel is great as Groot, even if he utters only one sentence throughout the film. But the character that steals the entire film and every scene he’s in, is Rocket Raccoon. I think Bradley Cooper is really talented actor, but I can’t say he was my first choice to play the vulgar riddled alien, but boy was I wrong. Cooper brings an intensity that we’ve seen highlighted in his work with David O. Russell, as well as the actors comedic range turned up to 11 in this performance. I think that’s why I dig Guardians of the Galaxy more than the other Marvel films, is that James Gunn has made the most adult and edgiest of the Marvel films, and I was surprised that the filmmakers were given such free reign with the jokes and the gags in the film, with this being a Disney film and all.
Lee Pace does great work as always as Ronan, even if he isn’t necessarily the most memorable Marvel villain out of the rest. Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame plays Nebula, a daughter of Thanos and the half sister of Gamora, and Gillan does great work here as well, execpt we don’t get to see too much of the character, as much of the action is with the Guardians in this film. Gunn has said that we will be seeing more of Nebula in future Guardians films, which is nice to know. Speaking of Thanos, the titular baddie that the world first saw at the end of The Avengers makes a brief appearance in the film. This isn’t a spoiler, since it was reported in the trades a month or so ago that Josh Brolin would be voicing the villain for the Cinematic Universe, and it would begin with a brief appearance in Guardians. Brolin did seem menacing in the role, and it was nice to see Thanos in the flesh, even if it was brief, as we will definitely see more of Thanos in the upcoming Marvel projects. John C. Reilly does some great work in a bit role, as does Glenn Close as Nova Prime, the Nick Fury of deep space. Michael Rooker, a frequent collaborator of Gunn’s, has a great role in here as Yondu, an alien that abducted Quill all those years ago. Rooker is one of the finest character actors out there, as well as one of the best cult actors, and it was great to see Rooker back on the screen after seeing him on The Walking Dead for a few seasons.
But I should probably wrap things up, because this is getting wordy. But I must stress to you to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. I say this because this is a blockbuster that is both hilarious and very heartfelt. There were some certain sequences that were that gut wrenching and powerful that I begun to tear up a bit. And it didn’t help that I found the film to be one of, if not the funniest film of 2014 (the crowd I saw it with only got maybe 3 quarters of the jokes in the film). James Gunn has made a film that is a love letter to the original Star Wars trilogy and even Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a film that’s the best space opera I’ve seen since J.J. Abrams rebooted the Star Trek franchise in 2009. I beg to you, my readers (or reader, I never know if anybody reads this blog) that you please quit going to see films like Transformers 4, and you go see Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend. I would love to see this film make a billion dollars, but it may be a bit too out there for a regular schmuck off the street. I loved this movie, from beginning to end. Please see it.