It’s time for another D&D Mixed review! This time we take a look at Marvel’s newest film, Guardians of the Galaxy. As usual the review will feature Denis and myself (Derek) critiquing the film on four points; plot, performances, production and overall film quality. The review will end with a rating of SEE IN THEATRE, WAIT FOR RENTAL or PASS. So let’s jump right in.
First here’s an idea of the plot.
The film opens on Earth with a young Peter Quill (later played by Chris Pratt) as he’s take off of earth shortly after watching his mother die. Jumping forward 20 plus years, Quill is now a member of a smuggler group known as the Ravagers, and goes to a deserted planet hoping to steal an orb. Once there, he’s attack by forces of Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) who also hopes to get the orb.
After escaping with the stole orb Quill is hunted by not only Gamora (Zoe Saldana) one of Ronan’s agents but two bounty hunters Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel). While the four fight on Nova Prime they’re soon arrested and sent to jail. While there, they meet Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautisa) and the five escape the prison in hopes to sell the orb.
However, it doesn’t go according to plan as when they discover the power of the orb, the five band together to stop Ronan from using the it to destroy Nova Prime.
For a cosmic comic book film, the plot is pretty simple. Stop the bad guy from using orb to destroy stuff. But while that might seem basic, the film uses it as a way to build set pieces and dialogue. The script is tight and funny. It’s really funny, like funnier that most comedy films. Writers James Gunn and Nicole Perlman gave these B-List heroes a lot of charm, on par with Joss Whedon’s Avengers film. In fact the film’s writing might be it’s strongest element.
The entire plot is not overly complex allowing the main driving force to be the characters of the film. Everything flows naturally because of how well each character is defined and their motivations are clear. This provides us with many great character moments which is where a lot of the films humour comes out. Since the property isn’t as well know as other Marvel properties James Gunn and Nicole Perlman were able to construct a story that worked without being bogged down by too much mythology. I agree with Derek that the writing is the strongest element.
Guardians is a bit of an odd film for the fact that no one person really stands out. The main cast as well as most of the supporting cast like Michael Rooker (Yondu Udonta), Karen Gillian (Nebula) and John C. Reilly (Nova Corpsman Rhomann Dey) are all excellent. But getting into specifics, Pratt as Quill really held the film together. A special shout out should be made to WWE Superstar Dave Bautista who showed off just how good of a comedic actor he can be. I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.
Guardians really shines as a film that works because the sum of its parts. Everyone is excellent ranging from Chris Pratt and the central Guardians to more minor characters like John C Riley and Michael Rooker. Everyone will probably find someone to latch onto as their favourite, but like most I’ve heard from, I gotta say I love me some Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper. Especially Chris Pratt who is the comedic and emotional core to the movie. He sets the tone early on and he remains a strong part of the film for me.
Overall the scale of Guardians is impressive. The make-up and costumes are amazing and it look like a lot of the film was shot on sets instead of green screen backdrops. The world felt lived in and deep, something that’s difficult for other films. Direction wise, James Gunn proved that despite being a comedic director he was a competent at constructing action. While he didn’t go for any crazy camera angles, the film was shot and cut so the action felt tight and fast. But’s its the detail of the alien worlds that’ll impress more than the action scenes.
Gunn isn’t a novice when it comes to handling genre movies, his two fantastic films Super & Slither are examples of his comedic writing and excellent filmmaking abilities. Guardians is his biggest project to date and includes some great set pieces, wonderful practical and CGI effects. The biggest and best element Gunn added to the film was the soundtrack which is the heart of the film, perfectly showcasing the style of the movie. Everything from the music to the look and style is showcasing a throwback to the 70s sci fi films, making Guardians feel fun and exciting like Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark, all while pushing a great comedic feel.
Guardian of the Galaxy is a rare treat. It’s a big space action sci fi comedy comic book film. It leaned less towards the Avengers and went for something different. If fact it’s so different that it didn’t even have a post credit that pushed another film. Instead we get a look at one of Marvel’s other anthropomorphic animals and that’s pretty refreshing. This might be one of the better films of the year, and I’d be hard pressed to think of a better film that’s come out in 2014. SEE IN THEATRE.
I knew as soon as the title showed up on screen that it was going to be a movie I would love. I love the 70’s, musically and stylistically. This film sends up the 70s so perfectly, and creates a world and characters that I love being around. Derek and I actually plan on seeing it again in the theatres, cause its that freaking good. If you see one film this year, please see Guardians of the Galaxy. SEE IN THEATRE
Guardian’s of the Galaxy was produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.