Title: Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel
Synopsis: A group of intergalactic criminals are forced to work together to stop a fanatical warrior from taking control of the universe.
Who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? This was a common and reasonable question before the movie was released back in 2014. We had already seen the likes of popular Marvel characters like Spider-Man, Iron-Man, and Captain America have their own solo films. Even The Avengers had already come out, combining all the most recognizable Marvel characters in the universe. Did we really need this movie? Well, it was three years ago, back in 2014 when Marvel had the audacity to release a film with completely unknown characters, and the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy was a huge hit further proved that Marvel could not miss and were an unstoppable force that would be around for a very very long time. So why was this film a success?
James Gunn and his crew used their unrecognizable and unusual characters to their advantage. They used their unpopularity as a running gag in the movie. “There’s one other name you might know me by…Star Lord.” “Who?” “Star Lord, man. Legendary Outlaw…” Gunn brilliantly never set out to take his film too seriously, and understood that most people probably wouldn’t know who his characters were, and that’s ok. Guardians of the Galaxy today is now extremely popular, and ironically all of the main characters in the film have become almost pop-culture icons. Some of them like Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon might just be even more popular than Avengers characters like Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. Chris Pratt, who was still known primarily as the overweight, lazy goof Andy Dwyer in the hit TV show Parks and Recreation, got cast and people were left scratching their heads. Well, it turns out, after a massive weight-loss, that Pratt was the perfect fit to play the main character of Star Lord, and now he has become one of the biggest and most recognizable stars in the world. Quite simply, a lot of risky things had to go right, and they all pretty much did.
It’s the characters that makes Guardians of the Galaxy so pleasurable to watch. Without these original and fascinating characters, and the chemistry they have with each other, this film would be a train-wreck. Rocket Raccoon, voiced brilliantly by Bradley Cooper, Groot, and Drax are all extremely memorable and entertaining characters a long with Pratt’s Star-Lord. They are all very unique, humorous in their own distinct ways, and just plain bad-asses. They all have their moments to shine, each stand out, and are portrayed/voiced perfectly by the given actors. It might seem crazy to have a completely animated raccoon and tree a part of the group, but it really does work. Yes, the acting might seem cold and mechanical at times, when a live-action characters is talking to a completely CG one, but for the most part it works. Major props should be given to Gunn and his whole team at Marvel for pulling it off. The film also is visually stunning. It takes place entirely in outer space, and audiences really can feel immersed in the atmosphere, and the look of all the different planets and environments are truly breathtaking to watch. Even though the visual effects are very realistic looking, it’s definitely safe to say that there may be a little too much CGI in this film, which leads me to my flaws.
Despite the incredibly realistic and visually stunning effects that are used in this film, Gunn definitely over-relies on them throughout the film. This is a common problem with pretty much every MCU film, but there are basically no practical effects used at all in the film. It’s pretty much all blue-screen, so after a while, they can become very tiresome and overly familiar. After an hour and a half of watching these same CGI enhanced effects, they become too familiar to the naked eye, and therefore less significant in the later climatic scenes. The action scenes are also pretty insignificant. Probably the best action sequences are presented in the Captain America films, primarily Captain America: Winter Soldier, and there is basically nothing in this film that even compares to some of the ones we see in that later film. But, out of all the negative things I can say about this film, there is one that stands above all the rest, and is by far the biggest flaw in the film. It’s the main villain (allow me to quickly google search his name because I already forgot it) RONAN. Ronan is probably the most generic and uninteresting villain you will see in a movie, and this really hurts the re-play value for the film. There are a handful of scenes with him, without the members of the Guardians, proving that he is “a force to be reckoned with” and he will “destroy the entire universe” that are very un-memorable and dull. This really hurts the flow of the film and hurts the re-watchability of the movie, because we know he will be unsuccessful, one-dimensional, and dull. Hopefully we get a much better villain in the sequel…fingers crossed!
Guardians of the Galaxy is probably one of the better films in the MCU so far, but compared to other great comic-book movies, it is probably somewhere in the middle of the pact. Yes, the characters in this film are great, the script is very funny and quotable, and the music is enjoyable, but the film is very generic at times. This is because of its overuse of CGI, basic superhero plot structure, and incredibly generic and forgettable main villain. I think audiences can watch this film and know they will have a good time and enjoy themselves, but can’t really get much else out of it. With that being said, it’s still amazing that this film did so well and resonated with audiences as favorably as it did. This film produced some instantly brand-new fan-favorite characters, and pretty much created its own universe separated from the MCU, even though the film does in fact take place in the same universe as Iron-Man and Spider-Man. It will be interesting to see what else is in store for our favorite group of outlandish guardians, and just how many more movies this new Guardians franchise can pull out. Let’s just hope there can be a proper ending for the characters sometime down the road, and not end in a bad note, with a horrible film that destroys the franchise…My grade for this movie is: