Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios)
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Overall Rating 75%
Overall Rating
Ranked #49
...out of 22,104 movies
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After stealing a mysterious orb in the far reaches of outer space, Peter Quill from Earth is now the main target of a manhunt led by the villain known as Ronan the Accuser. To help fight Ronan and his team and save the galaxy from his power, Quill creates a team of space heroes known as the "Guardians of the Galaxy" to save the galaxy. --IMDb
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Review by Crispy
Added: November 5, 2014
Out of all the franchises the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought to life on the silver screen, I know I am definitely not alone in saying that The Guardians of the Galaxy is the only one I had never heard of. With that said, after seeing them in action, I've definitely been missing out.

One sad night in 1987, young Peter Quill is abducted by aliens right after watching his mom lose her battle with cancer. Talk about a double whammy. Anyway, the self-proclaimed "Starlord" has made the best of things. He's now a full fledged member of the Ravagers, the mercenary group that abducted him, and now spends his life stealing things for the highest bidder and sleeping with various alien women. However, he's not above stabbing his faction in the back for personal gain, like when he takes his latest stolen treasure, a heavy orb, for himself before they can grab it. Not his greatest move, as not only has the leader of the Ravagers put a 40,000 Unit bounty on his head, but the orb's buyer backs out once he finds out the evil Ronan also has his eyes on it. You see, Ronan is a genocidal maniac that's infuriated that his race, the Kree, has signed a peace treaty with the Xandarians and wants nothing more than to see them annihilated. After Quill is shoved out of the buyer's shop, he's met by one of Ronan's top assassins, the beautiful but deadly Gamora. As she beings her attack to get the orb, the duo of the trigger-happy Rocket Racoon and the living tree Groot also make an attempt to capture him, trying to cash in on a quick forty thousand. The brawl lands them all in a high-security prison in space where the massive Drax plans to kill Gamora to avenge his wife and child who died at Ronan's hands. Quill is able to save her life by explaining to him that she betrayed Ronan and could lead him right to the murderous Kree himself. Now the most unlikeliest of teams, these five form an alliance to break out of the prison and sell that orb, but how can they co-exist when their motives are so different?

Holy hell, was this a fun movie. While on the one hand, working with such an obscure franchise could have been a daunting task since it comes with an uncertainty if the interest is going to be there, it also freed up director James Gunn to do pretty much whatever he wanted. Now, I've never read the source material, but the movie is a non-stop adventure of laughs and action that keeps you enthralled throughout its two hour running time. These guys just can not stay out of trouble, and that's before catching Ronan's ire. Even the movie's 70s soundtrack (a result of Starlording receiving a mix tape from his mom of her favorite childhood songs) sets a playful tone that will keep the smile on your face. Plus, each character's quirks provides a different type of comedy ensuring there's something for everyone. Between Starlord's charismatic goofiness, Rocket's sarcasm, Drax's dry inability to understand metaphors, and Groot's slapstick antics, the humor is varied enough to keep you laughing for different reasons throughout the movie. Less superficially, the different personalities are integral to nailing down the movie's biggest theme of a group of misfits and outcasts joining together into something great.

Like The Avengers before it, the true source of the magic that makes Guardians so enjoyable is the chemistry between the main characters. While he has strong support, it begins and ends with Chris Pratt. Much like Harrison Ford's Han Solo, Quill's an incorrigible scoundrel that you just can't help but love. You know he's a selfish prick who's only looking to line his pockets, but there's just no denying that charisma. Coming in at a close second is the CGI duo of Rocket and Groot. Everything about the pair is a perfect dichotomy, from their size difference to their polar-opposite mindsets (like Quill, Rocket is more concerned with making a buck over anything else while Groot has a golden heart despite his capability for immense violence). Even the quick-talking Bradley Cooper is a perfect foil for Vin Diesel's repeated "I Am Groot". Make no mistake though, they're a package deal. Groot's aforementioned "immense violence" is typically used to protect Rocket; likewise, the tree's pain is the only thing that can break Rocket's rocky exterior. While I've never been a fan of Dave Bautista in his wrestling days, the dry, super-literal Drax turns his acting weakness into a strength. It was a perfect symbiosis that should give his resume a boost as he transitions from the ring. Zoe Saldana's Gamora was lost in the shuffle a bit, as she had to play the straight man of this zany lot, but she also has one of the more emotional backstories and she was certainly up to the task. Things are just as strong on the villain's side of the table. While they're not as fleshed out as well as I would like, Lee Pace's Ronan and Karen Gillian's Nebula both prove to be terrifying forces, and I never once doubted how deadly either one of them could be.

It's an interesting thing tying in this franchise with the rest of the Avengers world. You see, thus far each stand-alone film has introduced a character that would eventually become a member of the team. While there's currently considerations of bringing the Guardians and the Avengers together, they haven't gotten beyond the tentative stage, and it's clear that was never the true end goal of this entry. Its true purpose is bringing some of the Avengers' background events into focus. Primarily, I'm referring to Thanos. The Titan was teased in The Avengers' mid-credit scene, but he wasn't given a name or any kind of explanation. Not being a huge comic fan, I didn't even know who the hell he was. Guardians doesn't exactly answer all questions, but we do get a glimpse into his plans and, more importantly, an idea of just how powerful he is. Also, a third as-of-yet-unnamed Infinity Stone has been brought forward along with the Tesseract and the Aether. All that said, I would absolutely love to see the two groups come together. There could be some great scenes of Captain America coaching Starlord through a return to Earth after a decades long absence (even if his interstellar life would likely deaden some of the culture shock), the sarcasm and technical prowess of both Rocket and Tony Stark could lead to some hilarious conversations, and I'm incredibly interested to see how this more traditional view of space ties in with the Nine Realms of Thor's franchise.

Guardians of the Galaxy was an absolute blast. Sure, I could probably think of a few little nitpicks, but everything this group brought to the table made up for any complaint you might have. 10/10, and I can't wait for more Guardians.
George Snow #1: George Snow - added December 20, 2014 at 1:53am
I enjoyed this. It was great in 3D. The Director was a lucky man once married to Jenna Fischer.
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